Q.  I’m starting off the new year by updating my resume, but I hear conflicting points of view on whether to include an objective or goal statement.  What are your recommendations for resume updating and inclusion of an objective statement?   -BL

A.  Whether you’re looking for a job or not, this is the perfect time of the year to update your resume. You can reflect on the past year’s accomplishments while they’re top of mind as you review and reset your career goals.

Writing an effective resume objective statement is quite difficult and entirely unnecessary.  Don’t do it.  Most resumes have one objective–to land a job interview.  The purpose of a resume is to sell a hiring manager on your skills and abilities; they’re not interested in pie-in-the-sky career goals. In fact, a resume objective that doesn’t sync up with a prospective job opening could very likely harm your prospects for an interview. Save career goal discussions for your first performance review.

With the considerable time you save on an objective statement, focus on writing a short, specific-to-the-job-opening cover letter.  And make sure your resume focuses on your accomplishments, not just a list of jobs and their boilerplate descriptions.  Several previous posts here discuss resume writing, including one that carries links to simple, clean templates.