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An Objective look at Objectives

Sep 17 2015

An Objective look at Objectives

Alternatives like ‘Job Goal’, ‘Career Summary’, and ‘Executive Summary’ all pop up, but there’s no piece of a resume that inspires heated debate like the Objective. Heated supporters on the one hand, loud dismissal on the other. No two hiring managers seem to agree, so how do you know if you should use one?

Objectively Bad

When your resume space is limited, adding an objective eats into that. If your career progression and titles speak for themselves, an objective is redundant and takes space away you could use on your achievements and accomplishments.

Using an objective that’s too specific can block you from other positions you might be suitable for, and signal a lack of flexibility. A bad objective is worse than no objective at all! Filler and buzzwords make you seem out of touch. With hiring managers scanning a resume in under 10 seconds, do you want to waste that time on fluffy filler text?

Objectively Good

Including an objective gives employers a clear picture of your goals and skills. Some hiring managers might not see the full job posting and an objective makes it clear which position you’re aiming for.

Career changers or recent graduates can use an objective to show their enthusiasm for the new direction, as well as highlight their relevant skills. This could be put in a cover letter, of course.

Another advantage is that as more employers use ATS to scan resumes for keywords, you can position the important ones right in the objective.

If you choose to use an objective, make sure to focus on what you can do for your employer, not what you want from them. Be specific, clear, and brief – leave out the buzzwords and keep it under 15 words maximum.

Putting it together

Your objective (if you use one) should ONLY contain three things:

  1. The title (if known)
  2. The area of work
  3. Skills, specialization, and experience

GOOD: “Graphic Designer with 10 years of experience specializing in UX”

BAD: “Looking for a challenging but rewarding position using my extensive skills as a Graphic Designer”

Objectives can hurt you as well as help you – remember that they are optional. If you prefer to leave it to a professional, use a online resume writing service. They know whether or not you need an objective and how to tailor your whole history to the role you want.