Resume objectives are something that you need to get right. A solid resume objective statement sets the tone for what is to follow, and will influence what the prospective employers expects to read in the rest of the resume. It’s also one of the areas of your resume that must be customized for each application you send.
Good resume objectives blend your professional desires with the benefits you are offering your prospective employer. That is, they must clearly communicate the message that you will add value to their business. Naturally, a resume objective statement needs to be a strong, simple and fully understandable statement that encourages your prospective employer to continue reading. Nothing is worse than starting off a resume with a sloppy, poorly thought through objective which confuses rather than clarifies.
Developing objectives for resumes
Keep your resume objective strong, powerful and concise. If the statement doesn’t offer a clearly defined intention right away, it needs to be re-worked. Think of it as the 3 second presentation of yourself.
Be sure to revise your objective for each position you are applying for. Even a couple of little tweaks to your statement can be enough to transform the statement into one becomes more relevant to a prospective employer – and thus make them want read on.
Using a resume objective statement
As a general rule of thumb the less experience you possess, the more important a resume objective statement becomes. The same is also true if you are transitioning into a new industry or a new role in which you have limited or no direct experience. Bear in mind that in this situation, one of the first questions you are likely to be asked is why you are applying for this position. Your objective statement needs to supports your interest.
Two situations where you should not use resume objectives:
1) When NOT applying for a specific job
When using a resume in a situation in which there is a lack of clarity regarding what position specifically is being offered or may become available, a objective statement can be entirely counterproductive.
For example, in situations in which friends or former colleagues have offered to distribute your CV to their contacts, when attending job fairs, or when submitting your resume to career and job websites you probably are better off leaving the resume objective statement out in order to ensure your resume fits a broader range of situation.
Of course, if you are clear and determined about the job you are after, then by all means write it down!
You may also find yourself applying for several position within an organization, which again is a situation in which an objective statement that is too specific will be counterproductive. Even worse would be submitting two resumes, each with different objective statements.
In such situations, write a summary instead of a resume objective statement, and let your experience do the talking. Focus in on a more specific objective once you are presented with a more specific job opportunity.
2) When you have several years of work experience
Once you have an established professional track record, it is probable that an objective statement cannot adequately cover the range of your skills and experience you possess, and thus can be detrimental to your presentation. IT’s something that must be considered on a case-by-case basis.
A better approach is to include a summary of your key expertise areas, principal skills and perhaps a statement about the future career direction you are intending. This can be quite helpful in focusing someone viewing your resume on your key capabilities and expertise.
Example resume objectives
Transition from an HR Officer with 5 years experience to a management role may write:
“An experienced human resources expert with 5 years experience looking to apply knowledge and social skills in a management position.”
Someone seeking a career change needs while highlighting their professional skills may write:
“Trained and motivated salesperson looking to apply their experience and education in a new career teaching the business leaders of tomorrow.”
A recent university graduate looking to join a large organization could state:
“A commercially-minded business graduate with sales internship experience is seeking a management career in the sales area in a large organization.”
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