Should You Include an Objective on a Resume

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There’s a lot of confusion about one small element of a resume: the objective. Certain experts say it still needs to be included, while others advise you to avoid it altogether.

What’s the right answer? Do you write an objective or simply skip it?

The short answer is to skip it. Resume objectives are a thing of the past. They used to be included on the top of every resume. However, they really serve no purpose because they state the obvious – you’re searching for a job similar to what the potential employer is offering.

Not only are resume objectives dated, they’re also a waste. Your resume needs to be short and sweet since hiring managers only spend a few seconds on each one. An objective takes up valuable real estate space at the very top of your resume – right where you need to be making your case as to why a hiring manager should call you for an interview. In this way, they can actually work against you.

Another reason you should avoid an objective is because it's all about you. The hiring manager wants to know what you, the candidate, can do for them. What skills, abilities and value do you bring to the table? By stating you’re looking for a job and what kind of job you want, you’re making it about you. This isn’t a good way to introduce yourself.

Finally, since resume objectives are out-of-date, if you do include one, it might make you look out-of-step in terms of modern best practices. You don’t want a hiring manager second-guessing calling you simply because you included an objective at the top of your resume.

So, the question becomes: should you jump right into your work history or replace the objective with something else? Here are three different approaches to take.

Approach #1: Summary of Qualifications.

One approach to take is to include a Summary of Qualifications or a Summary of Strengths instead. This showcases your most relevant skills and achievements, above the fold, front and center, where hiring managers will take notice.

They don’t have to read through your entire resume to see why you’re a good fit. Instead, you’re making it easy by listing three to five points at the top in bulleted format.  

Here’s an example:

  • 15 years of experience as a senior administrative assistant.
  • Promoted three times over the past five years into new leadership roles.
  • Highly literate in applications and software programs, from MS Word to Salesforce.
  • Won top-performing employee award twice since joining current employer.
  • Experience ranging from creating dynamic presentations, assembling reports, and managing expenses to answering phone calls and making travel arrangements.

Approach #2: Summary Statement.

Another option is to include a Summary Statement instead. This is similar to your About summary on your LinkedIn profile. The objective of it is to explain who you are and what you can do for them in a compelling way. Instead of leading with a statement that requests employment, you’re explaining why you’re a good fit for the role, from your relevant skills and expertise to credentials and more.

Here’s an example:

Experienced and enthusiastic senior administrative assistant with more than 15 years of experience, earning three promotions in five years with current employer. Versatile in all areas of administration from presentation and report creation to managing expenses and making travel arrangements. Strong background in software of all kinds, from Salesforce to MS Office and boasting two awards for excellent performance, again from current employer. Calm, flexible, and excited for an opportunity with an innovative company.

Approach #3: Avoid an Intro.

You can just avoid this altogether and dive right into your work history. There is no hard-fast rule that says you must include an intro, like a Summary of Qualifications of Summary Statement. If you have the experience to back up your claim that you’re the best fit for the job, then it might be best to jump right into why showcasing your previous roles and accomplishments.

In whatever approach you take, keep one tip in mind: your goal is to show you can add value to the potential employer. So focus on the pertinent skills and achievements that best make your case.

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