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09/29/2010

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jennie

As someone who has also hired editors, I don't mind the objective statement—if it's good. By "good" I mean that I want it to be specific, I want it to be (or at least sound) honest and genuine, and I want it to tell me a little bit about why you're applying for this job.

"To find permanent employment in the publishing industry": BAD. Doesn't tell me why you want to work in my corner of the publishing industry. Doesn't tell me why you want to edit. Doesn't tell me what you want to do while you're working for me.

"To find an entry-level editorial position in educational publishing that will provide scope for my organizational abilities and my background in science and allow me to learn what I need to know to become an effective editor of science textbooks."=Pretty good. That's the sort of information that really should be in a cover letter, but I know that a lot of resume consultants tell people that nobody reads the cover letters (they're wrong. I do.) But now I know that you're looking for a trade-editing job, that you think you're well organized, and that you want to learn more about editing. This helps me, a lot, if it's true.

Lori Cates Hand

I have been an editor for 20 years, the last 11 of which I have specialized in career and resume how-to guides. I also write resumes professionally and am immersed in the national resume writing community. These days we favor replacing the objective with a boldfaced heading that states the job title you seek, followed by a professional summary paragraph that tells your career/education highlights and top skills. Anything about your motivation for applying belongs in the cover letter--and only then if it's relevant and helpful. Employers want to know what you can do for them, not what you want them to do for you.

Meanwhile, I'm taking the word "passion" out of my cover letter...

ImmaculateEdits

I don't have a passion for anything and I still can't manage to find even a part-time job. In all seriousness, however, you give solid advice--not only for those applying for copy editing work at academic presses, but also for those applying to trade book publishers and even magazines.

Charles Purdy

As a matter of fact, this is good advice for people in many careers--most résumé experts suggest that the "objective statement" is redundant and that, instead, a summary of skills and experience is better at the top of a résumé.

Avoiding clichés, highlighting relevant experience, and being honest and succinct are all good rules for just about any job seeker.

Tracie

I think it's a bit sad to squash the word "passion." The reason I think I got my job is during my interview I passionately discussed my love of editing. I LOVE editing. Why would I not use the word "passion" to describe it?

It may be overused and a cliche, but I think it's a bit cynical to automatically label it as a trite expression. You want people to be passionate about what they do. People who love what they do are better workers. It's a win-win for everyone.

Karla

This is mildly depressing. When I first went looking for a job after college, the employment agencies taught me to put an objective--a vague one, as I recall--despite the fact that my main objective was to pay the rent and support my writing. I later took out the objective because it sounded dumb to me, but I'm sure many job applicants stick to the formats learned early in life. My resume always included hobbies (one friend was horrified to hear that) and I've seen no shortage of resumes that include once-required information like age and marital status.

Now that I'm in academia and about to advertise an assistant professor position, I'll be interested to see which wordings I find most irritating. I don't think "passion" will bother me, but I'm sure that a surfeit of academic jargon will.

Dave

I was actually starting to believe that resume writing was a dead art. As a hiring manager at a high tech firm looking for engineering talent it is much more simple and egalitarian. Apart from gross and obvious lack of written English (and this is even sometimes overlooked in the case of foreign born applicants), we look at the acronyms, projects, and companies you have worked with. Period. The document could be in crayon, but if says you worked at Cisco doing "abc" technology that we need, you would at least get a phone screen.

Larry J.

THANK YOU for being the one to state the uselessness of The Objective! Every time I've set out to update a resume, I've AGONIZED over how I should say this, all the while arguing how stupid it is! OF COURSE your objective is to get the job! And we wonder why we need so much help composing these things.

James H.

I've never seen an objective on a résumé that wasn't a waste of ink and paper or worse. I agree that if they put in it what place the job occupies in their overall projected career path it would be useful info, but no one ever does that (especially not truthfully), and that's something I look for in the cover letter and ask about at the interview anyway.

Hobbies, on the other hand, are useful and interesting information. I want to know not just what the person's apparent qualifications are but what sort of person the person really is. I want active minds, and I want someone I can work with. I can sort out easily enough whether they can do the job -- if their experience indicates they might be able to, I give them a test (I hire editors and similar people, mainly). But much of the rest of the process tells me whether I want to work with them.

But of course I'm hiring people I'll be working closely with, which is not the case everywhere.

Anon

I agree about the suggestions, but I wonder what everyone has to say about CVs. Since moving to the Middle East, I've been amazed to see these multi-page CVs (British style, I guess) that include all kinds of personal information. I can't believe that anyone actually reads them.

Ruth E. Thaler-Carter

CVs are not the same thing as resumes, and are expected to be much longer and far more detailed. An applicant who doesn't know which one to submit is in as much trouble as some of the ones quoted above.

I agree that objectives take up space unnecessarily. They're either so vague that they're pointless, or so specific that they have to be changed for every response to every listing. I advise colleagues to put their objectives in their cover letters, in language that relates to each specific job opening.

I also agree that "passion" about a job or field is reaching cliche level.

I'm just glad that the examples above aren't of resumes with egregious typos - although I'm sure there were lots of those as well!

Amy Spungen

I love the blog, but I'm confused. I admit that math is not my strength, but assuming these resumes are concise--one page per resume and per cover letter--wouldn't 415+415=830? Perhaps, as usual, I'm being too literal!

Christina

@Amy She did say she had to "document" every decision. Who's to say she didn't keep a log of how many pages she read, knowing she would write a blog post about it?

Carol Fisher Saller

Amy, some of the resumes and cover letters were more than one page. --Carol

Carol Fisher Saller

And Christina, I didn't have to keep track of the numbers, because our online application system provides them. --Carol

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