A resume objective is a brief, clearly written statement that explains your main skills and career goals. It is traditionally included at the beginning of your resume.
Resume objectives get a lot of bad press.
Many career and job-hunting experts say that including a resume objective is a surefire way to make your resume appear outdated. Even worse, resume objectives often come across as self-serving, focusing entirely on what the job seeker wants rather than the needs of the employer. And in the early stages of the recruiting process, the hiring manager likely has little interest in what you want as a job seeker.
However, resume objectives do serve a purpose: they give potential employers an idea of how your career has been progressing and where you hope to go. They also let you clarify what you want in your career, and they can help you ensure that your resume and career goals match a position or company.
Do some research to get a feel for how resume objectives are perceived in your field, and if you choose to include one, make sure you know how to write a resume objective that will catch the eye of hiring managers and help you secure a job. Keep the following best practices in mind when writing your objective:
Be brief and clear
There’s not a whole lot that can kill your resume faster than a lengthy resume objective. It should be brief, lest the hiring manager skip over the entire resume. A few sentences should be more than enough to communicate your objective clearly and efficiently. Cut any fluff or unnecessary words and descriptors. Get to the point! Short and sweet is definitely the best way to go here.
Ensure relevance to the target position
Make sure you can link your resume’s objective directly to the position at hand. Your objective should be a good fit for the needs of the employer. You might even want to check out the job description and pull out words directly from there. And since a good resume objective is relevant to the target position, you’ll need to customize your resume objective every time you apply to a new job. It might seem tedious, but it will ensure that you get the most out of the job-seeking process.
Be specific (but not too specific)
Though you want your resume to be specific and relevant to the target position, you don’t want to be too obvious about it. If the hiring manager catches on that your objective is too on the nose, your resume objective will come across as disingenuous. So be sincere while you write the objective, as doing so will help you avoid writing one that simply attempts to butter up the hiring manager.
Link your career goals to those of the organization
The point of the resume objective is to outline your career goals. You should do this as earnestly as possible without coming across as unprofessional. Nonetheless, be sure your genuine resume objective demonstrates that you share the same goals as the organization. This shouldn’t be too hard because that’s likely the reason you’re applying to this job in the first place! If your goals don’t meet those of the organization, you might want to consider applying for a different job.
Set yourself apart from the other candidates
Everyone applying for the position will be aiming to make sure the resume objective is relevant and specific. That means it’s possible to have a resume objective very similar to many other candidates’ objectives. You have to make yours stand out if you want to be set apart from other prospective employees. Do this by being sincere, as aforementioned, and not just trying to fit into a box. Be yourself. If your resume objective is genuine, it’s impossible for it to be identical to another candidate’s.
Be honest (but not too honest)
Part of being genuine is being honest. You have to be honest in your resume objective, not just for moral reasons but to stand out from the other candidates. That doesn’t mean your resume objective should say that you’re simply looking for a way to pay down debts (even though that may be true). While you should never lie in a resume, you don’t always have to say everything, either. Remain professional and positive.
Demonstrate your qualifications
When thinking about how to write a resume objective, you should first think of the target position. Include it in your resume objective with linking words to connect the position to your qualifications. For example, your resume objective might begin with the following: “Experienced customer service representative [the target position] seeking to use my [linking words] interpersonal skills [your qualifications].”
Explain how you can benefit the employer
It’s important that your resume objective doesn’t focus on what the employer can do for you. While the resume objective is self-serving (as it’s helping you seem like the perfect fit for the job), it also helps the employer by summarizing what skills and goals you can offer the organization. If you aren’t able to articulate some kind of connection between your goals and the company’s needs, your resume’s objective will only demonstrate to the employer that you are seeking self-advancement rather than a mutually beneficial partnership. You should focus on demonstrating how you can benefit the employer, not on how the employer can benefit you.
It’s easy to write a bad resume objective. It’s a part of the resume that many people struggle with because it’s easy to slip into vague and conventional statements (“team player and detail-oriented”) instead of making your resume’s objective clear and concrete. If you choose to include one, it’s important that you know how to write a resume objective. To write an objective that is objectively good, follow the advice above, and you’ll write an excellent resume that’s ready for the competitive job market.
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