An objective statement is the first bit of information a hiring manager sees on your resume. Within it is your well-defined career objective, along with a super-short blurb about why you’re the perfect person for the job to which you are applying. This is why your objective statement should be as impressive as the skills and experience that follow it.
When to Use an Objective Statement
Some say that objective statements are becoming outdated. However, while your particular situation may not call for an objective statement, it is always a good idea to have one on your resume anyway. In the following circumstances, however, an objective statement may mean the difference between getting or being passed up for a job:
- If you are a recent graduate who is entering the workforce for the first time
- If you are considering relocating, else your out-of-town address may confuse the hiring manager and he or she will disqualify you
- If you are changing industries, to help explain why you are making the change
Here are some tips insofar as what to do, and not to do, when crafting your objective statement to help you stand out from the crowd.
An objective statement is an appetizer of sorts, designed to “wow” the HR department enough to convince them to conduct an introductory interview with you, typically over the phone. During your interview you can talk more about your skills and experience, but you don’t want to go overboard here either.
One of the reasons people dismiss objective statements is because they tend to be narcissistic. Many applicants ramble on about themselves and their accomplishments, rather than highlight how hiring them can benefit the company. This is why remaining concise throughout the entirety of the interview process, from start to finish, is crucial to improving your chances of getting the job.
Here’s a good example of a concise objective statement that gives the hiring manager just enough information without becoming overly wordy:
“Ambitious and experienced technical support professional with proven success managing the help desk for an international corporation. Seeking an opportunity to use my five years experience to serve a nonprofit organization.”
Do Not Use the Same Objective Statement Every Time
Do not use a vague “one size fits all” statement to sum up your past career and future career goals. The entire point of the objective statement is to tell the employer why you are the perfect choice for that particular job. What is it about that job that enticed you to apply? Why do you think you, above all other candidates, would be a perfect fit?
Plus, this also serves a dual purpose as well. When the hiring manager inevitably asks you, “So, why did you decide to apply to ABC Company?”, you can use your objective statement to jog your memory if you’ve applied to so many jobs this week that you honestly can’t remember why you applied to that specific job.
Here’s a good example of an objective statement that, while somewhat cookie-cutter insofar as relocation, can be more specifically tailored to a particular position:
“Current accountant with more than fifteen years experience in the field of finance seeking a tax advisor position when I relocate to Boston in May. I am excited to apply my tax knowledge and related skills and grow my experience as part of your established institution.
Make sure that the career goals you note in your objective statement match those that the company can actually fulfill. Many applicants talk about how the job they’re applying for now can help them land their dream job in the future. This speaks more to the company about what you want, rather than how hiring you could benefit them as a company.
Consider the following example. You’re a high school graduate, and it is your first-time ever applying for a job as a cashier at a local retail store. Do not simply put in your objective statement that you would like the job because it would give you the experience to one day become a store manager. Focus more on the give-and-take, on how you can grow within the company and what you can do for the company by growing within it.
Here’s a good example of how you might want your objective statement to sound in this situation:
“I am a highly driven team player and aspiring store manager with proven analytical skills seeking to grow my knowledge of the retail industry by using my communication skills as a retail associate for your department store.”
List Degrees, Certifications, or Licenses You May Have
A quick blurb in your objective statement regarding the certificates you have acquired over the years (and which are relevant to the position to which you’re applying) is an impressive start to your resume.
An objective statement should be an outline of sorts. It tells the reader, “if you think that’s good, keep reading!” Putting your licenses, degrees, and certifications right in your objective statement gives the reader a clearer picture of what you can bring to the table.