Objective And Cover Letter

Should you include an objective on your resume?

Resume objectives—waste of space or valuable opportunity to stand out from the crowd?

The structure, purpose, and language used in resumes have largely remained the same over the years, with one notable exception: the resume objective. This juicy tidbit of information is increasingly seen as an obsolete and unnecessary detail, being replaced instead by the career summary. Applicants don't especially enjoy writing objectives and hiring managers don't always have time to read them, so why does a resume need an objective? Just cut it out, right? Not so fast, friend. An objective sometimes helps and sometimes hinders your job search, so knowing when or even if to include one gets a bit tricky.

Consider it on a case-by-case basis

The best thing you can do is consider each job as it comes. You know how important it is to tailor your resume to each job you apply for, right? As you tweak it for each position, think about the job itself, the company, and what you hope to achieve. Sometimes it comes down to a gut feeling. Do you believe you can sell yourself more if you include an objective? Always trust your instincts.

Is the position goal-oriented?

For the most part, goal-driven positions always benefit from a resume objective. Say you're applying as an entry-level accountant, but you hope to move up the ladder within the company. Letting the hiring manager know you want to pay your dues and then grow as an accountant within his or her organization definitely doesn't hurt.

Do you have any objectives?

How do you feel about the jobs you're applying for, honestly? Are you simply looking for work because you badly need employment? There's no shame in that, but you probably don't want to write an objective if you're just waiting until something better comes along. That won't get you hired.

What if you're desperate for a job, though? Does your resume need an objective? Maybe. The market is tight, so if you're eager for a position and know how to sell yourself, you can use your resume objective to stand out from the rest of the applicant pool. Remember, since objectives aren't required now, most people skip them. If you have the only objective in a sea of resumes, it just might help.

If you find yourself asking, "Should I use an objective on my resume?" the answer is a firm, resolute "maybe." It depends solely on the job itself, the goals and objectives you hope to fulfil in the position, and your ability to craft a resume objective.

Career advice: Resume help and job interview tips

Your resume should make it very clear to the reader what your career objectives are.

The first step to creating a high-impact resume is determining what you're trying to accomplish. With a clearly defined career objective, you can write a resume that conveys the experience, skills and training that best serve your overall professional aspirations.

Hiring managers are busy folks who can't afford to waste any time trying to figure out what your career goals are. They won't take the time to do this; they'll just move on to the next resume.

Do you need an objective section?

While it's important for your resume to include a clear career goal, you don't have to convey it through an Objective section. The majority of job seekers may incorporate their career goals into a Career Summary instead.

For example, a candidate led her summary as follows:

Talented and dependable secretary, skilled in all aspects of office management within nonprofit environments.

Her summary continued to relay her key qualifications for an administrative position, but her introductory line enabled hiring managers to immediately recognize her goal. If you are on a steady career track, incorporating your objective into a summary sends the message "this is who I am," rather than "this is who I'd like to be when I grow up."

When is a formal objective required?

Career changers and entry-level workers should consider incorporating their career objectives into their resumes because their goals may not be clearly defined by their work history alone. If you're targeting a particular position, add a formal objective statement and reference the job opening. The hiring manager will see you took the time to customize your resume and that the opportunity is important to you.

Resume objective examples

For career changers: Accomplished administrator seeking to leverage extensive background in personnel management, recruitment, employee relations, and benefits administration in a human resources position. Extremely motivated for career change goal and eager to contribute to a company's HR division.

Entry-level workers: Dedicated CIS graduate pursuing a help-desk position.

When targeting a specific position: Elementary teacher for ABC School District.

Tips for writing your own objective statement

  • Focus on how you would benefit the employer, not on how the employer would benefit you. Stay away from resume objectives that state your working preferences, such as "seeking a team-oriented environment that fosters professional development."
  • Don't be vague. Steer clear from statements that say nothing substantial about your career goal (e.g., "seeking a challenging position with potential for growth and advancement").
  • Keep it concise and targeted. Hiring managers often sort through hundreds to thousands of resumes to fill one job opening. Make it easy on them by keeping your objective short and to the point. The best resume objectives contain a desired job title or target.
  • If you have more than one career goal, create a different resume version for each objective. Remember, you can store up to five resumes on Monster when you become a member. 

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