The Resume “Objective” is Dead

How to Write a Career Mission Statement Instead


career mission statementRemember when you were instructed to put an “Objective” statement on your resume? That statement was typically a flowery wish list, embellished with four syllable words and focused on what you want. The problem with objectives, aside from the flowery embellishment, is this: Your resume and LinkedIn profile need to address what’s in it for them, not you.

Should you write a career mission statement?

Why would you write a career mission statement? A career mission statement, when written correctly, has the power of focusing your values, experience, passion, and strengths into something forward focused and outward facing. In other words, it is your chance to tell the right companies how you potentially align with their values and mission. It is an excellent way to demonstrate how you can help a company solve their essential problems and keep promises to customers.

To write a career mission statement that resonates with hiring managers, start with these steps:

  1. Outline your top personal values
  2. Articulate your key strengths
  3. Identify companies whose stated values appear to align with yours and who hire people like you
  4. Review the company mission statements of target companies
  5. Draft your career mission statement to align with (but not mimic) the companies you most admire

Here’s an example to get you started. Let’s begin with a CFO whose values include integrity, keeping promises to co-workers and customers, collaboration, and transparency. Strengths include business acumen in the medical device industry, exceptional ability to partner with the C-suite level, and an ability to anticipate the CEO’s next questions on financial reporting and forecasting.

Using the five-step process, our CFO wrote this career mission statement:

    To bring transparency, insight, and foresight to strategic decision-making

From there, he crafted a career marketing statement to include these mission-driven values and strengths:

I am a CFO with medical device expertise who values transparency, accountability and keeping promises to colleagues and customers. My business acumen and deep-dive approach to collaborating with the CEO and C-Suite partners helps break down communication silos and helps me anticipate the CEO’s next questions.

Use the following criteria to see how your career mission statement will hold up to scrutiny:

  • Authentic: Make sure it is an honest reflection of your values and sounds genuine when you say it and read it
  • Relevant: Ask yourself if your passion and values are aligned with target companies
  • Compelling: Let your passion come through so that others can picture how you might make a measurable difference in their company

Using this statement as part of a well crafted LinkedIn profile and resume, our CFO was able to attract a handful of interviews in his target industry. He accepted an offer with a growing medical device company that especially values his ability to work with multiple product groups and divisions. He is known for his ability to increase transparency and build cooperation among departments and has helped the CEO to complete significant strategic initiatives.

While our CFO understands no company or job is perfect, and that internal politics exist everywhere, he found that starting with a clear career mission statement was an important step to finding a great opportunity.