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How to Write an Objective Statement

Writing an Objective

A growing trend in new resumes is to give short shrift to or eliminate the "objective" heading altogether. Here are some compelling reasons to include this very important career statement in your resume and a top-10 tips list for writing a memorable one.

Seizing an opportunity to submit as many applications as possible, some job applicants are omitting the traditional objective statement element within their resumes. Rewriting objectives to accommodate every possibility seems challenging, while including over-generalized statements seems to do more harm than good. Nevertheless, when one considers the real purpose of an objective, the inclusion of it appears to be mandatory.

Whether written as "Career Goal", "Objective", or "Position Desired", the time honored first statement is still worthy of its place in a successful resume. When a cover letter cannot be submitted, the objective statement may be the job seeker's only chance to introduce himself. Traditionally, the objective statement has served two purposes. The first obvious purpose is to state clearly for the record, what type of position an applicant desires. Second, this introductory sentence suggests to the potential employer what type of skill set or qualifications the applicant has. A third purpose for an announced career goal, one that is frequently misunderstood or under utilized all together, is the implied employer benefits, or the "what's in it for my company" angle.

Stating your career objective should include a real job title whenever possible. Sentences that skirt concrete job names, such as, "...seeking a position in marketing...", suggests two things to the reader; one, the applicant has no idea about what types of jobs may be available in marketing and two, the applicant is desperate, and willing to take any job. Eagerness is good. Desperation is fatal.

Defining the position desired is much more effective when the company's own job titles are used, such as, "...seeking a Sales Management position..." or "...pursuing an entry-level Public Relations Specialist position...". If you are responding to an advertisement that you have seen, use the terminology in the ad, otherwise, do a little digging. A business's website can be very helpful for locating job title information specific to the company with which you want to apply. Admittedly, it takes a little more effort to customize and rewrite each objective to match a potential employer's need, but the benefits will outweigh the time spent.

Capturing your qualifications in a one or two sentence resume objective can be a challenge, but by using the identified job title combined with a descriptive term such as, "experienced" or "certified", the challenge is easily met. Think about your skill set in broad terms. Are your employment skills developed in areas of administration? In sales? Perhaps you have been employed as a carpenter. Are you skilled in cabinet making or exterior framing? Identifying your general abilities will give you some good leading sentences for your career objective, even in cases where you are looking to change careers. Consider the following examples:



Recent high school graduate, previously employed in fast-food service industry, and aiming for a new position --

Dependable and enthusiastic student with experience in sales and public contact seeking opportunity as a Market Researcher Level I.

Experienced specialty carpenter seeking a supervisor title --

Desire to obtain a Carpenter Shop Foreman position utilizing extensive trade skills and experience in the theatrical and special events industries.

Finally, when writing a career objective, resume writers should consider the potential employer's point of view. In a competitive job market, where hiring personnel sit behind stacks of non-descript resumes, the inclusion of a little "self-promotion" is critical. Ask yourself, "what do I have that this company wants?". Is it doing whatever it takes to get the job done? Is it attention to detail? Then write, "dedicated" or "quality-conscious". Consider terms that describe your work habits while offering something positive for the employer.

Composing a good resume requires focused time and effort. Never try to hurry the process by leaving out the who, what, and why of your employment search. By utilizing the following top-10 tips list as a guide for developing your objective statement, you will be well on your way to creating your own job winning resume.

The Top-10 Tips List for Writing a Winning Objective Statement:


  1. Choose two adjectives to describe your work style such as, "Dependable and conscientious student seeking..." or
    "Detail oriented and quality conscious accounting clerk..."

  2. Inform your potential employer of "what is in it for them", such as, "...seeking to utilize 10+ years experience in the industry..." or "...proven sales record..."

  3. One sentence is good, but making sense is better! If warranted, two sentences or in some cases a short paragraph will improve an objective statement.

  4. If you know the job title for which you are applying, use it. There is nothing to be gained in trying to define a new position for yourself.

  5. If you have read the job description in an advertisement, try to mirror one or two of the words listed. For instance, if the job announcement has indicated a desire for a self-starter, then experiment with using the same term or one with the same meaning, such as in this case, "self-motivated" or "self-directed".

  6. As always, grammar and spelling count! It is expected that resumes will have short sentence fragments, abbreviations, and little punctuation, but your career objective should be written without error. Proofread!

  7. Avoid being too general in your statement. It is better to do a little research with the company and uncover some of what they may be looking for than to write an over-generalized objective that essentially says nothing to the employer.

  8. Ambition is nice, but statements such as "work my way up to..." will impress no one and may undercut your credibility.

  9. If possible, experiment with writing an objective without the use of the word, "I". It can be done! "I", is more appropriately used in a cover letter. Using "I" and "my" too frequently may loose a recruiter whose context and focus is on what the company can gain from a new hire.

  10. Do not promise more than you can deliver! If you are chronically late, then describing yourself as punctual will only undermine your credibility later when it is discovered that you have misrepresented yourself.

Copyright © 2005, Lisa Casey Perry, All rights reserved.

About the Author
Lisa Casey Perry is the owner of YourWriteSite.com, a writing resource site with articles, samples, and more. YourWriteSite.com also offers custom writing services and an award program aimed at recognizing talented web authors. You may visit YWS at http://www.yourwritesite.com/ or email Lisa at writer@yourwritesite.com.


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