Did you know that those couple of sentences at the top of your resume can make all the difference in the world?
The resume objective is the very first thing a hiring manager sees when they open your resume. If that doesn’t impress them, they won’t look further. In fact, most HR professionals and managers spend about six seconds scanning your resume. Make sure the first thing they read really hits the mark and prompts them to contact you!
Table of contents:
- What is a Resume Objective Statement?
- Resume Objective Vs. Resume Summary Statement — What’s The Difference?
- Why And When You Need to Write a Resume Objective
- What to Include in Your Resume Objective Statement
- Common Mistakes to Avoid with Resume Objective Statements
- Killer Resume Objective Examples
Chances are they have dozens of resumes to read. And when working on your resume remember this — assume that hiring managers are looking for reasons to discard some resumes rather than keep them. Make a good initial impression and you can stay in the game!
And we’ll teach you just that. The following is a definitive guide to composing resume objective statements that help you meet your career goals. We’ll end with some examples that cover a variety of career fields and employment situations. Feel free to “swipe” those and add them to your resume template!
What is a Resume Objective Statement
A resume objective is simply a few sentences, at the top of your resume, that briefly state what you are looking for. This statement lets your potential employers know what you want, and what you bring to the table.
What the verbatim looks like can vary widely. Your resume objective statement should match your career goals, the job you are applying for, and standards within your industry.
Over the years, hiring managers’ preferences have changed regarding objective statements. Later, we’ll cover how these preferences should influence your choices when writing these statements.
Resume Objective Vs. Resume Summary Statement — What’s The Difference?
A traditional objective statement centers around an applicant’s career goals, talents, and skill set. It might look something like this:
MBA graduate with social media management experience, great communication skills, and a great team leader seeks an executive position in the marketing department of a growing corporation.
Objective statements are generally short and to the point.
In contrast, a resume summary statement is longer. These tend to focus more on specific skills, and the value the applicant can bring to the potential employer. Here’s an example:
Recent MBA graduate with experience managing the social media presence of two successful startups, and one political campaign. Have worked in reputation management as well as digital marketing. Deep familiarity with social media analytics, promotion, and most commonly used online marketing tools.
While preferences now lean towards the summary statement, keep in mind that many hiring managers and others use the terms interchangeably. Resume summary statements are also called executive summaries, and personal statements.
It’s important to know that there are also some alternatives that people select in addition to these two options. Some opt for personal branding statements. Others choose to begin their resumes with a visually compelling listing of their skills. This might look like this:
Cisco Certified | AS in Informatics | SAP | Agile | HTML5 | Python
This guide will clarify when it’s specifically referring to the traditional objective statement.
Why And When You Need to Write a Resume Objective
There’s much written about the virtues of resume objectives vs. summary statements.
In truth, both contain elements that are useful for potential employers. A traditional objective statement details your career goals, and the role you would like to have with your new employer.
Some people argue that this doesn’t tell hiring managers what you can do for them. This may be true, but smart hiring authorities understand that the best employees are happy employees who feel as if they have the opportunity to develop their careers as they wish. They can use a traditional objective statement to determine cultural fit, and whether or not there is a career path that meets your needs.
Here’s another justification for the traditional objective statements. If you intend to change careers, an objective statement may benefit you more than a personal statement. While personal statements tend to focus more on hard skills and experience, objectives often highlight soft skills and career goals. This approach can also help recent graduates seeking entry-level positions.
Finally, most recruiters and hiring managers expect some kind of statement at the top of your resume. They want a summation of who you are, your goals, etc. Because of this, whether you go the traditional route or write a personal statement, it’s imperative that this part of your resume isn’t left off entirely.
What to Include in Your Resume Objective Statement
If you go the traditional route, here are some best practices for writing your objective statement.
- Brevity is a plus. The person reading your resume should be able to get your objective in just a quick glance. Save further detail for the rest of your resume, and your cover letter. Don’t exceed two sentences.
- Focus on the employer. What is the primary thing you have to offer an employer? Build your objective statement around that. Make your goals and desired work conditions secondary.
- Customize your objective statement for the position. As a job seeker, you might apply for jobs that require slightly different skill sets, be in different industries, or have varying hours and shifts. You wouldn’t want to apply for a part-time, temporary position as a customer support agent with an objective that states your desire to land a full-time position as a salesperson.
- Create a unique objective. It should help you to stand out as someone who deserves further consideration. Avoid cliches. Read the job description thoroughly. Identify power words that you can include in your objective statement.
If it helps, think of it like a formula.
Education or Experience + Skill + Goal
C-Suite executive with ten years leadership experience, specializing in overseeing international mergers and acquisitions, looking for a senior executive position in the manufacturing sector.
What if you decide that a personal statement or summary is the best choice? Many of the same rules above still apply. Still, there are a few differences, and items to keep in mind.
- Think about value. In sales, people are encouraged to focus on the benefits of their products and services. Essentially, they communicate the results people can expect when they make a purchase. Your statement should accomplish the same thing. The only difference is that you’re communicating the results they will get when they hire you.
- Brevity is still important. Try to wrap your statement up in five sentences or fewer.
- Again, use keywords. Show that you will fit into the culture and that you have the skills to do the job effectively.
Common Mistakes to Avoid with Resume Objective Statements
Unfortunately, there are more cringe-worthy objective and personal statements than there should be. Here are a few of the most common.
Jargon And Buzzwords
Some words and phrases induce eye rolls in hiring managers. These include:
- Team Player
- Hard Worker
- Excellent Communicator
- Quick Thinker
These phrases are so widely used and vague that they’re essentially meaningless. Of course, these are great attributes to have, but these are things you should prove in your resume not state in your objective.
Then, there are these words and phrases that just make your objective statement pompous and stuffy. Remember that your objective statement should make people want to add you to their team. Avoid words like leverage, facilitate, thought leader, influencer.
Finally, a word on technical jargon. As a rule, leave these out of your objective statement. The exception to this would be if a technical term is the best description of a skill you must have for the job, go ahead and include that. Otherwise, save it for further down the page. Keep in mind that the first person who sees your resume may be an HR staff member or department head who doesn’t understand those tech terms anyway.
Do you know how to use Microsoft Office and email? What about social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram? That’s great, but so can everyone else. People add these things to their objective statements almost reflexively. Don’t do that. Stick with skills that make you unique, and that qualify you for the job.
Yes, people do this. Sometimes they do it blatantly: “Seeking a job in the 100K to 200K range”. In other cases, the salary expectation is implied: “Seeking a position that offers senior executive pay and perks”. Also, avoid including anything about desired benefits, bonuses, or a company car.
Spelling And Grammar Mistakes
Edit this part just like you do the rest of your resume. Even better, have someone read it for you. They can tell you how it comes off to the reader.
Creative Objective Statements
Put these in the category of video resumes, infographic resumes or any creative resume in general. In the absolute right circumstances, they can grab attention and show your creative side. With some employers, that is absolutely a plus. However, unless you are completely sure that your creativity will be appreciated, you should probably refrain.
Killer Resume Objective Examples
The best objective for your resume depends on your experience, goals, aspirations, and the job you’re going for.
We’ve chosen a variety of objectives that apply to job applicants with different backgrounds and career goals. The objective and summary statement examples also focus on several industries.
Here are our top ten great examples.
Your primary strengths are your soft skills, relevant experience you’ve picked up in internships and research projects, your degree, and any certifications you’ve earned. Even part-time and summer jobs may have given you skills that are worth mentioning. For example:
Seeking an opportunity to use my sales experience and degree in finance from Rutgers University at a growing investment firm. CFP Obtained June 2018.
Now, let’s imagine the applicant with five or more years of experience. They might be seeking a mid-level management position. Here, they want to emphasize accomplishments and experience. Hiring managers will likely assume they have the required degree and certifications. This information will also be further down their resume.
Financial planner with ten years experience managing investment portfolios of more than 1M seeks opportunity to apply my skills and experience as a charitable annuity fund manager.
IT And Technology
Again, you have to consider the requirements of each position before you create an objective statement. Here, put your best skill, experience, or certification out there. Hiring managers looking at these resumes tend to focus very intently on skills related keywords.
MCSE certified technician with systems management experience searching for an opportunity in the Information Security division in the manufacturing industry.
Media And Marketing
This is a diverse field. Marketing and media work ranges from PR professionals to media personality to marketing data analysts. Your objective statement should contain keywords that your career aspirations clear, and your experience should be reflected as well.
Marketing manager with experience overseeing multiple online marketing campaigns for hospitality clients with advertising budgets exceeding 5M, interested in helping a digital startup agency with my skills and media connections.
Graphic designers, visual artists, musicians, authors, and others are all in creative fields. This is in spite of their daily work and finished products being starkly different from one another. Like other applicants, creative professionals must take into consideration their experience and the expectations the potential employer has outlined in their job listing.
Session musician in search of contract position with a local recording studio. Experience in jazz, big band, folk, and rock. Able to operate standard recording equipment. Multi-instrumentalist specializing in upright bass and percussion.
This one can be challenging. How do you make your experience in one field seem relevant in another? It can help to focus on skills that tend to apply in many scenarios and to bring up any training or education that applies to the new position.
Here, imagine a person who wants to transition from customer support to an entry level IT position. They choose to emphasize the customer service skills they have developed because they know it’s a skill that has applications in both fields.
A+ certified technician with front-line customer support experience in the consumer electronics industry interested in a position troubleshooting and comparing PCs, mobile devices, and accessories.
Professors, teachers, academic advisors, researchers, guidance counselors and others tend to execute several duties on any given day. Objectives should detail skill, qualification, and effectiveness. Some skills to consider are mentoring, classroom management, curriculum development, and various educational certifications.
Adjunct professor with recent Ph.D. seeks assistant professor position in the Mass Communications department of a small college and university. Experience includes managing the internship program for radio and television students, and field expertise as a local television producer.
Not For Profit
Skills, experience, empathy, and the ability to get results are primary concerns in the not for profit sector. People who work for non-profit organizations perform many of the same tasks that are required in other sectors. However, these positions require additional understanding and skills. Your objective statement should communicate these things.
Librarian with experience designing literacy outreach programs for under-served interested in an opportunity to use my skills at a not for profit that is focused on educational initiatives in struggling school districts.
Banking And Finance
Does this person have the degree and experience we require? What about certifications? Are they a good fit for our organization? For this department? To write an effective banking and finance objective statement, consider the department you’ll be working with and the field of banking and finance in general. Your objective statement should show that you are experienced, responsible, and good with people.
Retail lender with established community roots seeking a mortgage lending position at a credit union or community bank. MLS certified with experience in rural loan programs.
Returning to The Workforce
People returning to the workforce often underestimate their skills and capabilities. Remember that your experience, volunteer work, and education can be used to make impactful resume objective statements.
In search of an entry-level position in retail fashion sales. Have experience with direct marketing, and as a volunteer merchandiser at Goodwill Thrift stores.
If we haven’t covered your field, experience, or education with these examples, don’t worry. These are only intended to act as a guideline. You can also access a career coach, the career center at your local college or university, your local library, or multiple other sources for advice and information on developing the best objective statement for your situation. There are also resume samples online.
No matter what your career goals are, or your field of expertise, you have to start your resume with a compelling statement. This can truly make the difference in earning a callback for an interview or simply having your resume sent to the discard pile. Give this vital part of your resume the attention it deserves.
If you write a statement that focuses on broadcasting your skills and experience, goals, and your value to potential employers, you will be successful!