Resume Objective: Nobody Cares

resume-objectiveA visitor to AOL's sister site Emurse recently asked this question: "I'm trying to provide a good objective that will work for all job titles in the clerical area. What should I do?"

The quick answer to the question is forget the objective. Here's why.

  1. Objectives tell the reader what you want, not what the employer wants. And let's face it, the employer doesn't really care what you want. Hiring authorities scan resumes to determine if the applicant has the competencies and achievements to create success in their work environment. Your objective in the process is meaningless to them.

  2. Objectives rarely say anything valuable. Most objectives I see read something like this: Objective: Seeking a position where I can use my clerical skills to help the business run smoothly and efficiently. Duh! If a company is hiring for a clerical position, they already know why. They don't need you to reiterate the obvious.

  3. Objectives are a waste of space. Brevity is important on a resume. You have limited space and limited time to make an impression on a hiring manager. The objective statement wastes space on the resume that could be used for communicating more compelling information about your candidacy.

  4. Objectives date you. You may have included an objective on the last resume you wrote -- 20 years ago. Resume styles have changed over the years. You need to change with them.

So now that I've bashed the resume objective, you may be wondering what you are supposed to put in place of the objective. I recommend creating a professional summary at the top of the resume and here's why.

  1. A professional summary summarizes the key points of the resume. It is the snapshot of the applicant and the accomplishments that make them a good fit for the job. Before you buy a book, don't you read the overview on the book jacket? Hiring authorities want the summary before they read the resume as well.

  2. A professional summary allows applicants to match their skill sets to the requirements listed in the job posting. A great way to show a hiring manager that you are perfect for their position is to mirror their job requirements at the top of the resume. This strategy is sure to catch their attention and encourage them to read on.

  3. A professional summary looks -- well -- more professional. Seasoned professionals with 10-plus years of experience don't gain credibility from using a resume objective. The summary is a much more sophisticated way to present your skills.

If you want to learn more about creating powerful resume summaries, be sure to check out Resume Magic, Happy About My Resume, or Resumes for Dummies or download 15 Items for Your Resume "To-Do" List for free.

Next: Ten Minute Resume Makeover >>



Filed under: Resume Tips, Resumes
Barbara Safani

Barbara Safani

Editor

Barbara Safani, owner of Career Solvers, has over fifteen years of experience in career management, recruiting, executive coaching, and organizational development.

Barbara partners with both Fortune 100 companies and individuals to deliver targeted programs focusing on resume development, job search strategies, networking, interviewing, salary negotiation skills, and online identity management.

She is the author of Happy About My Resume: 50 Tips For Building a Better Document to Secure a Brighter Future and #JOBSEARCHtweet and her award-winning resumes are featured in dozens of career-related publications.

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Loretta

Funny, employers I have talked to say they want to know where a person fits into the organization before anything else. They aren't going to read a resume without an objective because they don;t have time to figure out what you do, they want you to tell them in a statement such as Offering 5+ years experience and seeking position as a ________. Then I put the summary below it.

June 30 2010 at 12:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ryan

Funny how the comment section's more informing than the actual article. Screw what this idiot "author" says. My objective remains present.

Thanks.

June 30 2010 at 9:36 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
atm

During the past 10 years many people entrusted me with re-editing, layouting, and re-viving their resumes / C.V.'s.
The practice showed that OBJECTIVES are definitely a key instrument to express personal ambition and aim, if it is taken from a really individual point of view. All other content is strictly organized up to the adjustment of spacing points and visual theming of fonts.
Making facts easily accessible to the eye, and adding the personal horizon in fact makes it a resume. What annoys most are misunderstood hobby-like interests. There it is better to have instead some reliable personal references at the bottom, with them including availability constraints via office hours and time zone.
An objective by nature can come from a very different perspective, and that drives the HR Department to open for individual career schemes instead of WE PUT YOU INTO OUR STANDARD BOX. Objectives can be a preliminary can-opener when it comes to increments or varying positions. The applicant / later employee has always the option to say "see, that's what I signed up for, and I commit fully to reach that. Where is your support?"

June 29 2010 at 9:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ron

I'm a retired vice president and I've looked at a lot of resumés and I don't think a cookie cutter approach works, whether eschewing "objectives" or embracing "summaries." I think much depends on the organization and/or person receiving the resumé. A highly creative organization, say in media, might value something artsy that a more buttoned-downed organization would deem a waste of time. The point is, different organizations are looking for different things so you can't use the same approach for all of them. Consequently, Rule One for job seekers should be to study the would-be employer and the vacancy he's trying to fill and make your resumé fit his needs. To me, the only hard-and-fast rule is that your resumé, whatever its style, should tell the prospective employer what he or she needs to know about you and it should do so in a smooth, compelling, effective manner from education to job experience to accomplishments. I prefer what might be called the narrative approach, meaning resumés that are short on bullets and lists and long on smoothly flowing, tightly written prose. I'm with those who are none too big on "objectives" but I do think within reason an applicant's objectives can be important for employers to consider. For example, if I am trying to develop reporters so that they become editors, an applicant for a reporting job who lists becoming an editor as an objective would get points with me. Again, you can't overgeneralize, you can't use a rigid set of rules when trying to pitch your services to a prospective employer. A resumé is, after all, a marketing device and the first rule of marketing is to gauge your audience and then develop an appropriate message to persaude it.
One final point: Back when I was in the business of recruiting people the major turnoffs for me were resumés that were obviously inflated with a lot of b.s. and resumés that were so slick they were almost certainly prepared by a third party. I'm not sure I can fully defend those prejudices but then again if I'm doing the hiring I don't have to defend them, do I?

June 29 2010 at 4:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Leanne

I was the Director of HR and Recruiting for a prominent consulting firm in Chicago for nearly two decades. Now I help people write resumes. I loved when I received a resume which was fashioned like they do in the major business schools, like University of Chicago, and Northwestern University. Also, the same for some of the best business undergrad programs. No objective, no professional summary. Professional summaries are confusing! As a recruiter, if someone has developed a skill set, I want to see where it was obtained (as in the bullets below a job listed). I can't stand it when someone tells me that they've developed this massive skill set, and I need to do the work of trying to figure out where they obtained it. (Was the "excellent people skills" developed when you were a busboy, or a CEO?) See? It makes a difference. Look at the resumes from any of the top business schools, and they're who you should model your resumes after! Even if you're a clerical worker, it still works great. My resumes have never failed to get someone the job in no time flat!

June 29 2010 at 2:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Julie

Robert, for a senior-level director of *anything*, your spelling and English usage are pretty bad!

June 29 2010 at 2:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
John

After being a manager at the same company for 19 years, I was let go when my company was aquired by a larger company. I have been unemployed for 6 months, and getting a new job is much more challenging than I thought it would be. I have dumbed down my resume and cover letters, but so far no luck. Check this out ..... After finally getting a company interested in me as a manager ( GOODYEAR ) I thought I had a chance. I passed their employment assessment, had 3 phone interviews, and had a final face to face interview. After jumping through hoops for Goodyear for 4 weeks, I was emailed an offer of employment. YEA !!! Congratulations on your new position with Goodyear. We are excited to have you join our organization. When I called the man I interviewed with to thank him, I was told it was a mistake. The smug bastard then said he was sorry to burst my bubble. I went from the top of the world, to the bottom of the ocean in 5 seconds flat. SCREW YOU GOODYEAR. I will find a job eventually. You lost a good one when you lost me.

June 29 2010 at 2:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dino

I think the article is fairly on point. Employers themselves are under pressure to hire employees who can just get the work done. They're not interested in what "we" want. We were told at work that our bosses themselves are judged by RESULTS, not by how much "trite" they are able to handle from the employees. In other words, any problem we have, or anything we say, do or think does not matter to them. They are interested in RESULTS, nothing more. So, no, they don't care what we aspire to, and could care less about any objectives we may have.

June 29 2010 at 1:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dave

Stan learn how to spell.............YOU'RE FIRED!!!!

June 29 2010 at 1:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
bev

Too many resumes are geared to the specific job and not what the person is really about. Doing this is not fair to the company you are applying. Companies can only figure out who they need if you are truthful on the resume. If you say what you think they want to hear they will only be looking for someone in another few months. Total waste of time for the applicant and the company. Tell the truth on who you are and you might get a job you really are geared to and will enjoy and the company may end up with the employee that will do the best job and be happy there.

June 29 2010 at 1:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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