If your resume were a book, your resume objective would be the blurb on the cover flap. Usually just a few sentences long, it’s a short summary intended to capture the attention of the reader.
Whereas a book’s blurb might set the scene for the story or give a sneak peek into the plot, a resume objective encapsulates your career goals. It’s a statement of the kind of career you want, as well as the skills and strengths you have that qualify you for that career.
Apart from the main content itself, these summaries serve as the document’s key selling points. To find out how to write an impressive resume objective — and whether or not you should actually include one — look to this post for all the information you need, including helpful resume objective examples.
What Is a Resume Objective?
A resume objective, also called a career objective, is a one- or two-sentence summary of your professional goals and what you offer to reach those goals. Typically placed at the top of your resume (under your name and contact details), it’s a quick way to introduce yourself and may be the first thing a potential employer will ever read about you.
For this reason, a lot goes into a resume objective — past accomplishments and future aspirations, present skills and prospective growth. But no matter what details you choose to include, a strong resume objective should answer the question, “What is this resume or applicant trying to accomplish?”
Now, it’s easy for a resume object to start sounding a little one-sided — your goals, your skills, your interests. And while ambition is an admirable trait, it’s still better to phrase your objective with both parties in mind.
For example, rather than stating what you’re looking for in a company to help your career, emphasize how the knowledge and skills you have to offer can help the company achieve their goals.
When to Include a Resume Objective
These days, objectives are no longer a requirement in a general resume. In fact, they may even appear a bit dated for some cases. Features like career summaries, branding statements, and professional profiles have since started taking their place.
Summaries and statements are more assertive alternatives, usually conveying hard skills and an active voice. They’re best for those who have acquired a fair amount of experience in their particular field, although they aren’t necessarily targeted towards a specific job or outcome.
A resume objective example goes something like this: “Award-winning designer focused on the food industry, with previous clients including Ben and Jerry’s, Del Monte, Kraft, and Nabisco. Proficient in the Adobe Suite, typography, and print and prototype production.”
Although professional summaries and statements have become more commonplace, there are still instances when a resume objective is still needed:
You’re new to the job market. Recent graduates, job seekers, or those without any previous experience wouldn’t be able to write a professional summary statement. Instead, they should craft a resume objective statement that emphasizes their strong character traits, personal qualities, and work ethic, as well as how they would best apply these in the new position and company.
You’re changing careers or industries. If your work experience is not in the industry you’re applying for, a well-written resume objective can help explain that you still understand what’s needed to succeed in the position. It gives your reasons for making a career change and highlights any transferable skills you can bring into the new position.
You’re moving to a new city. Job applications usually require an address and contact details. If you’re planning to move, however, your listed address may cause a bit of confusion and even disqualify you for not being in the hiring location. A resume objective is the perfect place to note this change in your address and career.
You’re interested in a particular position. While rich in detail, professional summaries and statements read more like a list of qualifications. A good resume objective, on the other hand, is tailored for the particular position. They effectively highlight the specific skill set and experience you have that make you best suited for the job at hand.
How to Write an Effective Resume Objective
Resume objectives go a long way in highlighting your qualifications, emphasizing how you can fulfill the position, and even explaining in any gaps in your resume — all within a few lines. Use this space wisely with the following tips:
1. Tailor fit it to the job position. Every professional resume objective should include the position you’re applying for, along with a few keywords from the job description itself (i.e., “computer engineer,” “Salesforce experience,” “operations manager”). This serves as a good guide when selecting the right skills and experiences to include. The more specific, the stronger your application, and the better your chances of being considered for the job.
2. Explain what makes you an ideal candidate. You’ve presented your goals and skills. Now, take those a step further and explain how they directly align with the job position. How will your skills benefit their company? How will you bring value to the organization? These are what a hiring manager wants to know and ultimately, the key points that separate a strong resume objective from a weak one.
3. Set the stage for your resume. The resume objective takes prime real estate in your application. As such, make sure it catches the reader’s attention by leading with your strongest qualities — “cooperative team player,” “creative powerhouse,” or “proven success.” This will get the recruiter or hiring manager interested and ready to read the rest of your resume.
4. Keep things short. Long and verbose is not a way to grab someone’s attention. Short and succinct is. If you maintain a clear focus and make sure every word is deliberate and necessary, then a few sentences is really all you need. (Tip: Remove any filler words, such as “the” or “like,” and your objective will come off with more direction.)
What’s in a Resume Objective (With Examples)
If writing a resume objective is still overwhelming, you can start by breaking it down sentence by sentence. A complete resume objective can be parsed into five parts:
1. A strong descriptive trait — “accomplished,” “hard-working,” “detail-oriented”
2. Your role or job title — “sales manager,” “human resources manager,” “administrative assistant”
3. Abilities and qualities — specific to the job you’re applying for; can include soft skills, such as problem solving, communication skills, team management skills, interpersonal skills, etc., or hard skills, like Adobe Photoshop, ReactJS, SQL, etc.
4. Position you’re applying for — XYZ role in ABC company
5. Your value — “to expand reach by targeting new markets,” “to increase sales by automating the manufacturing process”
Applying this formula, here are some resume objective examples for an array of application scenarios:
“Highly-motivated business graduate with a 3.6 GPA and six months of corporate internship experience. Seeking to apply my academic knowledge and proven organizational skills as a management assistant at ABC Company, help achieve company goals, and meet upcoming challenges.”
“Accomplished marketing executive looking to leverage over four years of professional experience in branding, targeting markets, and driving sales growth in a new startup setting. Looking for the opportunity to apply diverse skills and passion in a management position within the innovative technology space.”
Moving to a New City
Interested in a Particular Position
“Enthusiastic administrative associate with over 10 years experience preparing reports, organizing presentations, and managing office operations. Looking to leverage my expertise in ABC Company as an effective account manager to help grow the company.”
The Final Objective
Now, you know everything you need to write a resume objective — what it is, why and when it’s needed, and how to write one. All you have to do now is start your job search, find that perfect position for you, and write that objective on your resume.