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How to write a great objective statement on a resume

Updated on February 23, 2014

Resume objectives

If you are looking for a job, you may wonder, how you can make your resume stand out in the crowd and increase your chances of getting a job interview? One way is through the objective on a resume. It's one of the the first pieces of text a recruiter will read when he/she is skimming or scanning your application.

Remember, each day, recruiters and hiring managers can receive hundreds of resumes. The pile of resumes quickly grows to several inches thick. You can imagine that skimming through the pile is a daunting task. I have done it myself, and it taught me a lot about what goes through the mind of someone who has to view your resume. Trust me when I tell that the attention anyone gives to your information decreases with each resume he/she flips through. It's easy to become like a machine after the first 10, and start mechanically sorting--unless there's something that attracts attention, for example the Employment Objective.

Use a specific Job Title

Having a specific job title as a resume objective can be a good idea, especially if you are in a field where the job titles are fairly specific. A job title will catch the screener's eye quickly. When I had the opportunity once to screen resumes (300 came in for a co-instructor position), I noticed three types of job applicants based on the objective they included: Those who were directly qualified, those who may have had transferable skills and those who absolutely did not qualify for the job.

After a while, the mind naturally sorts and selects, so, I immediately discarded those who did not qualify because of the job title. Those who presented as having had the requirements, especially those with a specific job title got MY attention quickly. Those who were in the middle (they might have had trasferable skills) did not. It's true what they say about only having about 10 seconds to get the reader's attention.

What worked was a bolded precise job title at the top of the resume. Here are some examples of specific employment goals.

  • Junior programmer
  • C++/Java programmer
  • PR Strategist
  • Administrative assistant
  • IT Project Manager
  • English instructor
  • Social Media Manager
  • Content Editor
  • Medical receptionist
  • Dental hygienist

Learn the language of your field and the common titles that may be used for your field. In the graduate studies in distance education that I just completed, various titles for possible occupations have emerged in my field: Instructional Designer, E-learning specialist, and Curriculum developer.

Avoid being vague

Vagueness is your enemy on a resume. Consider the following faulty resume objectives:

A position in a progressive organization

  • Entry level job
  • To get more experience
  • To secure a fulfilling position

Do you know what kind of job these employment seekers are looking for? No one would. These objectives are somewhat general. The reader will stop reading. Remember, you only have a few seconds to get the reader's attention. Even if the resume is being optically scanned, a lack of keywords including in the objective will send you to the bottom of the pile or the database!

Your objective on a resume: Avoid grandiose or self-centred statements

There's nothing worse than a grandiose or self-centred objective on a resume. On any employment search document, your focus must be on the reader (the employer) and not on yourself. Avoid such phrases as

  • To get a high paying job with good benefits
  • To get a position where I can advance (you may want that, but perhaps saying that you want opportunities to learn, grow, and expand responsibilities while increasing the company's bottum line might be better might be a better way to put it).
  • To become president of the company

New Style-branding statement

I was at a webinar yesterday where the presenter mentioned that the old style of including a skill cluster with your objective is out. Now-a-days people need a succinct 'branding' statement to go with their Job objective. That's a crisp statement of your unique 'value ad'. (another topic for another hub). The Job title, will get the recruiter's attention, especially if the company is hiring for that position. For more on branding statements see the video and the link below.

Objectives, summaries and branding statements

To sum up

Make it easy for any recruiter or resume reader to spot your resume. Target your application, use a specific job title, focused on the employer's needs.


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