Pop quiz: what is the first section on your resume that belongs right below your contact information?
Most people would say either the resume summary or the resume objective. (If you came up with a different answer, we'd love to see it in the comments!)
This post isn't to compare and contrast the resume summary and resume objectives but to offer a career expert's professional opinion: you should never include an objective statement on your resume. It won't help you or a hiring professional.
This post will go over why the objective statement is no longer recommended, and then introduce the resume summary. By the end of this post, you'll know how to adjust the top of your resume to meet today's resume requirements.
Why shouldn't I include a resume objective statement?
A resume objective will not help you land an interview. A resume objective is outdated, boring, and fails to tell the hiring manager anything of importance. Putting an ineffective section at the top of your resume isn't helping you out! It could actually be costing you opportunities.
Here are the 3 main reasons why you should leave the objective off of your resume:
1. Objective statements offer little value to the employer
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 are more interested in what benefits their companies.
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."
Here is an example of an objective statement:
"I want a highly rewarding career where I can use my skills and knowledge to help the company and my coworkers be successful."
Don't we all? Couldn't any person applying for this position say the same thing? This doesn't help you stand out as a person to schedule an interview with!
2. Objective statements are boring
Starting your resume off with an objective statement will be considered a negative with most hiring managers.
You don't say anything that grabs their attention or anything unique about yourself. You may mention "skills and knowledge" but you don't specify what those are. The resume objective is generic...and boring.
3. Resume objectives are outdated
The use of an objective statement was once considered standard on resumes because people would stick to one career/position for decades. The hiring manager wanted to see that you would stick around with the company for the long term.
That is no longer the case as people are changing jobs faster than ever before. Building a successful career no longer means staying with one company long-term. These days, a resume objective statement signals that you are either new to the workforce or haven't written a resume in 10+ years.
In short, the resume objective no longer meets the hiring objectives in today's workforce.
Introducing: the resume summary
Instead of the objective statement, use the top section of your resume on a powerful summary that captures the attention of a hiring manager. Here is an example of one from our post on how to write an awesome resume summary:
Marketing director with six years’ experience leading teams in market research and innovative campaign design. Graduate of Number One Marketing University, 2002. In 2013, I led the team that created the You Can’t Say That campaign that won the Bravo Marketing Excellence in Messaging award. I was featured on the cover of Go, Marketing in September, 2014, for my work in launching the Crafty Marketers online forum earlier that year. I am a results-oriented and team-driven leader committed to mentoring new marketers and expanding the boundaries of marketing science and practical application.
You can see for yourself that this summary would be a lot more captivating and effective than the possible objective from the same applicant:
"Looking to obtain a marketing position where I can use my vast experience and skills to really benefit the company."
A resume summary does not answer "why are you applying for this job" but instead answers "why should I hire you for this job?" It is employer-focused, value-driven, and specific to you. No one else can make these claims: that is why the resume summary will win out over the objective statement every single time.
The objective statement is dull, boring and seen as uninspired by many hiring managers. When there are hundreds of applicants competing for a single position, you need to stand out. An objective statement fails to do that and could actually be a reason why you’re not getting interviews.
Use a powerful summary that tells the employer a bit about who you are and why you're qualified. The summary also allows you to take a more friendly and conversational tone where an objective doesn't. Use quantifiable achievements and captivating language to convince the employer that you're the perfect candidate for the position.
Good luck with your job search!
The ZipJob team is made up of professional writers located across the USA and Canada with backgrounds in HR, recruiting, career coaching, job placement, and professional writing.