Is Your Objective Statement Killing Your Resume

Without a doubt, the number one question we receive as Certified Professional Resume Writers is: ”Should I use an objective statement on my resume?” What do you think our answer is?

Well, the short answer is no, you should not use an objective statement on your resume. However, that answer doesn't seem to satisfy a lot of our readers, because I continue to see objective statements on resumes that cross my desk!

So, please trust me on this - don't use an objective statement on your resume! They are dated, provide zero information to your reader and are completely worthless. There, I said it. An objective statement is worthless!

A Brief History On Objective statements

So, this may not be a historical lesson as you might imagine, but humor me.

A long, long, long time ago, objective statements were the new hotness. In fact, objective statements have been commonly used on resumes for years. But, as companies have evolved, technology has rooted itself in your professional path and job functions have flexed, so have resumes (at least they should have). No longer is it enough to write a task based resume with a call out statement at the top that reads "I'd like to join a company where I..." (fill in the blank with your wish). Times have changed.

Objective statements were great in an era when a resume was designed to focus on one job or one critical function. However, the job market has changed since then, and careers are no longer narrowly focused. You likely wear many hats in your current role, and as you progress professionally, you'll wear many more. You contribute to various functions and can target your experience on your resume to encompass many things within a variety of positions. Because of this, an objective statement isn't recommended; it's simply too narrowly focused.

What Does Your Objective Statement Tell The Reader

Generally speaking, your objective statement tells the reader I have a handful of skills or personality traits that may, or may not be, relevant to your needs and I want a job title of XYZ. Some argue that is not what an objective statement is saying, but for most hiring managers, that is exactly what they take away from your boring one line objective statement.

To make matters worse, an objective statement can be a deal breaker for hiring managers and human resource teams whom review resumes from a black and white standpoint, leaving no room for personal interpretation.

For example, if a company is attempting to hire an Accountant with strong analytical skills, but your resume says you're focused on landing a role as a Financial Analyst, ding- you're out of consideration! It doesn't matter that as an analyst you understand accounting and are extremely analytical. You just said (in writing, which can never be erased from the readers mind) that you want a job title of Financial Analyst, not Accountant.

Instead of limiting yourself by job title or specific skill, broaden your scope by opening your resume with a professional summary or branding statement.

What Is A Professional Branding Statement

A professional branding statement, or summary, is a quick snapshot of your professional experience that highlights your most impactful traits! As you consider your branding statement, keep these tips in mind.

  • Provide a three or four sentence statement which tells the reader what your unique value proposition is.
  • Provide a brief explanation of your experience level in a certain field or industry.
  • Quickly touch on skillsets that may not readily jump out on your resume, but are highly sough after.
  • Target your professional summary to the job description for maximum impact; allowing the reader to quickly understand what skills you bring to the table which directly relate to their open role.

As you create your summary keep your professional brand in mind. What's the primary message you want to send to a hiring manager? How do you want to present yourself as a professional?

By taking a targeted approach, while using a broader brush, you'll easily step away from a traditional objective statement which narrowly points to one mission. Instead, you'll highlight your professional brand and unique skills that will provide immediate value to your next employer.

Still Want to Pull Your Hair Out?

We get it, writing a resume isn't easy. By the time you narrow down content, design and formatting you've already invested hours of time; provided you even have the free time to invest in writing your resume!

Instead of spinning your wheels, check out our easy to use resume writing options. Fresh content and an accomplishment based resume, written by a certified resume writer from your industry, eliminates stress and increases your success. Your career is important, don’t risk your dream job over a poorly constructed resume. Get Started Now!

About The Author

Recognized nationally as an industry leader in resume writing and career coaching, Jeanna McGinnis, CPRW is a Founding Board Member at ReResumeMe and AVP, Career Strategy at A Players Executive Search Group Inc. Leveraging more than 15 years of experience directing hiring practices for multiple Fortune 100 companies, Jeanna and her team are refreshing how busy professionals brand, market and drive their careers. Please connect with Jeanna on LinkedIn or the ReResumeMe team on Twitter to simplify your career with updates on careers, job search and resume best practices!