Is the Resume Objective Statement a Thing of the Past?
If you’ve looked at a lot of resumes, you’re certainly familiar with the objective statement. This is the intro to a resume, which explains the candidate’s intent in applying for the job. This has been a staple of resumes for decades. However, times are changing, and a lot of people are wondering if the objective statement is even relevant anymore.
We’ve done our research to see what hiring experts are saying, and the simple answer is yes, the objective statement is a bit outdated. However, the truth is a little bit more complex than that.
What are the experts saying?
Here’s a statement by Lisa Parker, a Certified Professional Résumé Writer for Parker-CPRW, Professional Résumé Presentations:
The only thing an employer or business owner is interested in, are the tangible assets you will bring to the organization. In other words, when an employer scans your resume they will be looking for “value.”
We think this sums up the problem with objective statements quite well; the objective statement provides very little value to a potential employer. It focuses on what the candidate wants rather than what the company wants, while the person doing the hiring is focused on what’s best for the company.
Lisa Parker isn’t alone in this sentiment. According to an article on the website TopResume:
Plain and simple, a career statement talks about what you will do for your employer, whereas a professional resume objective talks about what you want them to do for you. When you opt or a resume objective statement in today’s job-search climate, you’re sending the wrong signals to prospective employers.
And this comes from a separate article, also on TopResume:
Resume objective statements talk about the type of job you want when it should focus on what you can offer a potential employer. Remember, you’re writing this resume for recruiters and hiring managers to read. Instead of listing out your needs and wants, use this space to deliver your elevator pitch.
An article on ZipJob makes the same case using a different assembly of words:
A resume objective provides very little value as it basically tells the employer what your career goals are. The issue is that most hiring managers could care less, they’re interested in what benefits the company. Also, if they’ve been hiring people for any length of time, they’ve seen every iteration of “I need a job, please hire me.”
The Muse has a snarkier take:
The vast majority of resume objectives say nothing. Oh, so you’re seeking a challenging position with a growing corporation that will allow you to make a positive contribution, are you? How groundbreaking.
Are you convinced yet? A resume objective is seen as a self-focused waste of space in a medium where space is of the utmost importance (your resume should only be a single page). And here’s the clincher: Even if you disagree with this sentiment, the person who is reading your resume probably lives by it. Your objective statement is doing more harm than good.
However, the objective doesn’t be removed entirely; it can be revised into something more potent to make you stand out to potential employers.
The objective statement hasn’t died; it has simply evolved
Instead of an objective statement, it’s a good idea to lead your resume with a summary. A summary actually isn’t that much different from an objective, except that it removes the self-serving part and focuses on your skillset (which is the important part).
Here’s an example of an objective statement:
I am a marketing specialist with 10 years of experience, seeking to contribute my extensive skills to a diverse workplace.
This downplays the person’s skill set while focusing on career goals. However, we were able to fix it with just a little bit of revision. Here’s that same statement, only written as a summary instead of an objective:
Marketing specialist with 10 years of experience with a history of meeting deadlines and exceeding expectations.
The latter is actually shorter, but you can probably see how much more “punch” it has. Imagine for a moment that you’re a hiring manager and you’re handed two resumes. The only difference between the two is that one has the former objective statement while the other has the latter summary. Which one would you choose?
The resume objective is considered outdated because it focuses on the needs of the applicant instead of the needs of the company. With some light revision, an objective can be transformed into a summary, which is a much stronger opening.
If you want more tips on crafting a perfect resume, check out our articles “Five Essential Tips for Writing Medical Resumes” and “Creative Ways to Spice Up Your Resume.”