We would like to shed some light on one of the most mysterious parts of a resume: the resume objective. We often wonder what this notion encompasses exactly. Is it really just about my goals and aspirations or is it rather a summary of my profile? We see a lot of resumes that don’t have one, so we can ask ourselves if it is really something we should include. Does it offer added value to my CV when it comes to convincing hiring managers? In this article, we will try to clear all your doubts about this short yet important part of your resume.
- What is a resume objective?
Let’s be honest: only experts know exactly what a resume objective is. To begin with, this section possesses many names: career objective, objective statement, professional statement, professional resume summary, personal mission statement, resume profile, summary of qualifications, to name just a few. All these terms actually refer to slightly different things, so we will try to keep it simple. A resume objective is a brief statement that states your career goals and how they fit with the job they are applying for.
- What is best: an objective statement or a summary statement?
A summary statement is slightly different in form and in content. It is longer and more detailed than a resume objective. It also includes more complete descriptions of your abilities and qualifications. They showcase your past achievements too. Candidates who choose to include a summary statement generally have a fair amount of experience in the same field of work and want to capitalize on their accomplishments, skills, and experience. Summary statements also work perfectly when you upload your resume on job search websites, since keywords can help the software spot your resume.
Resume objectives are ideal for people with less experience, whether they are recent graduates or people who are in the process of changing careers. Resume objectives tend to be less specific than summary statements. In addition to explaining your career goals, you can also use this section to explain why you are qualified for the job.
- Do you really need a resume objective?
Some recruiters have stated that resume objectives are outdated. They tend to think that they are useless and self-centered. Most hiring managers will prefer a more objective summary statement, telling who you are, what you have done well and what you can do. The best solution might then be to include a summary statement that also states your objectives. Remember though that resume objectives can be useful to explain your current situation and motivations, to emphasize your ambitions and to give meaning to your application.
Other hiring managers think that a resume objective or statement might be repetitive with your cover letter. However, for the first selection, recruiters will definitely skim through the resume before reading the cover letter. You should keep in mind that including a resume objective is a personal decision: there is no right or wrong way.
- Where should your resume objective appear?
This one is an easy question! Since it needs to be read first by future employers, it should appear at the top of the page. The higher it appears, the more important it is. You can include it in your header or even in a column, but always at the top. Remember recruiters take 6 to 7 seconds on average to skim through a resume, and most of the time they don’t even get to the bottom of the page.
- How long should your resume objective be?
A resume objective is like the introduction of an essay or the topic sentence of a paragraph. That is why it should appear first and be brief: 2 to 3 sentences, 3 to 4 lines or between 30 and 50 words. Anything longer can be counterproductive! Don’t forget the goal of this section is to grab the recruiter’s attention and convince him or her in a few seconds.
If you prefer to display a more thorough summary statement, it can be a bit longer. Some candidates even like to write their strengths, experience and skills in the form of bullet points, which can help readability.
- What should I include in my resume objective?
You need to be as specific as possible. Even though your resume objective describes your personal goals, you need to make them match with those of the company you want to work for. In practice, you should mention everything that matters to future employers: a strong trait of yours, your job title, a couple of your main skills, your professional goals, what position you apply for, the value you can add and the needs you can fill inside the company.
- How do I make my resume objective effective and outstanding?
First of all, you need to adapt your resume objective to the company you are applying for. Indeed, you need to make your goals match with the company’s needs. It is always a good idea to include the name of the company to show that your resume objective is not just a standard copy-paste text you sent to dozens of possible employers.
Spot the keywords that show on the job offer and try to use some of them in your resume objective. Using keywords can be beneficial in two cases. First, these terms will echo in recruiters’ minds and boost your chances of being selected. Besides, you will also get an advantage in case the company uses an applicant tracking system.
If you want to stand out from the crowd and convince hiring managers, show them what you can bring to the company. Even better if it is a specific quality or skill that very few other candidates have! Demonstrate that you are the ideal candidate because you are going to add substantial value to the company.