How to Write a Resume Objective

The objective of a resume: To get a job as soon as possible for as much pay as possible.

A resume objective: Statements that align your skills and career direction with an employer’s goals. Every employer is different and therefore every resume should have a unique objective.
- Phil Baker

Resume writing for many people is: Sitting and staring at a blank screen or resume template knowing that the decisions made here could land you a dream job or have you applying for an extension for unemployment benefits!

The first challenge in resume writing is usually creating the ‘objective.’  In order to discover how to write a resume objective  start with the definition of the word: What does the word objective mean? Your objective is your goal or purpose. That’s easy enough. Every resume I have written has had the same objective as quoted above:

“To get a job as soon as possible for as much pay as possible.”

That’s fine, unless an employer happens to read your resume objective. So what should you say?

Who are the Real Resume Writing Experts?

While there seems to be plenty of information floating around about resume writing, how do you know what to believe? Some of the information is even contradictory. For instance, I found one website that stated the objective is the most important part of resume writing and within two minutes read on another site that the objective should be omitted altogether. Who is right?

There are people who know more about resume writing than others. I tend to put more stock in Human Resource personnel and former HR employees than many of the web writers. Yet before I declare anyone including myself as the God of resume writing maybe we should look closer at the objective.

Resume Writing: What is the Objective?

What is the resume objective? Usually a statement made at the top or beginning of a resume by the candidate about what they want. Let’s take a step back – what is a resume? Your resume is an advertisement about you for an employer.

I have asked numerous employers and human resource employees what the least important part of a resume is, and they almost unanimously and without hesitation answer, “the objective.” This is because most resume objectives are written from the job candidate’s desires and perspective.

Who Cares?!

Think about this: In most resume formats, the objective gets top billing, listed first in the most important position on the page. This sends the message that the candidate’s own interest is the first consideration by the sheer definition of the word “objective” and the position. The candidate then has to backpedal to create a statement that offers conjectured contribution and a pledge of loyalty to an unfamiliar prospective employer. This is absurd.

I ask you, would you rush to buy a car from a dealer with an advertisement for that started like this:

“Our goal is to sell as many cars as possible while providing reliable transportation to the masses.”

When you read that do you think what most everyone does: “Who Cares?”

That is exactly what most employers think when they read the average objective on a resume.

Employers are trying to hire you for the future. Employers often cannot match your past with their future goals from your resume. Why is that so hard? Because a resume contains only a small amount of information and your objective is likely contrary and at best speculative.

How can your objective possibly match anything an unknown employer is planning? The odds are not good. The very best anyone can do is write an objective from the limited information about the position, which has usually come from an ad or second hand.

In addition, most objectives are written before a candidate even knows where the resume is going. The objective is then generally if not exactly the same on most resumes.

Hot Tip: An objective that does not seem to match the company’s direction or the interviewer’s perception of that direction can eliminate your resume.

How to Write a Resume Objective In Five Steps That Impresses Employers

This is an exciting method to get you in the right frame of mind to create a resume objective that impresses employers. Allow an hour or two first the time you follow these steps.

STEP ONE: Align Your Mind: The mere definition of the word objective is “goal” and what is just as important here is who’s goal you are going to write about. A resume objective is about aligning your skills and career direction with an employer’s goals. Learn everything you can about the target employer where you are sending your resume and before you write anything.

STEP TWO: After you complete your research write down in your own words what you believe to be the employer’s goals.

STEP THREE: Then in your own words write what you believe the employer goals would be for your area of expertise and the department where you would work.

STEP FOUR: Now review what you have written and write a statement of what you believe would be the employer’s goals for a person they would hire for the open position. Begin your statement with the words: “To hire a candidate…” Then you can use words from your previous work in steps two and three and from the company mission statement.

Company Mission Statement Example:
“To be first in the market place by providing superior product value as a leader of innovation.”

After your research and completing steps three and four you might write something like this:

Employer Objective Example:

To hire a candidate with strong accounting and organizational skills that can help us achieve superior product value with cutting edge innovation.

STEP FIVE: Now adjust your statement for your resume.

Resume Objective Example:

Seeking opportunity to dedicate strong accounting and organizational skills with unwavering optimism to help achieve superior product value with cutting edge innovation.

There you are. A statement that defines your skills in alignment with the employer’s goals in terms that are familiar to them.  You could elaborate with a second sentence about the future though that is not necessary..

So please keep in mind: How can you write an objective with the employer’s best interests and goals in mind if you have no idea what they are? You cannot. However you can find out what the employer goals are and align your career goals with their business goals. You can write an amazing resume objective with the Mirror Method. See the resume objective Mirror Method.

The Final Answer

Could you omit the objective from your resume altogether?

The answer is: drum roll……  YES - Objectives can be omitted.

Wow! We just eliminated a major resume writing stumbling block for most people and some work for you.

However, you might want to strongly consider this decision as there are some employers who want to see an objective and we often have no way of knowing which ones do and the employers who have no preference. This decision can even come down to the  preferences of one individual screening resumes in an HR department. To cover your bases if you are eliminating the objective replace that with a “Summary of Skills” section.

Also I suggest if you are going to eliminate the objective you invest the time and effort that you might have used writing an objective, into writing a better resume and cover letter. The cover letter is a place to  consider including an objective. However, that’s another subject.

Phil Baker
Resume Dictionary

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