The Best Resume Objectives: Complete 2022 Guide
By Gabriela Hernandez | Last Update: 06/04/2021
- Featured In:
A resume objective is the first impression an employer has of you when reviewing your resume. If you want to wow employers, learn how to write this crucial section with the help of our how-to guide, tips and resume objective examples.
What is a Resume Career Objective?
Enthusiastic and charismatic high school graduate eager to develop my sales and management skills as a sales associate in a challenging retail environment. Class president and president of NHS experienced in event planning, logistics, teamwork, and delegating. Excellent interpersonal and communication skills.
Applicant's job title/academic status
Position to which you're applying
Professional goals within the company
Professional skills or relevant experience
The career objective is a key resume section at the top of your resume that summarizes your best professional accomplishments and goals. As the name suggests, you should first establish what you hope to accomplish in the role you’re applying for in this resume section.
A well-written resume objective helps to personalize your resume, create connections between your qualifications and the needs of an open job, and directly appeals to hiring managers by showing you have the skills they’re looking for.
The resume objective accomplishes this by doing the following:
- Explaining what you hope to learn or accomplish if employed by the hiring manager.
- Specifying how a professional relationship with the company helps you gain that knowledge.
- Sharing how you can help the company by gaining this learning opportunity.
Although career objectives have fallen out of style in favor of summary statements, they can still be used and are favorable to certain types of candidates, especially those fresh out of school or career changers. If you haven’t written a resume before or it’s been too long since you updated yours, our Resume Builder is a great tool that guides you through every step of the process and even offers advice on what to write in each section.
We’ll teach you whether your unique job search needs require a resume objective, how to decide if an objective is suitable for your resume, and how to write an interview-winning statement in this writing guide.
Should I Use a Resume Objective?
When writing your resume, you will first need to introduce yourself by listing the most important information the employer needs to know about you. You can introduce yourself either with a resume career objective or a summary statement. How can you decide which one to use?
A career objective can help you tackle potential “red flags” in your resume that shouldn’t go unaddressed. For example, a college graduate with no previous formal experience can seem like a less desirable candidate than someone who already has a couple of years of experience. However, a career objective can frame a negative into a positive since it:
- Acknowledges the “red flag” from the get-go.
- Counters the “red flag” with a wide range of skills.
- Avoids the recruiter assuming the reason for your lack of experience or qualifications.
A summary statement also compiles all your best qualities, skills and experience while focusing on fulfilling the employer’s professional requirements. Summary statements are much more tailored to the employer’s needs, whereas an objective focuses on the applicant’s needs or ambitions.
Prioritizes informing employers of your career goals to better understand your reasons for applying, especially if you lack specific qualifications or experience.
Educator with 10+ years of experience in pre-K, elementary, and middle school grades looking to reenter the workforce as an elementary teacher after homeschooling children. Adept at all school subjects with specialization in math and sciences.
States how the applicant’s skills and experience are the ideal fit for the role and how they can fulfill the company’s needs; it focuses on meeting the employer’s expectations.
Energetic middle school teacher with 6 years of experience in mathematics and science education. Proven skills in integrated learning, technology skills, Microsoft Teams, and remote learning.
Although we recommend that you write a summary statement rather than a resume objective, there are a few job-seeking instances when an objective statement helps you.
You can include a resume objective if you’re a recent graduate, changing careers, relocating or reentering the workplace. Each of these career circumstances can seem like a hiring red flag without the proper context. We’ll explain how to provide the correct context and demonstrate strong examples below.
1. Entry-level employees
As someone freshly entering the workforce, it’s OK to have little to no formal experience. However, you probably have a plethora of acquired skills and knowledge from internships, volunteer work, and education. A resume objective is perfect for you because it allows you to do the following:
- Contextualize your informal experiences for the open job.
- Outline how you hope to grow and develop your professional experience within a role.
2. Career changer
Changing your career can look like a red flag without the proper context. Hiring managers might wonder if your previous experience applies to the open job or if training or onboarding you will be a lengthier process than a similarly skilled candidate with relevant experience. Here’s why an objective statement helps you more than a summary statement in this instance. You can:
- Explain your interests in the job and your reasons for applying.
- Contextualize your previous experience concerning the open position’s requirements.
- Explain how your seemingly unrelated expertise can fill the needs of the position.
3. Reentering the workforce
Resume writers, career coaches and hiring managers might warn you to avoid significant gaps between employment. But there can be so many reasons to leave the workforce temporarily; raising children, caring for a family member, pursuing a new degree, or a time-extensive career training program. A resume objective helps you:
- Explain work gaps and your reason for reentering the workforce.
- Contextualize the skills you developed away from the workforce for this new job.
Although there’s been a recent rise in remote working, most hiring managers still suffer from an unconscious distance bias and prefer to hire nearby job seekers. A resume objective can help you avoid getting disqualified from consideration by doing the following:
- Explain why you are relocating.
- Assure the hiring manager that you’re applying to the open job due to a prearranged move and plan to live near this potential place of employment.
- Refocus the conversation and hiring direction on your achievements rather than your current location.
5. High school graduate
If you recently graduated from high school, a resume objective statement can benefit you as much as it would a new entrant to the workforce. Although you may have some after-school work experience, it may seem small compared to your informal experience, volunteer work, and school work. A resume objective can help:
- Refocus the resume on your community service, after-school and casual experience like babysitting or school club participation.
- Contextualize the skills you developed in school like research, organization, and time management for an open job opportunity’s requirements.
6. College graduate
If you recently graduated from college, you might have a lot of relevant experience from your classes, internships, requirements and extracurricular activities linked to campus organizations, as well as some formal work experience. A resume objective can help you play up those experiences and align your qualifications with the open job requirements by:
- Drawing attention to internships and practical, work-related coursework.
- Contextualizing skills developed through organizations like your campus newspaper, farming club, student political groups or Greek life.
If you need help figuring what type of skills and experience you need to include in your resume objective for your desired role, you can take advantage of our Resume Builder’s job-specific pre-written content. Our builder will suggest commonly required skills and experiences you can select and edit to fit your profile when writing your career objective.
How to Write a Resume Objective
If you decide that a resume objective is suitable for your resume, it’s time to dive in. We’ll show you the difference between poorly- and well-written resume objectives, and explain where each version succeeded or failed to impress a hiring manager. We’ll also give you some helpful advice on properly writing a clear and interview-winning resume objective.
These resume objectives were written for a recent high school graduate applying to their first sales associate position. They have some sales and customer service experience from fundraising events and properly showcase this in their opening statement.
A poor example
Why is this a poorly written example? The hiring manager doesn’t learn anything new or beneficial about you.
- This job seeker says they’re looking for a new job. The hiring manager can safely assume this since the person is applying for a different position.
- The job seeker says they want to perfect their customer service and money management skills, which the hiring manager can infer based on generic sales associate job descriptions.
- The job seeker doesn’t outline how their existing skills can transfer to the new job. The hiring manager doesn’t see an apparent reason to hire this person.
An excellent example
Why is this a well-written example? The hiring manager learns quite a bit about this job seeker.
- The job seeker recently graduated and is interested in the entry-level position.
- The job seeker has a specific number of years of experience in job-related skills and will need less training than an inexperienced candidate.
- The job seeker understands their limitations and expresses eagerness to grow and learn on the job.
Now that you’ve analyzed these two career objective examples let’s explore the following tips that will guide you through every sentence of your objective and help you maximize each piece of information.
1. Break down your paragraph into sentences.
First sentence: Introduce yourself and the reason why a resume red flag (career gaps, career change or lack of formal experience) works in both your and the hiring manager’s favor. For example, explain how taking a break between jobs to care for a family member resulted in relevant personal experience or how you recently graduated with appropriate academic experience gained in a lab or research class.
Second sentence: Establish your desired role and your goals within the company. Keep these realistic and tied to actions you can achieve within the company. Sharing career ambitions that span beyond the company’s range will make it seem like you’re not focused on the open position.
Third sentence: End strong and relate your seemingly unrelated experience to the job requirements by using quantifiable metrics. For example, suppose you organized medical appointments and dietary schedules for an ailing family member. In that case, you can note the percentage of times you arrived at appointments on time, how many alternate routes you planned in case of last-minute delays, or how someone’s health visibly improved once you implemented a new diet for the client. You can find additional advice on incorporating these metrics in the advice below.
2. Use job advertisement keywords.
Most companies rely on applicant tracking systems (ATS) to screen resumes and help whittle down the pool of applicants. ATS can eliminate as many as half of the resumes it filters, so it’s essential to use resume keywords. These keywords are scattered throughout the job advertisement –– you can identify these by scanning the ad for repeated duties and responsibilities that are emphasized in bold font or bulleted lists or for any tasks labeled as critical.
It’s crucial to use these keywords organically in both your resume objective and throughout your resume. We’ll teach you how to write a tailored objective for the following sample cashier job ad, using the keywords we identified in bold print.
“Family-owned pharmacy is hiring Cashiers in Los Angeles, CA.
Pharmacy offers a full range of benefits including medical, dental, vision, 401(k), paid time off.
Cashier daily tasks include: operating a cash register, collecting customer payments, bagging merchandise and maintaining the checkout area.
Experience is not required for this Cashier position.
Get started with your Cashier application today!”
3. Personalize your objective for the job you want.
A resume objective is also your opportunity to share your interests and professional passions. Your resume will summarize your skills, education and experience, but this section is your only chance to write about why you’re applying to this job and let your personality shine through. You can talk about relevant hobbies, why you grew interested in that hobby, and how you can apply those learned skills to the open job.
4. Add quantifiable contributions.
Focus on how you can help the company. You can best do this by defining how successful your related experience was. For example, suppose you’re interested in a job related to data analysis. In that case, you can detail well-graded projects from your introduction to data or advanced data analytics courses and your process for inspecting, cleaning and modeling the data.
5. Include job-related certifications.
Regardless of your reason for writing a resume objective statement, you probably have plenty of related experience that can benefit both you and a hiring manager. You must highlight those skills in this section, as you don’t want to make the hiring manager dig for it in your resume and risk missing it. Here are some job-related certifications that you can feature in this section.
- Specialized degrees
- Relevant coursework
6. Express your ties with the company.
Your connection to a company or genuine interest in a company’s ethical, cultural or financial goals can be equally important to landing a job interview as your skills and experience. If you’re interested in contributing to the growth or success of a company based on these reasons, you should mention it in your resume objective. Hiring managers can detect genuine interest and passion, which can be good for you if the company in question truly believes in its mission.
You can find examples like the ones in this guide on our Resume Builder. All you need to do is type in your desired job title and fill in some personal data regarding your years of experience, and our builder will automatically come up with a personalized resume objective. Always make sure to go in and personalize it even more with exact skills, degrees, experience and qualifications. For more resume resources check out these free resume templates..
Resume Objective Examples by Job Type
Browse the following resume examples categorized by job title to see real-life examples of job-specific career objectives. By using our Resume Builder, you can get personalized suggestions for your career objective, as well as for the rest of your resume sections.
Customer Service Representative
How long should the resume objective be?
Your resume objective must be informative but brief. Ideally, this is a two- to three-sentence statement outlining your professional goals, experience and relevant skills. We know it’s tempting to flesh out this section and include additional details, but your resume objective is just one section of your resume. Keep it brief.
What are common mistakes when writing a resume objective?
Here are a few common mistakes that you can make while writing your resume’s objective statement.
- Focusing too much on yourself: The original intent of a resume objective was to indicate your needs, expectations and requirements from the job. However, it evolved with modern resume-writing practices and now looks at your potential employment partnership with the hiring manager and company. Your resume objective should focus on what both you and the company can gain from hiring you.
- Using weak action verbs: Take a proactive approach and avoid the passive voice or weak action verbs. You didn’t “help organize sporadic sales events,” you “organized monthly sales events that increased profit margins by 17%.” You need to be honest on your resume, but it’s OK to hype your skills and assert your value.
- Using a resume objective instead of a summary statement:We mentioned that a resume objective is best for entry-level workers, recent grads, career changers and reentries to the workforce. If you’re not one of these job seekers, you’re much better off using a summary statement that lets you highlight your career success. Learn how to tackle that resume tool in our resume-writing guide. resume-writing guide.
Does a resume need an objective?
Whether or not you decide if a resume objective suits your current job-seeking needs, your resume needs a statement near the top of the page. This brief paragraph is your opportunity to add personality to this document. Think of it as a written elevator pitch — your resume objective or summary statement introduces your character, while your work experience and skills sections outline your accomplishments.
What can I put on my resume instead of an objective?
We’ve mentioned the resume objective’s modern sibling, the summary statement, before. If you’re not a fresh graduate, a new worker, changing careers or reentering the workplace, we strongly recommend that you write a summary statement on your resume. Unlike the objective statement, which answers how both you and the hiring manager benefit from employing you, a summary statement does the following:
- Explains how you fit the exact needs of the open position.
- Relates experience, skills and professional achievements to the open position.
- Associates your past accomplishments to the future success of the company.
We cover how to write an appealing and convincing summary statement in our resume-writing guide.
Rate our Templates