Perfecting the resume objective: know-how, tips, and examples
A recent study by TheLadders has shown that recruiters spend around 6 seconds looking at the resume for the first time. If you want to make it past these seconds and into the ‘yes’ pile, the first step would be writing an eye-grabbing resume objective statement that will make the recruiter want to know more about you.
What is a resume objective statement exactly?
It is a short, strong, targeted and straight-to-the-point description of your experience and why you are a perfect fit for the job. A well-written resume objective statement does several things at the same time: it positions you as the right candidate for the job in question, shows the employer you know what you want to do and clarifies your career direction. It is your own way of saying why the interviewer should keep on reading the resume. How you say it is crucial. We have selected examples, tips and advice on how to perfect and tailor your resume objective statement and get you closer to your dream job.
How do I know if my resume needs a resume objective statement?
A lot of job seekers ignore this resume part and decide to skip to the ‘important’ stuff. However, applying for a job today means competing with around 250 other candidates if we are talking about large companies. The resume objective statement can help you stand out among those. If you are still hesitant about including a resume objective into your CV, ask yourself the following questions:
- Are you applying for a specific job where I need to customize my CV?
- Do you feel like maybe you are lacking some experience or education for this specific position?
- Do you need to elaborate on some career gaps or industry changes?
If you have answered « Yes » to at least one of these questions, chances are, you need a resume objective statement.
Tips on writing a good resume objective
If you want to know how to write a good objective for a resume, read our detailed guide to learn more how to impress hiring managers and express your goals.
Where do I begin?
Usually, the resume objective statement appears right after your name and your contact details. It is the first thing the employer sees, hence the crucial importance of tailoring and perfecting your resume objective statement for every position you apply for.
Don’t use the same resume objective for all the jobs you are applying for. This part of your CV has to be customized for every single job application. Remember, this is your way of telling the recruiter that you know why you sent in your CV for this position. Recruiters and companies see hundreds of CVs on a daily basis and they will quickly figure out whether you dedicated enough time to personalizing your resume objective (aka made them feel special) or whether you just sent out the same resume everywhere.
The tactics and the know-how of writing resume objectives have changed in the last decade. Today it is more about the employer’s needs and not yours. Your resume objective statement is how you show the recruiter you have what he wants in a way that he can’t ignore.
Ideally, a resume objective statement would consist of three parts:
- Your strong trait
- Position you are applying for
- Your added value to the company
While writing your resume objective, always ask yourself the question: «How can I fulfill the needs of the company?»
- Marketing professional with 6 years of experience with excellent leadership skills. Aiming to effectively use my proven communication, creative and technology skills to fill the position of (Position Name) at (Company Name).
The first example is very clear, effective and answers the main question for the recruiter – how will this person fit into the company. The second example, on the other hand, doesn’t give anything but some vague generic information that doesn’t give the employer a lot of information on how this candidate is different from the other potential recruits.
If you can, use numbers. The more impressive they are, the better! Examples such as ‘team of 50 people’, ‘events for 100+ guests’, ‘300 articles in a year’ are great to show the interviewer your experience.
Why is it so important to be specific and precise when writing a resume objective statement?
It is very hard to be objective towards oneself while writing a resume. We all want to not sell ourselves short and make the recruiter see the best sides of us. However, recruiters, companies and interviewers know it already and they are well aware that your resume is not where you are going to disclose your flaws. If your resume objective is not specific regarding a) your experience b) your skills c) your potential added value to the company, it becomes very boring to read and it may look like you simply had nothing to say about yourself.
The more details you give on your resume objective, the better – it lets the person reading your resume know that you did your homework, you know what you are talking about and that you might be a right fit.
Details can help you look like a desirable candidate for a job. Vague and general resume objectives can play the exact opposite role where you look like someone who isn’t exactly sure what he’s looking for and is trying to fit in everywhere.
Don’t use personal pronouns. Instead of ‘I have 10 years of experience’, say ‘With 10 years of experience’. Not only will it help you save some space for other important information but it also looks more professional.
- Content manager with 10 years of experience of working at non-profit organizations and supervising a team of 20 writers. Aiming to use my writing and managing skills to effectively manage the (Project Name) project at (Company Name).
Even though the second example gives the interviewer a decent amount of information, it looks less professional than the first one. Also, even though your resume is all about you, the more you avoid sounding like « me, me, me », the better! Remember, your resume objective statement is about what the company wants and how you can make that wish come true.
How do I make sure the interviewer pays attention to my resume objective?
There is no way to give a 100% guarantee that your resume will attract the employer’s attention. However, there is a way to get closer to it and the answer is keywords.
Make sure you use several keywords from the job description in your resume objective. Go through the ad several times and use the words that are coherent with your education, experience, skills and added value to the company.
While the interviewer is scanning your resume, he will be looking for the keywords that correspond with the job description. If the right words appear on your resume in the first place, right after your contact details, he will want to go into more detail and see how you are an exact fit for the position.
Don’t simply copy-paste parts of the job description with the right keywords into your resume objective. The person reading your CV probably knows these words and phrases by heart. Instead, tailor them in accordance with your job application.
What are the different resume objective examples for different situations?
Every job seeker is unique, with his own qualities, skills, experience and motivation. There are a few rules to take into account when writing a resume objective and these rules depend on your situation. A resume objective will be totally different for a young graduate and someone with a few years of experience. If you adapt your resume objective to your particular situation, you can use it as a tool in order to highlight your assets as a candidate.
I’m a total beginner, how do I write an entry-level resume objective?
Writing an effective resume objective is crucial for those new at the job market. This is how you’ll be able to make a difference among other graduates with the same small amount of experience when you are applying for your first job or an internship.
The good thing is that the employer already knows this is an entry-level position you are applying for and he doesn’t require years of experience from you. What he needs, on the other hand, is a list of proven qualities and skills that will make him sure you are the one who can get this job done.
Your resume objective should also consist of three parts:
- Your strongest skills and abilities
- The position you are applying for
- How your skills and abilities will benefit the company
Instead of focusing on the little (none) experience that you have, focus on how your skills and traits will be a great asset to the company.
- Dedicated and hard-working journalism graduate (GPA 3.5/4.0) with a passion for new technologies looking for an entry-level position as a content editor with (Company Name) where I can apply my education and excellent knowledge of current editorial trends.
Even though in both cases the candidate doesn’t have years of experience, the first example shows how the qualities and interests acquired throughout the studies can benefit the company. In the second example the resume objective is very generic and highlights neither the company, nor the candidate’s skills.
Don’t hesitate to go through your school / college activities in order to better show your skills. For example, participation in different clubs can emphasize your social skills while being a part of a theatre group shows that you are good with public speaking.
When applying for an entry-level job or an internship right out of college, in your resume objective you should focus on what you have. Use strong action words to describe your skills and motivation in order to attract the employer’s attention. Show that you are the young fresh blood the company desperately needs. You will have years ahead of you to impress employers with your experience. Use your youth, motivation and ability to learn any new skill from scratch as your main asset in the resume objective.
I’m in the midst of a huge career change, how do I make it sound right in my resume objective statement?
The industries are constantly evolving and these days there are more and more job opportunities in the fields we have never heard of. For instance, word combinations such as “community manager” or “online content creator” didn’t even exist in the job seekers’ language and today these are some of the most popular titles on the resumes of the candidates. This is why a career change is absolutely normal these days and if you explain it the right way, it is only an asset, not a liability. A resume objective is highly recommended for those who are willing to make a change in their careers. There are a few things to take into account when you expand upon this change in the resume objective statement.
First of all, take a look at your transferable skills and abilities that can be applied to different career fields. Organization, good management skills, capacity to meet deadlines, excellent communication skills, experience in public speaking: there are dozens of transferrable skills that can apply to various, sometimes even opposite fields. Show how your experience in the previous industry can work in your favor in the new one.
In case of a career change, the resume objective statement also should consist of three parts:
- Who exactly you are, your experience and background
- What position you are applying for
- How your previously acquired skills will benefit this company and help you
- Accomplished salesperson with 10 years of experience looking to leverage my communication skills and expertise in the travel industry into a public relations role with the (Company Name).
The future employer has to see your potential career change as an upgrade for you and not a way to escape from your previous boring / hated job. No matter what the motivation behind your career change is, your past is an asset to the company, not a nightmare you are running away from. In the first example, the candidate shows how his experience in the sales industry can benefit him in the communications department. The second example simply shows a desire for a career change, which is totally legal and not forbidden of course but should be explained in a better way on a resume.
Even if you are switching in between two completely unrelated fields, there is a way to transcribe it on a resume. Be specific and straight to the point. Outline your past, your experience and show how it can benefit your future in the company.
Don’t make it sound like you are justifying or trying too hard to explain a career change in your resume objective statement. Employers will sense the slightest hesitation in your tone and nobody wants an indecisive employee.
I’m a professional. Do I really need an objective for my resume?
Some may argue that the times of writing a resume objective when you are a professional are gone and the best is to dive into your experience and skills. There aren’t any strict and completely black and white rules when it comes to resume writing. Do what works for you and do whatever it takes to get the interview – a properly written resume objective might just be it.
When writing a resume objective as a professional applying for a specific position, it helps to break down the statement into three following parts:
- Your experience – years and duties combined
- Your qualities that will help you fulfill a specific job
- How you will apply these qualities and experience in the company
Make the interviewer interested in you right away by showing him that you are the ideal candidate for the job. You will need to be sharp and specific. Finding a resume of a candidate who knows what the company wants and who is willing to get the job done is like a breath of fresh air among hundreds of generic wordings.
Taking the time to customize your resume objective for a specific job offer will let the interviewer see that you took the time to prepare and that you are sure you are the perfect fit for the job. Always tailor your resume objective for each and every position, otherwise, it can look like you are playing the lottery by sending generic CVs all over the place.
Don’t hesitate to intrigue the reader. Make him want to go through your resume for more information.
Example: Multilingual journalist with 8 years of experience in writing, editing, and content creation. Aiming to use my proven business storytelling and strong vocabulary skills to benefit the content department in (Company Name).
This detailed example tells the company everything they need to know about the applicant – experience, skills, strengths, and interest in the specific job. The “multilingual” part is the intriguing one – it makes the interviewer go through the resume to check out which languages exactly does the candidate speak.
Writing a perfect resume objective when you are a professional who knows what he wants may become a turning point in your job search. Hiring managers and recruiters don’t have time to look for your career goals, especially in big companies. By tailoring the statement you make the job easier. Let the recruiter know your resume is in the right place.
More resume objective writing tips for all the job seekers out there
Experiences and background may vary but there are some rules that apply to all the levels. We have summarized the most common tips than any job seeker can use in their resume objective.
- Don’t hesitate to use the word ‘proven’ when talking about your experience and skills – that usually means you are ready to give more details on your skill either further in the resume or during the interview.
- Mention any relevant degrees, certificates or licenses.
- Use keywords from the job description in your resume objective statement.
- Keep it short, to the point and target one specific job at a time.
- Always keep the employer’s interest in mind and put it first.
- If you are targeting a particular job, you can reference the job opening in your resume objective.
- Be clear about your goals and how they can benefit the company.
- Show how you add value to the company with specific examples. Almost all the candidates out there are goal-oriented, motivated and hard-working. Make the company see you, how you are different from the other resumes they receive and what you can bring to the table.
Most common mistakes encountered in resume objective statements and how to avoid them
We have selected the most common mistakes the job seekers make in their resume objective statements.
- Making it too long. 2-3 sentences are more than enough to make your point, your resume will tell the rest about you.
- Being vague and generic. It will only make your resume blend in among other job seekers.
- Being boring. Using sharp action words shows character, motivation and dedication.
- It may be tempting to try to be very original in your resume objective statement because it is getting harder and harder to stand out among other applicants with all the possibilities available today. However, it is best not to start your resume with a joke, a quote or a pun, even if it’s a cleverly thought out one. Save your wit and wordplay for the actual interview and keep it professional in your CV.
- Focusing on what you need and how you’ll benefit from the job. First focus on how you can serve the company.
- Every company already knows they are great, unique and this is why you are applying for a job there. Don’t flatter the company in the resume objective. There is no need to say: “I would love to work in an amazing game-changing one-of-a-kind company as XXX”.
- Resume objective does not replace a cover letter or a resume summary. These are not interchangeable.
- Using complicated and pretentious words. Resume objective has to be simple and straightforward.
Good resume objectives are always a plus!
A resume objective statement is a smart balance in between your goals and experience and how you can help the company achieve its goals. It is always better to add a resume objective than not to add one. Some may argue that resume objective are for amateurs – they are if written poorly. If crafted correctly, resume objectives are always an asset for your resume because they give the interviewer quick access to the main information.