Artwork by: Alexandra Shevchenko
Are you considering adding an objective to your resume? Read this article to find out how a career statement is usually the better option, focusing on what you have to offer an employer.
When preparing or polishing your resume for a job search, you may be wondering how best to structure your resume for maximum impact. This is particularly important at the beginning of your resume, where your initial pitch needs to spark the hiring manager’s interest to read on and learn more about you.
Should you include a resume objective? Would a career statement be more impactful? What about a combination of both these options? In today’s job market, resume objectives are viewed a bit like the Ghost of Christmas Past and may even win you an eye roll from the hiring manager. But, in some circumstances, they can be a good way to tackle a lack of experience or address a major career change.
In this article we explore:
What is a resume objective and should you use one?
What is a career statement?
What if you need to include a resume objective?
How to create your own resume objective
A resume objective is a short statement (one or two sentences) placed at the top of your resume which tells the hiring manager about your career goals. For example, “Resourceful customer service professional seeking a position as Sales Associate with ABC Agency.”
Going back 10 or 15 years’ ago, resume objectives were the norm, but in the current job market they are viewed as a bit of a dinosaur. As a result, including an objective can make your resume look outdated and the hiring manager could think you’re simply out of touch.
The only exception would be if you’re a job seeker with minimal or zero experience in your desired field. This could include 16 year olds who are applying for their first job or recent graduates. If you’re looking to make a major career change you may also consider including an objective to acknowledge the career switch up. Other than that, it’s probably best to forget the objective, and focus instead on a career statement.
A career statement tells a prospective employer why you have the ideal blend of skills and experience that ticks all the boxes from the job description and have the potential to be the perfect person for their company. Rather than telling them what you want (like the resume objective), you’re telling the hiring manager what you can do for the company and why you should be offered an interview. Here’s an example of a solid career statement:
High-energy Sales Manager with 11+ years of experience in sales leadership, skilled at delivering optimal client service while promoting a team-focused approach. Generated over $1M in revenue via the deployment of targeted customer acquisition strategies.
This powerful statement is direct and to the point, tells the hiring manager what you have achieved, and what experience you can offer them. Think of the career statement as your opportunity to hook recruiters and get them interested in your experience.
While we recommend that you opt for a career statement over a resume objective, there are still situations where including a persuasive resume objective can really make a difference. Here’s some examples:
If you decide to make a career change, then a resume objective could help you get a foot in the door. In this situation, the majority of your experience will likely be in a totally different field. The key is to convince the hiring manager to give you a shot as well as highlight transferable skills and experience relevant to this new career direction.
In this case, you could focus on:
Relevant skills and transferable experience
Any relevant professional qualifications or education
How your background will help you excel in your new job
Proactive professional holding six years of experience in a demanding office environment, currently completing a Diploma in HR Management. Keen to secure a role as the next HR Assistant with LMN Company and support the development of a top-performing team. Won Team Leader of the Month three times in the past 12 months.
If you have zero work experience or education, a resume objective can provide a solution in terms of setting yourself apart from the competition. In this situation, focus on your best traits and skills in relation to the job opportunity. For example:
Creative, motivated, and hardworking employee seeking an entry-level marketing opportunity with XYZ Company. Valuable volunteer experience in a service environment, including responsibility for website content and engagement. Focused on helping XYZ Company position themselves as a brand of choice.
Recently graduated and looking for your first professional job? A great resume objective will help you navigate the obstacles of zero experience in your chosen field and maybe seal the deal on an internship. Here you need to highlight:
Top skills and personal traits
Any relevant experience gained via volunteer work, university/personal projects, and/or industry-related competitions.
Recent graduate with a BA in Journalism looking to secure an internship with News Today and contribute to the delivery of cutting-edge news content. Organized with strong critical thinking skills and good editorial judgment complemented by experience working on the university newspaper. Won the University of Washington Writers Award on two occasions.
Start off by reviewing the job posting and researching the company. You can also look at employees in similar roles or those you’re replacing. This will give you a great understanding of what is expected in the role and how you can tick these boxes on your resume. Your objective can be broken down into three core segments:
Tell the employer about relevant skills, academic studies, and experience that is relevant to the role.
Outline any experience related to the job description that makes you a perfect candidate for this job.
Sell to the employer why you are the solution to their problems and how you will enable them to achieve their goals.
Ensure your resume objective is targeted at the specific role and organization you are applying to rather than using generic statements. Stating “Graduate looking for an administrative job in any setting” is not going to set the world on fire! Instead refer to the job title and specific company name.
If you’re looking for help in creating a resume that will rise above the rest, check out Career.io’s professional resume builder to give yourself the edge over the competition.
Resume objectives, a short sentence that expresses your career goals, are considered outdated by most recruiters and hiring managers these days.
Consider using a career statement instead, which tells the hiring manager what you can offer their company, rather than what you are looking to gain.
The only exception to including a resume objective would be if you are looking for a 360-degree career change or as a recent graduate with zero experience.
In this case keep your resume objective direct, succinct, and impactful without stuffy language or jargon. Include facts and figures as much as possible, and tell the company exactly what you can do for them. Show yourself as the solution to their problem!
Helen is an experienced freelance writer with a strong background in job search and career advice, in particular resume best practices, interviewing, and personal and professional development. Before Career.io, Helen worked for high-profile recruitment firms and in the field of HR management, so she has a strong sense of what recruiters are looking for in a potential employee as well as experience in supporting career growth and development.