Should you use an objective in your resume?
Many employers say they don’t like Objectives, and they don’t even bother reading them because more often than not, they don’t include any interesting or helpful information. Objectives have traditionally contained information about what the candidate wants (a job, room for advancement, a chance to use a new college degree, etc). But what the employer really wants to know is what the candidate can do for the company.
Still, some people argue that it’s essential to know that your goals match the company’s needs, and they’re looking for that quick Objective statement right off the bat. You may want to consider using a more modern approach, such as a Tag Line and/or Skill Set.
Instead of an Objective, consider using a Tag Line: your professional title or the title of the job you’re targeting. This should, of course, be the same or very similar to the position for which you are applying. For example: Certified Public Accountant, Mechanical Engineer, Nurse Midwife, Customer Service Representative, Database Administrator, etc. You can use this in combination with a Skill Set and/or Qualifications section.
A Skill Set is a list of your core competencies as they relate to your targeted career goal. Use one or two words (not sentences) per skill. For example, a business student may have this skill set:
Marketing | Advertising | Sales | Event Planning | Public Relations
If you use an Objective, make it good:
- Keep it short. If you launch into a lengthy description of yourself and your hopes and dreams for your future, you’re going to lose the reader from the get-go. Use one or two sentences maximum.
- Don’t be generic. This is the first thing on your resume, so take advantage of the opportunity to sell yourself. To really stand out in the crowd, you should tailor your Objective to each new position for which you apply. Use the position description as a guide, and use the specific position and company name. When you customize your Objective, the hiring manager (or decision maker) sees instantly that you are a potential fit for the position and that you care enough about first impressions to go that extra step.
- Don’t make it all about you. Everyone wants good pay, a chance for advancement, and respect. This isn’t the place to talk about that. The employer’s main concern is what you can do for them. Your objective needs to meet their needs. Mention the #1 way you can contribute.
- Make sure it’s true. If your Objective says you’re looking for a full-time job and you’re applying for a part-time internship, you will likely be disqualified immediately.
A general formula you can use is: “To apply my _____ skills as a _____ at _____.” Here are some examples:
- To apply my strong analytical and organizational skills as an Administrative Support Intern at XYZ Corporation.
- To find a position as a Java Software Intern developing n-tier applications.
- Seeking an Advertising internship at XYZ Corporation which allows me to expand my current abilities and contribute to XYZ’s mission of worldwide environmental sustainability.
If you’re writing a general resume for posting online or distributing at a career fair, you can use a more general Objective, such as:
Seeking a full-time position that will utilize my outstanding communication skills and years of experience in sales and computers.