Resume objectives - career objectives
Do these belong in your resume?

Before answering whether resume objectives or career objective statements belong in your resume, let's clear up the terminology.

These terms are often confused.

Your career objective is a statement about where you are wanting to head in your career.

Should you decide to use this heading in your resume, your career objective statement must be compelling reading.

Why?...... Because this will be the first information the reader will learn about you. always, first impressions are important and lasting impressions!

Can you guess what your resume objectives might be? You're absolutely correct if you said..... "to get you an interview".

Resume objectives
Should you include a 'Career Objectives' statement?

To help you decide, here are some important questions to ask yourself.

  • Will an explanation of your true career objectives entice the employer to hire you?
  • Do your career objectives closely match what the employer is looking for in their ideal candidate? Are you sure?
  • Are your career objectives more about your career direction, aspirations and needs than the employer's needs and interests?

Here's the thing.....People do things for their reasons, not yours!

When the employer is deciding whether to hire you or not, they'll be asking WIFM......"What's in it for me?" They are more interested in meeting their needs, rather than yours.

Resume Writing Tips

Your reader, the employer, is more interested in what you can do for them in the here and now rather than how they can help you realise your ambitions for the future.

Say, for example, your real career objective is to be the CEO of a Fortune 500 company within the next 10 years.

But...... you are currently at middle management level!

In this situation, where you want to be in 10 years probably won't have much to do with the employer's reason for hiring you today.

So.....if your career objective isn't relevant to the needs of the employer, think very carefully about whether to include this information in your resume.

There's another problem with career objective statements

The problem is this.......Poorly written, naive career objective statements are usually all about the ambition of the candidate.

If you absolutely must include a career objective statement in your resume, write it in terms which explain your desire, and ability, to make a difference in the employer's organisation. That approach is more likely to get you noticed!

Examples - poorly written career objective statement

Here's just two poorly written examples:

  • I'm a mid-level manager who is looking for the next challenging opportunity that will help me advance my career.
  • Looking for a position in an organisation that provides me with the opportunity to engage in further training and education.

Can you spot why these are so ineffective? They are both about meeting the needs of the applicant.

Both statements are clearly telling the employer that they are more interested in having their needs met, rather than helping the employer and employing organisation with their needs.

Not exactly the best way to make a positive impression with the reader.

When does a career objective statement work best?

Your resume objective of getting an interview is more likely when:

  1. Your career objective has direct relevance to the position you are applying for - This is the key consideration.Your career objective must have relevance to the reader's needs or interests..
  2. Dealing with professional recruiters. If you are sending your resume to a professional recruiter to get on their data base, rather than applying for a specific position they have advertised. Why? - because it helps the recruiter to know what type of roles you'd like to be considered for.
  3. Following up on some networking activity - When you have met someone through networking, a career objective statement can make it easier for this person to assist you in your job search.

Resume Writing Tips

What is the most effective type of carer objective statement?

As you probably now's where you lead the reader to conclude that there is a match between what they want in an employee, and what you, the prospective employee, is looking to do in your career.

In other words, your message needs to communicate that by helping the organisation to meet their objectives, you'll be working towards yours - your statement should communicate "Win - Win".

A two step process
How to write a career objective statement

Think of achieving your resume objectives as a two step process - we're talking basic sales letter techniques here.

When writing your statement you will need to first attract the attention of the reader and then arouse their interest in what you have to say.

  1. Create interest by beginning in a slightly unpredictable way - start with an action word like "seeking" instead of "I am seeking"
  2. Interest is created when you relate to the reader's needs - in other words helping them answer the question WIFM - what's in it for me?

A simple formula for writing resume objectives

Try using this simple formula to help you to construct your resume objective statement.

Seeking a position as.. (the type of role) (explain, if relevant, the industry or niche where you want to work).....

where my...(describe two, perhaps three of your strongest assets - skills, knowledge, attitude)...

will contribute to.....(key words which relate to what is important to the employer - for example words like - profitability, productivity, efficiency, image or reputation, service quality, safety, cost effectiveness etc)

Career objective statement - An example

Seeking a position as a Training Consultant in a service based industry where my well developed instructional design and facilitation skills in Quality Service Management can be utilised to assist the organisation achieve a reputation for delivering service excellence.

Resume Writing Tips

The main features of the sample statement above are:

  • It begins with an action word "Seeking". Aim to get rid of unnecessary language in your resume like "I am (seeking)
  • The position you say you are seeking which you describe in your statement would be the same or similar to the job title in the advertisement you are responding to
  • Likewise - indicate you want to work in the same industry setting or niche is where the employer operates would be included
  • Key attributes you bring to the role are featured - in this instance instructional design, facilitation skills, Quality Service Management
  • The attributes you describe are referred to in the context of how the employer will benefit - assisting them to achieve a reputation for....

Wording your career objective statement like this helps to create an impression with the reader that your purpose is to help them.

If that connection is made, one of your resume objectives is achieved - interest in your application - which then could lead to interview invitation.

Career objective statement
A poor example - for contrast

I am seeking a position in your organisation which will enable me to take the next step in my career. I'm keenly interested in learning more about the whole area of service excellence together with the opportunity to further develop my instructional design and facilitation skills.

See the difference? - This statement is all about the writer - not the reader!

Resume objectives - Summary

If you decide to include a career objective heading and statement in your resume it has to work for you by enhancing your application.

You will fail in achieving your overall resume objective if you write a statement which is all about you. Your statement must reflect that your career interest is in helping your employer.

If you decide not to put in a career objective statement, what's the alternative?......Begin with your career profile statement.

Finally if you haven't already done so, make sure you are following the other resume guidelines that will help you write a terrific resume.

Also, are you confident you've made the right choice about resume layouts, and are you using the right headings when creating a resume?

Another critical area of the resume relates to the recording of your career accomplishments or career highlights. Go to the link if you don't know which ones you will include, and if you need some suggestions about how to write about them.

New! Comments

Has this helped you in your job search? What else would you like to see here about job search? Leave me a comment in the box below.
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