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Resume Objective

Writing objective statements can be one of the most challenging parts of creating an effective resume. Below you'll find some strategies and options to help you make the most of yours.

What is an Objective Statement?

Immediately below the top section of a resume (containing your name, address, etc.), there is usually a short section with one of these headings: "objective," "professional objective," "resume capsule," or "career goals." Most often the objective statement includes 1-3 line of text, summarizing the position(s) you are applying for and/or your main qualifications. While some writers choose to use a sentence format, many objective statements are simply descriptive phrases with minimal punctuation.

Why Write an Objective Statement?

Objective statements improve your resume by helping you

  • emphasize your main qualifications and summarize them for readers
  • inform your readers of the position(s) you are seeking and your career goals
  • establish your professional identity

Tailoring for Your Audience

To improve your chances for success, it's always a good idea to tailor your objective statement (as well as your whole resume and cover letter) to particular organizations and/or positions. This means, for example, calling a position by the name the company uses to describe it. You might even indicate the organization's name in your statement. Strive to match your qualifications with those desired by the organization. If you are unsure what your resume's readers will be looking for, you'll need to do some research to give your objective statement a competitive edge.

Questions to Ask

Before drafting or revising your objective statement, you will find it helpful to answer as many of the following questions as possible.

About You About the Company or Organization
What are your main qualifications (strengths, skills, areas of expertise) Which of your qualifications are most desired by your resume's readers?
What positions (or range of positions) do you seek? What position titles (or range or positions) are available?
What are your professional goals? What are some goals of the organizations that interest you?
What type of organization or work setting are you interested in? What types of organizations or work settings are now hiring?

Being Specific

The most common mistake made in writing objective statements is being too general and vague in describing either the position desired or your qualifications. For example, some objective statements read like this:

An internship allowing me to utilize my knowledge and expertise in different areas.

Such an objective statement raises more questions than it answers: What kind of internship? What knowledge? What kinds of expertise? Which areas? Be as specific as possible in your objective statement to help your readers see what you have to offer "at a glance."

Common Approaches

If you know or want to emphasize...  You might experiment with one or more of these formats...  Samples
a specific position (or two) and your main relevant qualifications A position as a [name or type of position] allowing me to use my [qualifications] 

To utilize my [qualifications] as a [position title]

A position as a Support Specialist allowing me to use my skills in the fields of computer science and management information systems
the field or type of organization you want to work in

and  your professional goal

or your main qualifications

An opportunity to [professional goal] in a[type of organization, work environment, or field] 

To enter [type of organization, work environment, or field] allowing me to use my [qualifications]

 An opportunity to obtain a loan officer position, with eventual advancement to vice president for lending services, in a growth-oriented bank 

To join an aircraft research team allowing me to apply my knowledge of avionics and aircraft electrical systems

 your professional or career goal  

or an organizational goal

To [professional goal] 

 An opportunity to [professional goal]

To help children and families in troubled situations by utilizing my child protection services background
a specific position desired [position name] Technical writer specializing in user documentation

Some Variations to Try

  • Integrate key words and phrases used in the job advertisement(s)
  • Play with word choices to fit your strengths and your readers' expectations. You might try
    • substituting for "use" words like "develop," "apply," or "employ," etc.
    • replacing "allowing me" with "requiring" or "giving me the opportunity," etc.
    • changing "enter" to "join," "pursue," "obtain," "become a member," "contribute," etc.
  • Blend two or more of the above generic models or create your own!

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