Setting an objective can demonstrate that you are focused. Objectives do little good, however, if they are not specific enough. If you use an objective that states: “Position utilizing my people skills” it’s simply too general. It clarifies nothing, and won’t give the employer a clue about what you are looking for.

The following objective is somewhat better, in that it describes a job utilizing certain skills, and for some people it might provide just the right information. “Objective: Seek a position utilizing my administrative, customer service, and project management skills.”

While an objective can be very helpful, avoid the common mistake of trying to cram too much into it such as, “Seeking responsible accounting management position with a large progressive firm offering opportunity for growth and promotion, where skills in human relations and effective written communications will prove beneficial.” Sounds trite and overblown, no?

In most cases, your objective is the job you are applying for and your resume will be read accordingly, with or without this addition. That means its real purpose is in the focus it demonstrates, especially if you are transitioning into a different career or discipline. In these cases the objective shows you are truly serious about the job and not just shotgunning resumes all over Dodge City.

An objective can serve to keep you focused while you write the resume. Before starting, write out your objective; you can alter or delete it later.

Simple objectives are probably the most effective. Software Engineer, Administrative Assistant, Bookkeeper, Chemist, or Construction Superintendent get the point across with the least amount of hyperbole.

Stating an objective on your resume is a way to demonstrate your focus. A resume that says, “I’ll do anything, just give me a job” will get you nowhere. If your objective reads “Sales Representative” but you have limited or no experience, everything that follows must demonstrate your potential for that position.

Parallel objeCtiVeS

If you are considering positions that are closely related, you might try something like this:

OBJECTIVE: Office Manager/Administrative Assistant/Executive Secretary

As these three positions are similar, it is likely the candidate is qualified for each. In fact, job titles are often used interchangeably and one firm’s Administrative Assistant is another’s Executive Secretary. Using all three titles as parallel objectives covers all the bases.

Never pair unrelated job titles such as Secretary/Sales Representative, Teacher/Real Estate Agent, Flight Attendant/Bookkeeper. It’s fine to simultaneously be seeking diverse positions, but not in the same resume.

If you have a professional credential by your name and are looking for a traditional position in that field, consider using it as your objective. For example:

Catherine Toopsly, CPA Dehlia Bohannon, RN Jihan Refelda, PE

Some candidates prefer to use their professional designations as part of the heading. In the examples below, the type of position being sought is pretty clear.

tom wells

International Marketing Professional

2398 Saxon Drive Birmingham, Alabama 35209 206.876.9867

tom wells

2398 Saxon Drive Birmingham, Alabama 35209 206-876-9867

International Marketing Professional

jack gleason CPA

34 Elm Street Charles Town, West Virginia 25414

(304) 555-6362

Highly experienced CFO / VP of Finance

laticia Collins

4236 Penny Lane Ottawa, Ontario, Canada M3K 4C9 613.555-5674

Registered Nurse with ten years’ OR experience

Entitions ry-level Pos

Phrases such as “Seeking entry-level chemistry position” are usually appropriate when the candidate’s education or experience warrant it, or for those making a career change and willing to start at the beginning.

When Not to Use a Job Title

Sometimes stating an exact job title is not advised. This is particularly true in management. If you are currently a human resources manager considering any one of the following positions: Training and Development Specialist, Director of Training and Development, or Vice President of Human Resources, you might want to create an objective that incorporates all of these titles, such as “OBJECTIVE: Human Resources Management.” Using the term management does not limit you to a specific job title, while Human Resources demonstrates your professional focus.

When to Use an Objective

To sum up, use an objective if your goal can be simply stated with a job title, professional credential, or a descriptive phrase. Occasionally you will find it better to omit an objective and let your cover letter and the tone of your Qualifications section indicate your goal. Though most resumes will benefit from an objective, it is certainly not a requirement.

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