Most job hunters are confused about what should be in a resume objective. This bewilderment is reasonable as there is a plethora of conflicting information posted about what a resume objective should include and the purpose. Some web articles report you must include one while others recommend omitting them altogether. Due to the fact that your resume and cover letter are your first impression and opportunity to persuade an employer to interview you, you need to pull out all the stops. If you do not impress and sell the reader your first impression could be your last impression. A resume is a means to an end and in this ending what you want is an interview.
Because a resume is serving two entities at opposite ends of a hopeful transaction; employment, the objective is different for a job hunter than an employer. The goal of a job hunter is obvious: you want an interview and a job. The objective of your resume for an employer is to help them decide whether to interview or eliminate you.
So in order to serve your purpose of getting an interview, because the employer has all the power to make the decision of granting you one based on their needs and desires, your resume objective must serve a higher purpose. By focusing on the employer’s needs you will be serving your needs. Look at the big picture: serving the employer’s purpose will serve your purpose. Give them what they want and you will get what you want. They want a skilled employee who can and will do the job and you want the job. They need to be convinced you are the best person for the position.
A resume objective is the first thing an employer sees on the page below your name. Most advice directs you to create a brief introduction of your career goals and the type of job you are seeking. This writing can seem self -centered and is misaligned when you consider this document is essentially a marketing piece.
Expressing your career goals in your terms can be risky. If your goals do not match those of the employer you run the risk of being eliminated before the employer even gets past reading your objective. Also if the position has additional duties not fully disclosed by the job title or description, your objective can make your goals appear limited. If an employer has a different job opening other than what was advertised that you might be a perfect fit for, your objective might exclude you from consideration.
Employers are looking at your past but buying your future. Employers have a difficult time correlating your past with their future goals just by reviewing your resume. And without first meeting with an employer and learning about the company how can you possible write about any goals that match what they have planned? You cannot and the best you can do is to create an objective from the limited information about the position usually from the job posting and other information you can dig up.
Leaving out a resume objective is an option. Most employers find this the most objectionable part of resumes anyway. A major reason for this is that most the writing is too generic or not focused on the job or employer. Many candidates include a Summary of Skills section in place of the objective statement.
While omitting a resume objective seems reasonable and is usually acceptable, there are some advantages to including one. For instance, this section gives you the opportunity to use the exact job title or skill keywords the prospective employer is using. Then if the employer is scanning for keywords and the job title is one of those words you will be included. Another plus is the opportunity to draw attention to your skill keywords and offer additional information for any special circumstances such as an internship application or a career change.
The following statement includes a transferable skill, in this case communication skills that the employer has listed in the job posting for a physical therapist. This example is for a career transition from customer service work to physical therapy:
To apply valuable communication skills gained from seven years of customer service experience in coordination with the education of a four year degree and certificate as a Physical Therapist to provide clients with exceptional service.
Again a resume objective provides the opportunity to include a job title that you not have held and would otherwise not be on your resume. Here is a generic sample that is focused on the employer and includes the job title of the position open:
To meet with you and learn about your company and the Junior Accountant position to appropriately assess your opportunity to determine if present accounting skills and future development can be of exceptional benefit to you.
Presenting certain career goals can be in the interest of an employer. If a job description for a sales associate includes a statement about possible advancement the following objective could be advantageous:
To meet with you and find out about your company and the sales associate position to determine if current selling skills can help you now and the goal of working toward a leadership position can serve you in the future.