Resume: Objective or No Objective? Get Advice.
Answer: The Objective section of a resume exemplifies much of what is tricky about a resume: using a tiny space to convince an employer that you are “the one” for their organization.
Ricki Ilene Curry, a Workforce1 Resume Workshop Trainer, has helped thousands of New Yorkers revise their resumes and get to the next step in their career. So, we asked Ricki to lend her expertise to this question. Here is what she had to say:
There is no one perfect resume format. Your resume is your employment story.
Think about it like a book. When I go into a bookstore, I pick up a book and read the first page. If I like the first page, I buy it. If I don’t, I put it back on the shelf.
Your “first page” is whatever you put at the top of your resume, after your contact information. Make your “first page” meaningful. Make a hiring decision-maker want to read more.
An Objective needs to answer this question: “Why should I (Mr. or Ms. Hiring Decision-Maker) hire you?”
If you can explain what you can do for the employer, an Objective is a powerful “first page” – it tells a reader in just a few sentences that you are a fit for his/her job opening. Objectives are especially helpful if you are changing careers, if your work experience is not an obvious match to the job opening, or if you want to offer some explanation of your resume. On the other hand, a weak Objective – one that is poorly written, not specific to the job you are applying to, or not unique to you – can stop someone from reading the rest of your resume.
Think about your situation when deciding whether or not to use an Objective as your “first page.” Will you spend the time writing, getting feedback (from a mentor, a trusted friend, or from professionals like those at Workforce1), and re-writing your Objective to make it strong? Would an Objective help explain your resume?
If you do decide to use an Objective, follow these DOs and DON’Ts to create a powerful opener to your resume:
- DO use the title of the job that you are applying to. (Yes: Seeking a job as a Bookkeeper.)
- DON’T include more than one job title in the objective. (No: Seeking a job as a Bookkeeper or Bank Teller.)
- DO focus on what the employer wants. You will need to tweak your Objective every time you send your resume out to explain what you can do for that employer. (Yes: Seeking a Bookkeeping position where I can apply my 4 years of QuickBooks and payroll management experience.)
- DON’T focus on what you want. Employers might not be opposed to you “finding a position where I can learn and grow,” but it isn’t their primary concern. (No: Seeking a position where I can grow.)
- DO tell what is unique about you. (Yes: Seeking a Bookkeeping position where I can apply my 4 years of experience using QuickBooks and managing payroll in a marketing company with 50 employees.)
- DON’T throw together a bunch of general “buzzwords” that could apply to hundreds of applicants. If your Objective could also apply to the person sitting next to you, it’s not a good Objective. (No: I’m a motivated worker who multi-tasks in a timely manner.)
- DO support your Objective with examples in your Work History and Education. (Yes: Your Objective says you have 4 years of QuickBooks experience and your Work History shows this experience.)
- DON’T have a disconnect between your Objective and the rest of your resume. (No: An Objective about your Bookkeeping experience and a Work History with only Security experience.)