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How to Write an Objective for a Resume

How to Write an Objective for a Resume

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Writing a resume can be a difficult task, especially if you’re applying for your first job and have never written one before. Opting to include a resume objective is increasingly popular – but what exactly is it and how can it help you clinch the job?

This article will show you how to write an effective resume objective, with errors to avoid and some CV objective examples to guide you.

How to Write an Objective for a Resume
How to Write an Objective for a Resume

What Is a Resume Objective?

A resume objective, also called a career objective, is a statement that declares your employment goals, including where you intend to be at the end of your career and what you aspire to professionally.

Usually located at the top of your resume as a focal point, the career objective is composed of a few sentences and summarizes your professional and working priorities, as well as painting a picture of the kind of person you are.

Using a resume objective is all well and good, but it won’t benefit your professional advancement unless the objective is effective and relevant to the role applied for. An effective resume objective will:

  • Introduce what you are looking for professionally, and cover the type of career that you aspire to.

  • Include the skills and qualities that will make you successful within this particular field.

All of these things should be expressed in a succinct way, further adding to their effectiveness.

Stating your goals through an objective for CV is optional, of course, but doing so gives your potential employers the impression that you are fully aware of them and want to achieve them.

When Should You Include a Resume Objective?

While some believe that a resume objective might be outdated, there are specific instances where its inclusion can enhance your resume and convey your ambition. Here are some scenarios where a resume objective can offer added clarity:

Entering the Job Market for the First Time

For newcomers to the job world, a resume objective can demonstrate ambition and aspiration for growth. It's an opportunity to show your potential employer your drive, even if your experience might be limited.

Making a Career Change

A resume objective is particularly beneficial when shifting careers. If your previous roles don't align perfectly with the new position, the objective can communicate other relevant skills, making you an attractive candidate. It's a subtle yet powerful way to emphasize that your skills are pertinent to the new role.

Differentiating Yourself in a Field of Experienced Candidates

For those with vast experience, a resume objective can help set you apart. It allows you to showcase additional skills and talents, giving employers insight into what makes you unique compared to other applicants.

By strategically placing a CV Objective in these situations, you not only present your professional journey more clearly but also showcase your proactive approach towards the role in question.

How a Resume Objective Statement Differs With Experience

If you don’t have professional experience, landing a job can be difficult. Applications for entry-level positions should be focused toward your personal traits, emphasizing your work ethic and relevant qualities that fit well with the job description.

You can do this by discussing your strongest assets, such as your GPA or your ability to lead a team (perhaps you were captain of a sports team or led another extra-curricular activity). You should also emphasize your reliability and any other appropriate skills.

It goes without saying: you should only mention skills that can be demonstrated by your experience.

What Should You Think About Beforehand?

Every job you apply for should be tailored to suit that job role – there is no use in sending the same application to multiple companies, with no variation in the information you provide.

One of the first things you should consider when applying for any position is what the employer is looking for in their future employee. If you know that a company is looking for someone who is proactive, then your resume should focus on that. Arguably, a good place to do this is in your resume objective.

Some candidates find themselves spending too much time discussing what they want to do in the future, as opposed to giving the company an idea of what they have to offer. Highlighting the value you could bring to the company is much more advantageous than focusing on your future aspirations.

When considering how to write your resume for a particular position, consider the use of appropriate, relevant keywords. Using keywords from the job listing within your resume shows that not only have you read the brief thoroughly, but you have the skills desired. Use your resume objective to highlight examples of how you have used these skills in the past; then apply them to the job requirements.

While expressing your career goals in your resume objective is recommended, it is also important to make sure that your goals lie within the reach of the company. Focusing on how you want to grow within the company you are applying for is a good way of showing your ambition and potential loyalty.

How to Write an Objective for a Resume

To write a resume objective, your career objective should create a lasting initial impact. To achieve this, follow these steps:

Keep It Short

Objective for CV ought to be concise, ideally spanning only a couple of sentences. Place it at the beginning of your CV under an appropriate heading to ensure its prominence. This prevents a scenario where a recruiter dismisses an application based solely on the initial few lines. Grammar and construction of the objective are paramount, so make sure it's well-structured and grammatically sound.

Make It Specific

Tailor your career objective uniquely for every role you're vying for. Incorporate keywords from the job description when crafting your objective for CV. This immediate customization assures the employer of your suitability for the position. Generic statements can be off-putting, so always ensure relevance.

Mention Relevant Experience or Achievements

If you have a decade's experience in a particular domain, highlight it in your career objective. Similarly, if you've achieved notable milestones like improving a key metric by a significant percentage, spotlight it. This demonstrates your capability and potential value to the prospective employer.

Explain How You’ll Benefit the Company

The core of your objective for CV is to convince the recruiter of the value you'd bring. Harness your proven skills, accomplishments, and experiences as evidence. Expand on these later in your CV, illustrating how you've applied them in previous roles. This approach not only underscores your aptitude but also persuades the employer to delve deeper into your CV.

How to Write an Objective for a Resume
How to Write an Objective for a Resume

Common Errors When Writing a Resume Objective

1. Using the Same One for Every Job You Apply For

Recruiters can usually detect an application that has been bulk-delivered to a handful of companies, and it will likely go in the shredder.

Personalizing each application to suit the company is critical; be sure to incorporate keywords posted in the job spec, and mention skills they are looking for.

2. Being Too General and Not Demonstrating Value

When writing a resume objective, it's easy to spread yourself too thin and try to cover too many bases. Focus your attention on the really key characteristics.

3. Writing Too Little

It's good to be concise, but don't sell yourself short. If you mention qualities that you will elaborate on later, the reader will be much more likely to read further to find them.

CV Objective Examples

It’s important to understand what a good resume objective looks like. Remember: it should highlight the strengths and value that you would bring and sell you in the best light, encouraging the recruiter to carry on reading your application. Here are five resume objective samples to guide you.

Teacher Resume Objective Example:

"High school teacher with 8 years of experience, seeking a position in a small, established independent school. Looking to use my curriculum development skills to improve academic results and stretch student success."

Manager Resume Objective Example:

"Resilient individual seeking a position where I can use my leadership skills to drive and deliver results. Organized and enthusiastic, I would like to use my ten years’ experience in a new environment."

For a Marketing Position:

"Resourceful individual with PhD in Marketing seeks new role. Over 5 years’ experience and proven record of delivering campaigns with positive ROI across a number of sectors."

For a Retail Position:

"An experienced and passionate team player looking for a new venture. Expertise in cash handling and excellent customer experience skills."

Entry Level Resume Objective Example:

"High school senior with 3.0 GPA and active member of the debating team, seeking position to take advantage of excellent math skills and customer service abilities. Reliable, responsible and highly motivated."

Alternative Approaches

If you don’t think a resume objective is an approach you want to take, there are alternative methods:

  • Branding statements or professional headlines. Rather than determining what you want to achieve within a particular position, a branding statement advertises exactly what you have to offer.

    In the same way that you would place a resume objective at the top of the page, the branding statement, also known as a professional headline, should be at the forefront of your application as a bold indication of who you are. Your unique skills and strengths should be the main focus.

  • A summary. Summarizing your skills and qualifications at the start of your resume can be effective, as it provides recruiters with this information instantly, and shows how you align with the role.

  • Personal mission statement. A personal mission statement is the equivalent of a corporate mission statement but for you rather than a company. It showcases your core values and beliefs, personal qualities and passions, goals and ambitions.

    It is an effective way to give employers insight into who you are as a person, your purpose and how you aim to live your life. Ideally, your personal mission statement should be relevant in some way to the role/company you are applying to (for instance, perhaps the company shares many of your core values or has goals that align with your own). 

Final Thoughts

If used correctly, resume objectives can be highly effective additions to your resume.

Ensuring that your resume objective is kept brief and mirrors the requirements of the job you’re applying for is the key to success.

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Or explore the Application Advice / CVs sections.