On the surface, writing a career objective for your resume doesn’t seem like such a monumental task: You just have to write down what you aim to do for the next 7-10 years, right?
Actually, it’s a little more complicated than that. In fact, there are decisions to be made that go way beyond simply stating your goals.
When you write a resume objective, you’re setting the stage for the entire document. If you don’t know what you want, or if what you want is not compelling to an employer, then your resume won’t be either.
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In a resume, what does career objective mean?
A career objective says what you want out of your next job or career move. It’s an opportunity for you to formally state your goals and to let potential employers know right away what you hope to accomplish.
For example, you might write a resume objective that says: “I want to be able to contribute my skills and experience to the marketing department of a growing organization.” Or: “I would like to be considered for a position with your organization where I can apply my five years of experience in business management.”
In both of these cases, your career objective is clear and directly ties to your resume. So let’s tackle the issue of how to write a career objective first. Then I’ll show you 5 actionable tips for using your objective — to get the job you really want.
How to write a career objective: tips and best practices
1. Know what you want
As you write your resume, you’ll go through several drafts and multiple iterations until everything is just right. But if you start off with a fuzzy idea of what you want, then you won’t have a clear picture of your own career goals. And that will make hiring managers want to hire someone else.
So spend some time thinking about the big picture and imagining where you want to be one year and five years from now. Brainstorm, make lists and write down what you want to do. Then ask yourself: What skills and experiences do I need for those jobs?
2. Write your statement like a press release
When you’re writing a resume objective, you might think that the best way to go is with simple statements such as “Seeking a position as a marketing executive” or “Looking for opportunities in finance”.
Instead, frame your objective like a journalist would if they were writing a press release for your resume. (Your resume is like a mini-press release.)
For example, don’t say, “Seeking a career transition into the technology industry.” That could mean almost anything. Instead, say something like: “Seeking a position that leverages my experience in marketing technology to improve efficiency and grow sales.”
3. Be specific about the company
Your resume objective is your advertisement. If the hiring manager is reviewing your resume, they may send it to another member of the organization who might not see it right away — or not immediately.
So when you write your career objective, don’t just say, “Seeking an entry level administrative assistant position with ABC Company”. Instead, say, “Seeking a position as an administrative assistant with ABC Company, a leading manufacturer of widgets.” (Or whatever the organization focuses on.)
4. Don’t focus on yourself
Your resume is not the place to talk about your personal life or your hobbies. I know that you’re not applying for a job at a dating app — and you shouldn’t have anything in your resume that would make it sound like you are. So when you’re writing a career objective for your resume, don’t say something like: “Anxious to find a position where I can combine my love of dogs with my qualifications in public relations.”
Instead, zero in on the employer and what they want. (If it really is true that you love dogs, then save it for your cover letter or elsewhere — make sure your resume is focused on the employer.)
5. Use active words and power verbs
When you’re writing your career objective for your resume, make sure it’s clear and concise. Use active words to convey what experience you have that an employer will find valuable.
For example: “Able to increase profitability by 27% in three years.” Or: “Proficient at streamlining and improving production processes through the use of new technology.” In both of these cases, the skill is clearly stated right in the beginning — and that makes for a great resume objective. A resume objective is your first chance to make a strong impression.
Make it count. Remember your resume objective is your advertisement. It should be short and to the point, and it should get right to the point and state clearly what kind of career path you’re looking for. If you have to write a resume objective because you’ve been job searching for more than a year or two, then make sure your objective is highly specific about what you want.
Don’t use the same resume objective for every single job you apply for. Use it as a guide to give you some ideas when you’re writing your resume, but tailor it to each job that you apply for. That will make it that much stronger.
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