Tips for Writing a Clear Resume Objective

A resume objective is an important part of your resume when you’re applying for a job. What do you need to know about writing your own objective?

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Resume Objective

Think of the resume objective section of your resume as an overview of your resume. Your objective will not only communicate your career goals, but it will also describe prime skills and experiences you have that fit what the hiring manager is looking for.

Opinions on whether you should use a resume objective vary, but it can be a valid option for your resume. Here’s everything you need to know about a resume objective, and how to write one.


What Is a Resume Objective?

A resume objective is usually two to three sentences long, and placed at the top of your resume. It provides a bite-sized introduction to who you are and what your career objective is, with a highlighted skill and/or work experience.

Some see an objective as an outdated feature, but this may be partially due to people not understanding when you should use a resume objective. Let’s take a look at how a resume objective is put together, so you can make sure it works for you rather than against you.

The Anatomy of a Resume Objective

Here are the four elements you need to keep in mind when you’re creating your resume objective.
1. Job title
The first thing you need to state is the job title you want to hold, or currently hold. This should typically be the same as the specific position you’re applying for (e.g., “Marketing Manager” or “Sales Associate”). This job title is aspirational, so even if you don’t have a lot of work history, don’t identify yourself as a “recent graduate.”

2. Stated objective
Next, indicate your objective. Of course, your ultimate objective is for the company you’re applying with to hire you at the position you’re applying for. However, to create an appealing resume objective, you need to make this objective narrow enough to apply to the job listing but broad enough for it to look natural on a general resume. Someone who’s just gotten out of film school may state, “Film editor looking for an entry-level position to build experience in the film industry.”

3. Experience
If you do have experience, your resume objective should state this experience. This can even be true if your experience isn’t technically in the field you’re applying for. “Five years of experience in management” can still hold some weight in other fields, after all. Your best option is to determine how you can weave your professional experience in with the field you’re pursuing, then write it down that way.

4. Skills and keywords
Lastly, you’ll want to add your relevant skills; both hard skills and soft skills can be effective. Here’s just a few of the skills that may be effective in a resume objective:

  • Communication skills
  • Interpersonal communication
  • Computer skills
  • Management skills
  • Organizational skills
  • Data entry
  • SEO
  • Team player

Some keywords you might want to emphasize include:

  • Hard-working
  • Leader
  • Adept
  • Diligent
  • Knowledgeable

These types of strong words will vary by industry, so make sure you look at resume samples from your field to see what types of words people are using. Make sure you use ResumeHelp’s advice on hard skills and soft skills for best results.

Resume Objective vs. Resume Summary

You’ll often see recommendations to use a summary instead of an objective in your resume. What’s the difference?

The biggest difference between these two is the intention behind them. A resume summary is typically used when you have relevant experience in the field you’re applying to. With a resume summary, you’re essentially providing an overview of your resume’s highlights. With a resume objective, however, you’re emphasizing your goals and job-specific skills to a hiring manager.

If you’re ever uncertain, assume that a resume objective is for people without a huge amount of experience, and a resume summary is for people with experience.

When To Use a Resume Objective

A resume objective is helpful if you’re concerned that a potential employer won’t see how your resume connects with the job you’re applying for. This may be due to a career change, or you’re a recent college graduate, or your professional goals have shifted. Anytime you need some extra clarification on your job and career goals, a resume objective can be very helpful.

How To Make the Most of Your Resume Objective

Resume objectives should typically be very short; some people keep it to as short as a single sentence. No need for long explanations as to why you’re applying; you should be able to sum up your relevant skills for a specific position in just a few sentences.

The other thing you need to do is make sure your resume objective is using the keywords that are popular in your field right now. For example, healthcare keywords are going to be different from human resources keywords. When working in healthcare, you might indicate that you’re “people-focused” and “empathetic,” whereas human resources workers might steer toward being “fair” and “good at defusing difficult situations.”

Resume Objective Examples

One of the best ways to write a great resume objective statement is to look at what other people are writing for their resume objectives. Check out ResumeHelp’s resume examples for examples of objectives for you to utilize as you’re writing your own. Resume objective samples can help you see how others are describing their professional goals and aspirations, allowing you to discuss the same in your resume.

FAQ: Resume Objectives

Q: Where does a resume objective fit in a resume format?

Your resume objective will always be at the top of your resume. You want your objective to be basically the first thing a hiring manager sees, so they’re prepared for the rest of your resume. Think of it as your response to the job description; you’re explaining exactly why you fit the description.

Q: What are the benefits of a resume objective?

A resume objective highlights how you can benefit a company, and that your career goals align well with the company’s needs.

It’s a good idea to look at resume examples for your industry and see how many of them include a resume objective or resume summary. If you notice that many of the resume examples for your job or industry opt for a summary instead of a resume objective, you should consider doing the same.

Q: What should I avoid in a resume objective?

The main thing to avoid in a resume objective is being over-wordy. Your resume should be quick, to the point, and effective, and so should your objective. Think of it as an “elevator pitch.” If your resume objective is more than a few lines long, step back and see where you can trim it down.

It’s also common for job seekers to forget that their resume objective is supposed to showcase how they fit a job rather than why they’re interested in the job. You need to focus on skills and/or experience that are perfect for what the company is looking for. The intention of your resume objective is to make the company as interested in you as you’re interested in the company.

Q: Do I need a cover letter if I have a resume objective?

A resume objective is not a replacement for a cover letter. A cover letter is significantly longer than a resume objective, typically taking up three paragraphs, or anywhere from half a page to a full page. A resume objective, on the other hand, shouldn’t be any longer than a slim paragraph and can be as short as just a single sentence.

Hiring managers will expect a cover letter, so remember to include one with your job application. The resume objective is just a section on the resume, but the cover letter is a complete statement that sums up your qualifications for a job, and opens the door to request an interview.

Q: How long should my resume objective be?

This really depends on your specific skills and experience, and how they relate to the job you want. However, your resume objective should definitely not be any longer than a single paragraph. In a resume objective, you are listing the two or three best qualifications you have for the company you’re hoping to work for, and explaining your goals.

Q: How can I keep my resume objective concise?

First off, remove extraneous pronouns and related phrases like “I am.” Instead of saying “I am a high school teacher looking for full-time employment,” just say “High school teacher looking for full-time employment.” It’s technically a fragment, but it’s snappier and acceptable writing for a resume, so it’s allowable on your resume objective.

Additionally, only focus on your two or three standout skills. If you’re applying for a software development job and you understand both Python and Java, but you’re only really good at coding in Python, only list Python in your resume objective. The rest of the resume can be used to go over all your qualifications. Your objective should feature all your absolute best qualifications.

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