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A well-written resume objective helps to personalize your resume, create connections between your qualifications and the needs of an open job, and directly appeal to hiring managers by showing you have the skills they’re looking for.
The resume objective accomplishes this by doing the following:
We’ll teach you whether your unique job search needs requires a resume objective, how to decide if an objective is right for your resume, and how to write an interview-winning statement in this writing guide.
Before we can teach you how to write a thoughtful and compelling resume objective, you need to decide if this is the right resume tool for you. Let’s delve briefly into the basic build of a resume for some context.
A standard resume in its most recognizable format, the chronological resume, consists of these five standard sections.
Other resume formats might shuffle the order or add additional sections, but every resume will always include these five building blocks. As you can see, you get to choose between writing a resume objective or a summary statement. Although they both exist near the top of the resume and make a personal appeal to hiring managers, these paragraphs use different tactics to bond with hiring managers and are not interchangeable. Let’s briefly compare the two and, if you decide a resume objective is the best statement for you, we’ll teach you how to write one with confidence.
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 re-entering 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.
As someone freshly entering the workforce, it’s OK to have little- to no-formal experience. However, you probably do have a plethora of acquired skills and knowledge from internships, volunteer work and your education. A resume objective is perfect for you because it allows you to do the following:
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:
Resume writers, career coaches and hiring managers might warn you to avoid large gaps between employment. But there can be so many reasons to temporarily leave the workforce; raising children, caring for a family member, pursuing a new degree or a time-extensive career training program. A resume objective helps you:
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:
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:
If you recently graduated from college, you might have a lot of relevant experience from your classes, internships 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:
If you decide that a resume objective is right for your resume, it’s time to dive in. We’ll show you the difference between poorly-, fairly-, 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.
Each of 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.
Why is this a poorly-written example? The hiring manager doesn’t learn anything new or beneficial about you.
Why is this a fairly-written example? The hiring manager learns a bit more about this candidate than was gleaned in the first example.
Why is this a well-written example? The hiring manager learns quite a bit about this job seeker.
First and foremost, your resume objective needs to be short, sweet and to the point. This paragraph segues into your work experience and skills sections in two- to three- sentences.
A resume objective is also your opportunity to share your personal 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.
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 screens, so it’s very important 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 important.
It’s important to organically use these keywords 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 post, using the keywords that 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!”
Focus on how you can help the company. You can best do this by defining how successful your related experience was. For example, if you’re interested in a job related to data analysis, 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.
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. It is very important that you 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.
Your personal 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, and this can be good for you if the company in question truly believes in its mission.
Your resume objective must be informative but brief. Ideally, this is a two- to three-sentence statement that outlines 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.
Here are a few common mistakes that you can make while writing your resume’s objective statement.
Whether or not you decide if a resume objective suits your current job-seeking needs, your resume absolutely 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 personality, while your work experience and skills sections outline your accomplishments.
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 re-entering 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.
Relates 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.