Is there guidance for the structure of an Objective Statement on a CV in the UK?

I moved to the UK from North America two years ago, so think the 2 page format here is more appropriate. I am a front-end investment business development individual contributor in finance with 8 years experience with compensation between $100K to $150K. I'm including an Objective Statement titled as 'International Investment Professional since I have been setting up a side organisation since relocating to build knowledge and networks in the new markets I would like to service, so want to orient the reader immediately since it is not a traditional route.

I know its not recommended, but perhaps so at my lower individual contributor. It takes up 20% of the page's writable area. I open with a 3-line paragraph which states my background, followed by a sentence which states what I am looking for, and then four 1-line bullets explaining my USP at a high level, without any self-praising adjectives/adverbs/etc. The details are outlined in the Professional Experience Responsibilities Pharagraphs and Accomplishment Bullets. 

Thanks a lot!

canuck's picture

If memory serves, I believe the logic around not putting general objective or descriptive statements is covered in those casts.

It is only my opinion, and I'm not trying to be mean, but those type of "Objective" or "Career Goals" or "Self Description" statements are bordering on useless for me.  When trying to figure out if I should interview you or not, I get all the data I need in the facts and accomplishments section of your resume.

Remember the golden rule: write for your audience.  Tell them what they want to know, not what you want to tell them.

Also, remember the second golden rule: Talk about the results of the work over the work.


Mark's picture
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We don't believe in Objective Statements.  No 5 line paragraph, none of that other stuff. Sorry.

Hope it works out though.  Sounds exciting.


mmann's picture
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By the time a hiring manager wants to read your CV they should have already understood this information from your cover letter.  If it were me, I'd see this as a possible lack of confidence and perhaps an indication the candidate has challenges with constructing a series of documents that persuade the reader.  I'd put your submission in the "possible" category before turning to the second page, and look to the offerings from the other candidates for a better first impression.

Well, that's my $0.02.  I've only hired two people at your level from the outside, so I'm far from the voice of authority. 

  Good luck!

superjac's picture
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 I am seconding the idea that this information is cover letter content. I've read not a single objective statement that was even remotely compelling when reviewing resumes. It either eliminated the candiate because his objective did not match my own, or it served no purpose. I think in one of the casts, Mark actually says that the objective of the resume is clear. It is to get you an interview. It need not be stated.

To be worthy content it would need to specifically address the job and be more lengthy than I personally think would fit on a resume or CV. I'd go with a cover letter. Is the cover letter dead in the UK? 

buhlerar's picture

The purpose of the "objective" you list here is to get them to read the resume.  But if they're already reading the resume, it's a waste of space.  In fact, if you really do spread your resume over 2 pages, then you can safely assume they won't look at the 2nd page (at least not in any depth).  So you're basically taking the top half of the page to convince them to read the bottom half.  Put that in the cover letter and limit your resume to your experience.

Also, I agree with superjac, I've specifically eliminated people for objective statements that didn't line up well with my position, but I can't think of a single time it helped.

Unlike the 1-page rule, which runs somewhat counter to many advice column recommendations, axing the objective statement seems to be a little more widely agreed-upon.  Serious downside, with little or no upside.

Finally, isn't Wendii from the UK?  She ran the resume review service, if memory serves, so although I have no experience there I'm assuming there's no exemption in the UK for more than 1 page.

stephenbooth_uk's picture

If you're writing a Personal/Objective Statement then you're probably writing a CV not a Resume (different but related beasts).  The rationale for an objective statement is simply that if I'm recruiting for a job and you send me two documents then, in the first pass at least, I'm going to probably only read one of them, probably your CV. 

Fairly common advice for writing covering letters is that your second paragraph should show why you are a good fit for the post.  Read the job ad and match your background to that and make sure to include the key words.  If the job ad says "PRINCE2 certified  project manager with experience of the construction industry" then your second paragraph would say something like "I have been a project manager in the construction industry for 15 years on projects ranging $100,000 to $5,000,000.  I first gained PRINCE2 certification in 2005 and recently updated to the 2009 version" then continue to give some more details.   If, however, I'm not going to read your covering letter in the first pass then that paragraph is useless.  If you include a 1-2 line summary as a personal statement at the top of your CV this tells me two things.  Firstly that you're a good match for the job.  econdly that you've read the job advert and actually thought about how you're a good fit for the job then adapted your CV to showcase how good a fit you are, rather than just shot gunned your standard CV out to every job that sounded vaguely like something you'd done before or think you might like to do (like 99.9% of the other applicants).  I think that's worth 2 lines out of 132 (2 sides A4 at 11pt with typical top and bottom margins), your view may differ.

Another reason to include such a personal statement is that unless they are stapled together, and remain stapled (often staples get removed so your CV can be copied or scanned by HR or the mailroom), there's a good chance that your CV and covering letter will get separated by accident or design.  For reasons I've never been able to fathom or get a clear explanation of in the UK public sector HR will often remove any covering letters before forwarding CVs or application forms to the hiring manager. 




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"Start with the customer and work backwards, not with the tools and work forwards" - James Womack


RickR's picture

 Mark, Canuck, Mmann Superjac, Buhlerar, Stephenbooth_UK,

Thanks for the feedback. The version of the CV in question would be sent in a direct mail campaign where there is no posted position (ie. John Lucht's method), posted on job boards where again there is no specific position, and submitted to a retained recruiter at the courtesy interview stage where again there is no specific position. The submission guidelines of the retained recruiter that I know are pasted below, and you will see an objective statement is required and it can be assumed they are expecting a 2 page CV since they ask for no more than 3 pages. Rule number on is always cater to the ask, so in this case, the 1-page-no-objective-statement resume guidance would not apply, although it is a great starting point.

Produce a good 4/5 line introduction giving a birds eye summary of your experience, highlighting your core skills and experience. If you have major achievements to be proud of, add a special section about those achievements just after your summary. Keep the CV to no more than 3 pages. Real maximum! Jobs that you did over 10 years ago can be covered off in one line.

I've condensed my OS to 3 lines followed by 4 one-line key bullets, and of course there is no adjectives, adverbs, or any of the standard fluff words.For specific postings, I agree the material should be included in the cover letter. This creates a hole in the 2 page CV, not to be filled up with fluff, so it seems best to keep a slightly more tailed version of it on the CV as Stephenbooth_UK mentioned, in case the cover letter is separated from the CV, and considering it takes up less than 10% of the two page CV.

Thanks for the conversation and I hope this feed helps others in the UK. It would be good to get more feedback from Wendii and other UK-based professionals like Stephenbooth_UK.