You’ve probably heard by now that it’s a good idea to start your resume with an objective statement. When you consider just how many resumes an employer receives for a job opening, you’ll want the first thing they read on your resume (your objective) to grab their attention and make them want to keep reading. So, what exactly is a resume objective and how do you write one? Everything you need to know, plus some helpful examples, are included in this post!
What Is a Resume Objective?
Your resume objective is not an opportunity to tell an employer how much you want the job or how this job will help you further your career. It’s your chance to show off your skills and experience that are relevant to the position in question. It communicates to a hiring manager or whoever may be reviewing the resume that you are qualified and ready to take on this role you’ve applied for.
As mentioned above, an employer will receive tons of resumes for any open job they have. This means they’re likely going to be inundated with applications and resumes from many other qualified candidates (and some that aren’t so great). To make sure your resume doesn’t get tossed into the trash, you should create a lasting firm impression on the hiring manager with an amazing resume objective. Not only is it an opportunity to sell yourself, but you’re sure to stand out from everyone else who didn’t bother to include a resume objective.
Now that you know what a resume objective is and why it’s a good idea to include one, let’s talk about how you write one that gets attention:
Tailor Your Resume Objective to the Employer
The first step in learning how to write a resume objective is knowing that you need to tailor it to the job you’re applying for. This is obviously going to be a bit of additional work on your plate, especially if you’re applying to a lot of jobs at one time. However, it’s absolutely essential that each resume you send out has a tailor-made resume objective. If you find it too hard to tailor each and every resume to fit the job you’re applying for, consider hiring a professional resume writer to help.
When you take the time to tweak your resume objective each time you apply to a job, you’re more likely to get better results (which you’ll see in more callbacks for interviews). To tailor your resume objective, you’re going to have to do a little homework. You can review the job listing to see exactly what the employer is looking for in potential candidates for the job. What skills are they looking for? What specifics about you would they value? This is your chance to sell yourself by drawing attention to those things right at the top of your resume. It may be more time-consuming, but it’s worth it when it helps your resume stand out from the crowd.
Structure Your Resume Objective to Play Up Your Skills
Depending on where you’re at in your career, you’ll want to want to structure your resume objective in a way that plays up the skills you do have. For example, if you’re a high school student who is looking for your first job, you aren’t going to have any work experience to show off in this section. You would instead, write a resume objective that showcases your strongest attributes that would be appealing to an employer and fit the job you’re hoping to land. Let the employer know what your key attributes are, what job you are applying for, and wrap it up with a sentence that emphasizes your skills and experience that would make you an asset to the company. Here’s an example:
I am an outgoing student with three years of experience working for my high school’s yearbook staff. I’m committed to offering my creative and design skills to the role of Design Intern at your company, XYZ Design. As someone who is expressive and thinks outside the box, I will be a dedicated employee to your company.
In the above example, you can see that this high school student has used the skills and experience she does have to show why she would be a great candidate for the design intern position. She mentioned the experience that was most relevant to the job (the three years on the yearbook staff), which shows she has been working in design for some time now. While she may not have held a professional job in the design world, she has the experience to make her a qualified candidate, which she’s clearly stating here.
For someone who is still in college, you can follow the same ideas mentioned above, but start by stating the degree you’re currently working towards. Employers love to see when you’re getting an education in a relevant field, so this is the opportunity to show that off. Then, you can move into mentioning your strongest attributes and any relevant skills and experience you have that would apply to the job. Here’s an example:
I’m a third-year Journalism student at XYZ University with one year of work experience interning at the XYZ County Newspaper. As an organized and disciplined individual, I will be a great asset to XYZ Magazine as a staff writer. My work ethic, dedication to meeting deadlines, and previous work experience will ensure I’d contribute valuable content to your magazine and the company overall.
Stating that you’re currently working toward your degree in a relevant field is just an added bonus point when an employer is looking over your resume. It could be the deciding factor in whether or not you get the job over someone who isn’t going to college for a relevant degree. Embrace the courses you’re taking and lessons you’ve learned during your time in college to craft a resume objective that truly shows off your skills.
If you’re out of college and you’ve been working in your industry for some time now, but are looking for a new position, you’ll want a resume objective that showcases your work experience. Start off by highlighting the amount of time you’ve worked in your field and any tasks you’ve performed that would get the attention of an employer. You can then move into sharing your skills and any other professional experiences, and finally wrap up with a concluding statement that mentions any certifications, awards, or training you’ve received. Here’s an example:
I am a writer with more than five years of experience in creating editorial content for print magazines and online content. I’m eager to apply my knowledge and track record of successful editorials to Vogue Magazine by being a Managing Editor. I have a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and have completed the XYZ Writing Training.
This resume objective showcases the impressive work experience that this person already has, which is sure to be noticed by any employer. If you have the work experience that’s relevant to the job, you need to show that off. However, if you’re switching to a new field and you don’t have that career experience, you can focus more on your skills instead. It all depends on your abilities and the job you’re applying to. That’s why it’s so important to tailor the resume objective to the job you’re applying for.
Keep It Short & Sweet
One final note on the resume objective is to keep it short and sweet. This is not the time to get carried away and write an entire paragraph. A hiring manager will not take the time to read that, especially if they have received an overwhelming amount of resumes from other candidates. They just don’t have the time! Instead, keep it to two or three sentences and really pack a punch by letting them know what makes you a great candidate. They won’t be able to resist adding you to the team!