Join Mariann Siegert for an in-depth discussion in this video Including (or not including) an objective, part of Creating an Effective Resume (2011).
- [Voiceover] In the old days, as in up until a few years ago, if you didn't include an objective your resume simply wasn't complete, but now the objective statement is becoming obsolete and it's recommended it be replaced with a powerful headline, followed by a targeted qualifications summary. Usually where you see an objective is at the top of your resume, as we see in MaryEllen's resume here. What we're going to be talking about is whether you should or you shouldn't include this objective.
So why is the objective becoming obsolete? Well, the answer is simple. An objective is focused on what you want, while the headline and qualifications summary is focused on what you can do for the employer. Your resume is your advertising and marketing campaign. Think of it as commercials or magazine ads. If they created an ad like an objective it would read like this, "XYZ Vitamins - We want your money!" I'm guessing this wouldn't sell a lot of vitamins, how about you? It's the same thing with a resume.
Telling the employer about your needs is not a very good advertising plan or way of going about selling yourself as the best candidate for the position. The best way to capture an employer's attention and interest is by telling them what you have to offer, not what you want. What if you wrote a very specific objective that cost you the job of your dreams? You may write an objective so specific you're overlooked by the employer without a second glance. Wouldn't you like to know what all of your options are? Consider this objective statement.
To obtain a position as an elementary school science teacher with upward mobility to become Principle. Well, what if you missed a position as a high school science teacher because you said you wanted to work as an elementary school teacher, or because you specifically stated that you wanted to be a science teacher you may have missed out on an opportunity as a chemistry teacher, or you may even have missed out on a position as a principle. You may be eliminated from jobs you would want that are slightly different from the objective without even receiving a phone call.
So why take that chance when an objective is not a required part of your resume. Here's another example. Seeking a position in advertising with an opportunity for advancement. To the employer this may sound as if you're motivated enough to move quickly out of the job they are hiring you for and they will soon be back to the drawing board finding another candidate. And the hiring process is expensive. Did you know that it costs an average of $13,355? And that was back in 2004.
Think about this, the objective sits on prime real state space, it's located at the very top of your resume. It's more important to use the space to catch the employer's attention by highlighting your key accomplishments and achievements, which are much more valuable to the company that's hiring you. Here are some other reasons for omitting the objective and replacing with a headline and qualifications summary. Most employers say that they have rarely seen a well-written objective. Job seekers tend to make the objective very vague in order to avoid limiting themselves, which defeats the purpose of writing an objective in the first place.
Objectives can pigeonhole you and may show you have a narrow career focus. If you feel you must discuss your specific career objectives consider talking about them once you get to the interview. Your resume should be detailed enough to tell the employer what position you are seeking. Your headline and qualifications summary will back this up, as will your cover letter, if this is to be included. If you're applying for the position they already know what your objective is, to get the job you're applying for. Objective statements are quickly becoming a thing of the past.
Consider instead using this prime real estate on your resume to showcase your key accomplishments and skills for each targeted position. Let the employer know what you can do for them, as apposed to what you want them to do for you.
- Determining the appropriate resume length
- Choosing the best layout
- Identifying and incorporating essential keywords
- Tips from recruiters
- Showcasing achievements and job duties using P.A.R. statements
- Evaluating resume banks
- Saving to different file formats
- Compiling references, cover letters, and thank-you notes