An objective statement is the part of the resume that lets employers know your intentions and gives them a glimpse as to why they should take the time to check you out. The objective statement has to say more than you want a job, though -- why else would you be sending the resume if you didn’t want a job?
An objective statement should clearly state the kind of job you’re looking for as well as the duties you expect to successfully perform at that job. For example: “I am interested in obtaining a position as a technology developer to utilize my extensive website and graphic design experience.” Use the job title that’s been advertised and then stick in a brief plug for yourself. You can’t get much clearer in this objective and it gives the recruiter just enough information to get her to continue reading.
Get to the point right away. And keep it short. The purpose of an objective statement is to whet the recruiter’s whistle, not rehash the resume. It’s also not the place to wax poetic. Use no more than one or two sentences that spell out the title of the job you want and focus on the skills or credentials you possess. For example: “To obtain a position as a CNA to provide compassionate care for patients and utilize the skills learned in the CNA certification course I successfully completed.” The recruiter in this example doesn’t have to wonder if you have the basic credentials for the job. You let her know straight out in a concise statement at the top of your resume.
Keep it professional. You may think that you will grab attention by using a cute or catchy objective, but this isn’t the time to get creative. Save that for the interview, which hopefully you’ll get with a professional, polished resume. Avoid jargon and clichés too -- they’re a waste of ink and can hurt your credibility. So instead of saying “I’m ready to hop on board the profitability train as a winning player on the team called success,” try: “To bring my extensive sales experience to the ABC Furniture Company to increase profits for the company and improve customer satisfaction.” Tap into the needs of the company rather than your own needs.
This isn’t just a job, it’s a career -- or so you need recruiters to believe. As such, you can use the objective statement to relay that idea. When it’s written with your career goals in mind as well as the company that you’re applying to, you target the resume and increase the odds of landing an interview. For example: “Seeking an administrative assistant position where I can utilize the excellent organizational and customer-oriented skills obtained while pursuing a management degree.” This objective statement hints that you’re still in school or that you are ultimately interested in a management position, showing the employer that you have initiative and professional aspirations -- attributes most employers appreciate.
Linda Ray is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years reporting experience. She's covered business for newspapers and magazines, including the "Greenville News," "Success Magazine" and "American City Business Journals." Ray holds a journalism degree and teaches writing, career development and an FDIC course called "Money Smart."