Writing a resume can be a long and daunting process. What do you highlight about yourself? Are you properly conveying how amazing you are? Those are just some of the many questions job applicants ask themselves. One of the biggest questions, however, is what to do with that little blurb right at the top. You know what we’re talking about: the objective statement.
The objective statement says why you’re right person for a job and it is supposed to encapsulate who you are as an applicant. Unsurprisingly, the objective statement needs to be as impressive as the experience and skills that come after it.
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When Should I Use an Objective Statement?
Despite some saying that the objective statement is getting outdated, it’s still a good idea to have one on your resume. There are plenty of instances where having one could be the difference between getting or not getting the job.
Here’s when you should use one:
- You’re just out of school and are entering the workforce for the first time
- You are willing to relocate (having an out-of-town address could confuse the hiring manager and they’ll disqualify you)
- You are changing industries, meaning you need to explain why
Here are some tips on how to write that amazing objective statement.
Get to the Point!
Think of the objective statement as an appetizer. It’s meant to wow the HR rep who’s reading it. You want to convince them that it would be a dumb move on their part if they don’t interview you. Once you get the interview, then you can go more in-depth.
One reason people insult the objective statement is because they think it’s narcissistic—applicants can tend to ramble on about themselves and what they’ve accomplished, instead of saying how they can help the company. If you stay concise—not just in your objective statement, but throughout the interview process—your chances of getting the job will dramatically go up.
An objective statement is an appetizer of sorts, designed to “wow” the HR department enough to convince them to conduct an introductory interview with you, typically over the phone. During your interview you can talk more about your skills and experience, but you don’t want to go overboard here either.
Here’s an objective statement that gets to the point:
“Ambitious and experienced technical support professional with proven success managing the help desk for an international corporation. Seeking an opportunity to use my five years experience to serve a nonprofit organization.”
Don’t Use the Same One Every Time
There’s nothing worse in the job search process than “one size fits all.” What worked at one place won’t necessarily work at another. The whole point of the statement is to tell the hiring manager why you’re the best for that particular job. Why did you apply to their company? Why are you the best person for their company?
Beyond giving you a tailored resume for a certain company/industry, when you’re in the interview and the hiring manager asks you why you decided to apply to that position, you can use what you wrote in your objective statement to remind yourself what to say. You’ve probably interviewed at a bunch of places, so this will remind you of the specifics of where you are currently interviewing.
Here’s an objective statement that can be more tailored to a particular position:
“Current accountant with more than fifteen years experience in the field of finance seeking a tax advisor position when I relocate to Boston in May. I am excited to apply my tax knowledge and related skills and grow my experience as part of your established institution.
You need to make sure that the goals you outline in your objective statement are actually aligned with what the company is able to fulfill. Some people will say in the objective statement that the job they’re applying to will help them land a dream job in the future. All this tells the company is what you want, but it doesn’t tell them how you’ll make them better.
Here’s an example: you just graduated high school and you’re applying for your first job as a cashier at a local store. Instead of saying you want the job because you eventually want to be a cashier, say that you’re great people and organizational skills will make you a more efficient cashier. This shows the company how you can help them.
Here’s a how you might want your objective statement to sound in this situation:
“I am a highly driven team player and aspiring store manager with proven analytical skills seeking to grow my knowledge of the retail industry by using my communication skills as a retail associate for your department store.”
Talk About Your Degrees, Certifications, or Licenses
Putting in a quick blurb in the objective statement that talks about your certificates, degrees, etc. that you’ve acquired over the years (that are relevant to the job, of course), is a great way to start your resume. The objective statement should be somewhat of an outline. It needs to tell the reader “if this sounds good to you, keep reading.” When you put this information in it, you’re immediately telling the hiring manager what you bring to the table.