Resume Objective Statements: When to Add and When to Omit
Objective Statements Can Impact the Success of Your Resume
Your resume always includes your employment history and contact information, but does it also need an objective statement?
Some job hunters begin their resume with a short introductory statement, briefly summarizing their skills and why they should get the job. Most objective statements contain three parts: what job you want, why you should get it, and why you would benefit the company.
Some resume writers see objective statements as old-fashioned or redundant, and this can often be the case. In a few instances, however, an objective statements can focus your resume and catch your potential employer’s eye.
Consider omitting an objective statement if:
- you’re including a cover letter with your resume. The format of objective statements may sound suspiciously familiar– that’s because you probably said something similar in your cover letter! Rather than describe your qualifications again on your resume, leave off the objective statement. It can be repetitive and distract the reader from the employment details in your resume.
- you’re applying for a similar job to your past positions. Your resume already tells your potential employer what you’ve done and how your past jobs have prepared you. If the skills on your resume will impress your employer, let them speak for themselves without an objective statement.
- the job listing is unclear or the responsibilities are flexible. Since objective statements focus your employment goals, they can be limiting or meaningless if you’re not sure exactly what the job entails. An objective statement on your resume might pigeonhole you into one job.
Consider adding an objective statement when:
- you’re only asked for a resume. If your application does not include a cover letter and there are no references on your resume, an objective statement might help demonstrate your interest to an employer. Because objective statements are tailored specifically to the job, including one will signal that your resume is not a mass mailing but part of a thoughtful application.
- you’ve held unrelated jobs in the past. If your resume details experiences in different fields than the one you’re applying for, it might leave your prospective employer wondering why you’re changing paths. An objective statement on your resume will show why you want the change – and why you’ll succeed in a new environment.
- you have little to no prior experience on your resume. Students writing a resume for internships or writing a resume for entry-level jobs may lack a work history that reflects their useful skills or employment goals. Writing an objective statement at the top of your resume will remind your reader of your goals and abilities, even if you haven’t proven them on the job yet.
Your resume can say a lot without objective statements. But if you think your employer needs extra information he or she can’t get from your job history, preface your resume with an objective statement that clarifies who you are and what you can accomplish.