Resumes 101: Swap a Stale Objective for a Fresh Branding Statement

Out with the old and in with the new.

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Arnie Fertig
Arnie Fertig
Back in the "old days" resumes began with a now obsolete objective statement. The underlying message was: "Here's what I'm looking for. If this is what you offer, give me a call." It was common to see a wish list in such statements, like: "Seeking long-term job with excellent benefits, yearly bonus, and promotion potential at stable employer with wonderful work environment."

Duh! Who wouldn't have this objective?

These days, any resume reader assumes that their job is your objective. Their selection process, however, is not necessarily about fulfilling your wants and wishes. Instead, it is about meeting the employer's needs. A successful resume today replaces the "this is what I want" objective statement with a "this is the value that I offer" branding statement.

Your branding statement should be very brief. It's not your job title, nor is it a list of your skills. It should provide a description of you, your attributes, the value that you provide to your employer, and things that differentiate you from your competition.

Think of it this way: Your 30- or 60-second elevator speech is a condensed, restated version of your resume. Your branding statement, in turn, is a condensed, restated version of your elevator pitch. It is the briefest possible answer to the question: "Tell me about yourself."

Your attributes: Think about things that describe you. What are you professionally passionate about? Make a list, and then narrow it down to the key things that would make you appealing to a new employer.

Your value: Think about the results that have come about due to your actions, like mistakes avoided, improved productivity, costs contained or saved, revenue increased, or processes improved. These all relate to the value that you will be able to provide.

Your uniqueness: Think about the role you've played, rather than the job title(s) you've possessed. What differentiates your professional experience from that of others? How do you approach problems differently? What have you done in a way that no one else does it? What have you achieved that no one else can claim? You likely have had a similar titles and responsibilities as many other individuals, but how you responded to them in your context is something that only you can speak about.

Here are three sample branding statements: 

  • Passionate humanitarian with commitment to achieving social justice through the development of international literacy projects. Skilled in program management and project development with expertise in nonprofit administration, board and volunteer development, marketing, and human resources management and staffing.
  • Award-winning newspaper and website editor, adept in community relations, managing staff, and growing print circulation and online readership, with a flair for identifying important local stories and building community awareness.
  • Talented educational leader with teaching and administrative experience dealing with students, faculty, and staff at all levels. Served students with diverse backgrounds and abilities as teacher and mentor. Possess special expertise and experience in music education. Experienced working in public, religious, and correctional settings.
  • Often it's best when writing a resume to leave a blank space at the top. When you have finished everything else, you can look the document over and draw from it key points that you want to utilize in fashioning your branding statement, and then insert that into the space.

    In the end, you will likely see that your objective of obtaining that great job will be achieved when you have formulated a compelling brand.

    Happy hunting!

    Arnie Fertig is the head coach of JOBHUNTERCOACH.COM, where he utilizes his extensive background in HR Staffing and as owner of a recruiting company to help mid-career job-hunters land their next job. Arnie provides one-to-one coaching services to individuals throughout the U.S. in all aspects of the job hunt, including: resume writing, personal branding, utilizing social media, enhancing networking skills, preparing for interviews, and negotiating compensation.