Why Resume Objectives Suck (and Some Career Summaries Too)?

‘Looking for an accounting position within a reputable company’

‘Searching for a new challenge where I can develop my skills and experience’

’Experienced business analyst seeking a position within a growing real estate agency’

This is how a resume objective usually looks like. Such objective statements that appear at the beginning of resumes have nothing to do with an effective resume writing approach. More than that, such statements often annoy the hiring managers and will likely backfire more often than they will get you an interview invitation. Therefore, using resume objectives to start your most powerful self-marketing document is not the best idea. At least if by a resume objective you mean a statement similar to those provided above.

Why Using a Resume Objective is a Bad Idea?

A resume objective is a one or two-sentence statement containing a candidate’s employment goals usually placed at the beginning of a resume or CV. Now the problem lies in the term itself. When you are writing a resume, you are thinking about crafting a document that will get you a job. This is normal. However, when trying to get the attention of the hiring authorities you shouldn’t focus on your objectives (all classic resume objectives focus on nothing else but what you want). In fact, hiring managers don’t care about your own objectives. All they really care about is their own objectives (which makes sense). The only time they want to know your objective is when your goals and desires coincide with their interests. So unless you don't really know what the employer wants, telling upfront about your wants and needs will often do more harm than good.

Besides, when employers have the position to fill, they are generally looking for someone possessing specific skills to address the gap in the company. The majority of objective statements (if not all of them) are very broad and don’t mean anything for employers. In other words, there is no valuable information there for people making the hiring decisions. So before putting a resume objective on your resume, think twice if it is going to annoy the person reviewing your application.

Let’s have another look at the objective statements provided at the very beginning and see what they actually communicate.

Bad Resume Objective Examples

The fact that you are submitting your application to the employer implies you are looking for a job. Besides, when you send your resume you have to mention the position you are applying for (either in the email’s subject line or in the application form) so repeating this information on a resume does nothing but make you state the obvious. The reputable company clause is too vague and will not strike the employers’ ego. They know what kind of company they are regardless of what anybody says.

This one introduces the concept of a new challenge. Although it sounds different from the previous resume objective, in essence, it is identical to it. The thing is that a new job always assumes a new challenge so you might as well have said that you are looking for a new position. The desire to develop your skills and expertise is nice but is generally expected from all candidates by default. Again, just like with the previous resume objective, it provides no specific information as to how you can be helpful to your prospective employer.

This resume objective contains more specific information as to what the candidate wants but only when it comes to the company he/she wants to work for (as opposed to the things he would like to do for the company). Again, this is not helpful for prospective employers. Their objective is to understand how you can help the company. The only good thing about this resume objective is that it says that the candidate is an experienced business analyst which gives a hint at a certain set of skills and experience the candidate can offer.

Any Good Resume Objective Examples?

It is hard to provide good examples of effective objective statements without the context of specific jobs and their requirements. Just like with career summaries, for objectives to be effective they must be tailored to the needs of the employer. Here are some of the resume objectives examples that aren’t that bad:

These objective statements have a much better chance at not annoying the hiring managers and even giving them a glimpse of your experience and skills. However, all of these statements look more like brief summary statements. Regardless of what you name them, they are a much better option than the vague objectives provided at the very beginning of the article.

Career Summaries Can Suck Too

A career summary (sometimes also called profile, summary, or overview of qualification) is a better option than an objective statement because it provides a format that allows highlighting more of your relevant skills and qualifications. This way the hiring authorities will be able to quickly get a picture of who you are and what you can offer by reading a couple of sentences of this section. However, the fact that a summary section provides more opportunities, it doesn’t make it more effective by default. Career summaries should be tailored just like any other part of the resume. Because this section usually placed on the top, job seekers should pay special attention and customize it to the needs and wants of the prospective employer. To cut the story short, some summary statements can say absolutely nothing good to the hiring manager. Let’s take this example of a summary section:

This kind of summaries accomplishes pretty much the same goal as the resume objectives mentioned at the beginning of this article. There is only one thing the hiring manager can tell based on this career summary section – the candidate is obviously seeking a sales job. Everything else is too vague. No specific information wanted by employers is provided. What does ‘global sales leadership’ mean? What were all ‘new business initiatives’ about? Besides, not many hiring managers think of their companies as having a ‘highly demanding environment of success and reward’. You can question any single sentence on this summary as it provides little insight into the specific skills and qualifications of the candidate.

For a summary section to be effective, it must be specific and relevant. In other words, it should be a specific description of what you have accomplished – something that will directly relate to the target position and the prospective employer. Here is an example:

Obviously, this kind of career summary is very specific and would attract the attention of hiring managers looking for this type of skills and experience. So unless your summary section or objective statement can be that specific, it’s best not to include one at all.

Feel free to check our article on how to organize your resume sections effectively to make sure your entire document is geared toward success. 

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