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Your Resume Objective Statement:
What It Is & How to Write One

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A resume objective statement is your chance to make a first impression with recruiters. There are three purposes to a resume objective statement:

  • It lays out what your professional objectives are.
  • Whether you’re experienced in your field or embarking on an exciting new career.
  • Most importantly - why you’re the perfect choice for the position you’re seeking

If you want your resume to stand out, a well-written resume objective is essential.

What a Resume Objective
Statement Needs to Have

An objective statement comes at the top of your resume. It typically states your goals for employment in one to three sentences. For a well-written objective to stand out it’s important to:

  • Be specific about the skills and experiences you have that relate to the job.
  • Ensure that career goals you’re stating are feasible within the company you’re applying to.
  • Where possible, give equal time to your personal virtues and to the qualities that add value to the company.

Each sentence of the statement should be concise and to-the-point. An effective career statement is tailored for the position you’re applying to and can include:

  • What Career/Position You’re PursuingExample: To apply a solid Accounting education to an entry-level cost accountant position with an organization that values hard work.
  • What Skills and Experience You Bring to that CareerExample: Seeking to refine the analytical, support and training skills acquired in ten years as a Budget and Accounting Manager.
  • Accomplishments that are Relevant to the Current JobExample: In four years as a store manager at Hinky-Dink’s, I cut costs by 23 percent and boosted inventory accuracy by over 36 percent.
  • Where You’ve Been in Your Career, and Where You Aspire to GoExample: Applying a 10-year track record in business administration to the pursuit of interests in education, which an Instructor position at the UFV School of Business fits perfectly.

Examples of Great Resume
Objective Statements

It’s not always possible to deploy every single piece of the above advice into an objective statement. Try to keep the most applicable recommendations in view and carefully review your writing to make sure that the final product is as effectively written as possible.

The following examples refer to the kinds of applicants listed in "Who Benefits Most from a Resume Objective?"

Workers in a Career Change

  • "Experienced freelance writer set on changing career to content marketing. Spent 10 years writing freelance journalism and promotional copy for various organizations and media outlets. Hope to apply a strong grasp of informative and exciting copywriting to strengthen the appeal of Logic+Emotion’s distinctive marketing blog."
  • "Accomplished office manager making a career shift to human resources. Eight years of experience supporting a diverse office team of over 40 professionals and providing professional communication. Seeking to apply this combination of administrative and interpersonal skills to help ABC Company meet company-wide human resource goals."

Returning to the Workforce After a Long Absence

  • "Proven administrative assistant with a 12-year record of providing excellent communications, filing, report-writing and customer service. Returning to work after a three-year career pause. Looking to apply and reinvigorate skills in helping Generica, Inc.’s head office enjoy the highest possible standards of efficiency and customer relations."
  • "Creative marketing and design professional with eight years’ experience in print and online layout work. Returning to the workplace after a 12-month maternity leave. Hope to apply my proven skills in building innovative and effective graphic design and layout to help GraphDesignCo enhance its profile and acquire new clients and opportunities."

Entering the Workforce

  • "Recent double major in English and Communications from the University of Municiberg who has completed two internships in public relations. Used writing, planning and design skills to craft effective marketing materials for clients in multiple sectors. Seeking to apply these skills to assist with the planning and execution of marketing deliverables for Riddell Ltd."
  • "Self-motivated individual with two years’ experience in sales and knowledgeable about business principles. Refined interpersonal and sales skills in the course of cold-calling for real estate leads on behalf of Re/Max Realty Ltd., with a 15 percent conversion rate. Seeking an entry-level position with the AmeriCorps Insurance sales team."

Those with Gaps in Their Work History

  • "Savvy marketing manager with a specialty in social media who doubled organic traffic and cut CPM costs by 30 percent during a four-year tenure at MediaCorp Ltd. Took two years away from work to care for an elderly relative, while undertaking professional training to keep skills current. Seeking to apply my skills to managing a growth-oriented content marketing strategy for UBusiness.com."

Job-Hoppers

  • "Experienced and in-demand marketing professional with a 12-year track record planning and delivering content for a wide range of companies. Have supervised successful campaigns to the consistent acclaim of clients in the communications, industrial and energy sectors. Now seeking a long-term position with potential for growth and consistency as a marketing specialist with JimCo, Ltd."

Comparison: Objective vs.
Summary Statements

A summary statement is a more common resume tool than a resume objective. They’re closely related with different points of emphasis:

  • Career ObjectivePrimarily focused on your objectives for employment and clarifies your value to the company in the course of stating those objectives.
    Advantages:
    • An objective statement is a useful self-marketing tool for when you’re changing careers or starting out in the job. market, or in any situation where your goals aren’t easy to determine from your work history alone.
    • It provides you with a way to link your current skill set with what you’re trying to do.
    • In targeting a specific position, the resume objective provides an opportunity to reference the job opening.
    • Overall, by simply stating what you’re looking for and why you pique the interest of the hiring manager.
  • Summary StatementPrimarily on the value you’ll add to the company and tends not to mention your personal or career objectives.
    Advantages:
    • A summary statement makes a condensed but powerful case for your particular skill set and what it brings to the company.
    • It can run a bit longer than a resume objective, providing a fuller overview of the skills you bring to the table.
    • It can run a bit longer than an objective statement, providing a fuller overview of the skills you bring to the table.
    • You can convey higher levels of detail about your skills and education without referring directly to what you’re hoping to gain from the company.
    • Staffing sites often refer to the summary statement as the better and bolder option than the resume objective thanks to the highlights it provides about your prior working life.
    • It serves well for job hunters looking within their established field.

Who Benefits Most From a
Resume Objective?

It’s not true that every job seeker should use a resume objective statement. There are certain types of applicants for whom it makes the most sense. These are the kinds of job seekers who can most benefit from the use of a well-written resume objective:

  • Workers in a Career ChangeChanging careers is one of the most difficult transitions to make in the job market. By focusing on your objectives and the unique ways in which you present skills can contribute to the new industry, you can show a hiring manager why it makes sense to help you make this transition.
  • Returning to the Workforce After a Long AbsenceStarting anew after having been out of the labor force is perhaps one of the few job market challenges more difficult than a change of career. Here, having a clearly-stated objective can help demonstrate your drive and larger vision.
  • Entering the WorkforceIf you don’t have much in the way of a work history to draw upon, an objective statement can clarify how you’ll be applying any prior education to specific career goals. It can overcome or at any rate lessen the degree to which new workers can be plausibly, or legally, shut out from gainful employment.
  • Gaps in Work HistoryGaps in your work history, no matter the reason, can undercut efforts to find work. Your resume objective can help to refocus attention on the future instead of the past and can illustrate why getting you back into the workforce is beneficial for everyone.
  • Job-HoppersThose who are compelled by circumstances to job-hop and try to find the best fit for their skills need some kind of general hook for selling themselves to each new job opportunity. A well-crafted objective statement can help to make the process of job-hopping far easier and help make hiring you appealing to hiring managers.

10 Writing Tips for a Great
Resume Objective Statement

The approach you take to your resume and resume objective makes all the difference in making it to the desk of a hiring manager, or not. You have to strike the right balance between informative and wordy, focus on your career objectives while making it clear what value you can add to the company and your colleagues, and you have to do it all in the space of about 50 words. It calls for careful writing that follows these tips:

  • Short and DirectBrevity and focus are important keys to an objective statement that stands out. A resume typically has about six seconds to catch a recruiter’s eye, as they’re typically going through multiple applicants at a time. The career statement should be short, strong and avoid filler words.
  • Personalized for the JobA generic career statement is a dead giveaway of a candidate not having put in an effort to distinguish themselves from the crowd. A resume objective should be adapted specifically for the job role you are seeking, and highlight the skills and experiences that are strongly aligned with the job description.
  • Show, Don’t TellDon’t just say you’re the ideal candidate. Demonstrate it with concrete examples. If it’s possible and relevant, quantify achievements when you mention them. Your relevant experience managing an office or a store, for example, should include measurable accomplishments like the decrease of waste or an increase in profits.
  • Clarity of PurposeBrevity is good, but not at the expense of logic and flow. Your objective statement should always make sense and avoid vague statements and sentiments, jargon, fluff and filler, and largely meaningless cliches of the "self-starter looking for new challenges in a fast-paced environment" type.
  • Set the StageYour resume objective can be thought of as the "hook" for the rest of your resume. The skills, experiences and qualities you highlight here should be reasonably representative of the resume’s fuller contents. This consistency means that when the recruiter is tempted to read your resume in more detail, it further engages their interest.
  • Lead with Your StrengthsOutside of quantifiable achievements, lead with the personal attributes you have that you’re most proud of and that contribute directly to the position you’re seeking. You can segue from these into talking about specific accomplishments.
  • Note Relevant CredentialsIf you have important and prestigious credentials that could have a bearing on the posted job, it’s a good idea to include them. Having the right credentials for the position at hand, or at least credentials in a related or applicable sector of the job market, helps promote goodwill from the recruiter.
  • Describe How You’ve Made an ImpactIf you have experiences that tie into the position, describe a way that you made an impact on a company or a community, keeping in mind the "Show, don’t tell" rule mentioned earlier. As with credentials, relevant experience is an excellent way of gaining consideration from the hiring manager.
  • Describe How You’ll Add ValueWhile the focus of an objective statement tends to be on your career goals, that doesn’t mean you can’t also address the question of what you bring to the company and how you’ll help them to do things better.
  • Make it Error-FreeNothing robs a resume objective of more credibility than careless typos and grammatical errors. To some schools of thought, mistakes in this sense also include a failure to write in complete sentences, while others favor a more stripped-down approach that treats even conjunctions as "filler words." Either approach is valid, but having a statement riddled with avoidable spelling mistakes is not.