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Resume Titles, Position Objectives, and Background Statements

For years it was common to see “Position Objectives” or “Career Objectives” as the first section of most resumes. I still use this introductory statement on occasion for recent graduates but a better approach for people who are already in the work force is to use what is typically called a “Resume Title”. Another introductory section I use pretty often for career change resumes is called a “Background Statement”. I’ll discuss all three of these introductory statements in this article with examples of each. Regardless of which one you decide to use, the statement should be placed on the resume immediately following your name and contact information.

Resume Title

A “Resume Title” identifies the type of position you’re targeting and indicates your skill level for that position. Of the three introductory sections I use on resumes, this is the one I use most often. This is the “intro of choice” for candidates who are already in the work force and who are not contemplating a career change. In addition to the title itself, I like to present a short statement under the title with a little background information about the job candidate. This approach can be very effective at giving the reader a frame of reference about they type of position you’re targeting and your qualifications to perform those responsibilities.

Here’s an example of a “Resume Title” presentation:

PROCESS ENGINEER


Over 15 years of experience in the areas of process engineering, and material handling. Proven record of accomplishment in engineering change management, product improvement, material procurement, process improvement, and system analysis. Skilled at applying continuous quality/service level improvement concepts. Strong analytical and leadership abilities combined with excellent interpersonal, communication, and team-building skills that allow me to work effectively with other people at all levels.


Background Statement

A “Background Statement” is typically used on career change resumes but can also be used on recent graduate resumes if you have significant information to include. For career change resumes, use this statement to focus on your transferable skills. In other words, identify those skills and abilities you’ve used in your current and past positions that are also valuable for the career change position you’re targeting.

Here’s an example of a “Background Statement” presentation:

BACKGROUND


Recent finance degree combined with 3 years of successful business management experience. Proven record of accomplishment in financial planning, business management, business operations, and client relationship management. Effective problem solver with strong analytical abilities. Excellent interpersonal and communication skills that allow me to work effectively with other people at all levels.


Position Objective

A “Position Objective” or “Career Objective” is used when you don’t have background and experience that’s directly related to the position you’re targeting. This is a typical situation for recent graduates and other people who are targeting entry-level positions. I use this intro section the least often of any of the three introductory sections. I prefer to use the “Background Statement” I described previously for recent graduates when I can.

Here’s an example of a "Position Objective" presentation:

POSITION OBJECTIVE


Responsible position in the financial services industry involving sales and/or customer service responsibilities.


To sum up, keep these three introductory statements in mind when creating your resume and use the one that best fits your particular situation:

  1. Resume Title - For people already in the work force who are targeting positions in similar types of work at the same or higher level.
     

  2. Background Statement - For career change resumes to show transferable skills. Also used on recent graduate resume to target entry-level positions when there’s enough relevant information to include.
     

  3. Position Objective - used primarily on recent graduate resume when a “Background Statement” is not practical.

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