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How To Write Your Career Objective Statement

Career Objective Statement Basics

The career objective section belongs in the claims division of your resume. Your objective section is one of the options you have to tell an employer why she should bring you into her organization.

Opinions Are Divided About Using A Career Objective Section

Opinions on whether to include a separate objective section are seriously divided. There are clearly two primary positions on objective statements.

Some Employers Want A Career Objective Section

Some employers, issue strong statements desiring to see a well written objective statement. Some even view the lack of an objective statement as a significant weakness.

The case for the objective section is that employers sometimes do not know what you want to do for them, and do not feel it is their responsibility to figure it out for you. They want you to tell them immediately and succinctly why they should consider interviewing you.

One way to let an employer know what you want is to put a specific statement into an objective section

Some Employers Think
A Separate Career Objective Section Is Redundant

On the other hand, other employers will plainly see from the work experience, acquired knowledge base, and acquired skills whether or not you should be considered for a position, and believe a separate career objective section is redundant.

For these positions, an objective statement can be less than helpful. If you are needing the extra resume real estate to identify your experience, skills or knowledge, you just might be better off leaving out an objective statement, and getting your message across some other way.

Another possible negative effect of a career objective statement is to take up valuable resume real estate that could be better used to describe skills or accomplishments you need to feature.

The REAL Issue With
Writing A Separate Career Objective Section

Whether you choose to use a separate objective section or not, your employment documents must make crystal clear

  • The reason you want to associate with a company
  • What you want to do for them
  • Your qualifications and
  • Appropriateness for the job you pursue
If you fail to provide that clarity somewhere in your resume documents, there is little point in submitting a resume for a highly competitive position.

There are times when separate objective sections are appropriate, and times when they can be detrimental to your success at getting an interview.

If you are sending resumes to several organizations without responding to a specific position advertisement, an objective statement can be a double-edged sword. If one of those organizations happens to have what you have identified as your objective, a well written, brief objective statement can make your resume land in front of the person making a decision about that position.

On the other hand, a career objective statement may influence a screener to remove your resume from consideration for other positions for which you may otherwise be qualified and would consider taking if offered.

The only real issues are where and how do you best tell an employer what you want to do for him.

Your approach to a career objective should be more on the order of whether it is helpful in persuading a reader to grant you an interview.

Alternatives To A Separate Career Objective Section

As long as you handle it somewhere else in your documents, the separate objective section declines in importance.

Your career history, skills, accomplishments and education may be more than sufficient to identify you as qualified for the position. In such cases, a well written professional summary may be the more effective way to go.

If you are more broad based in positions you would accept and if you want to try to lessen the detrimental effects of a narrowly focused objective statement, you may try to address the matter in a cover letter or a professional summary statement rather than with a separate career objective statement.

In the end, you must make a decision based on what you are trying to do with your resume, and which approach is most helpful.

Writing Your Career Objective Section

If you choose to write an objective statement, you want to answer some basic questions.

  • How do you see yourself fitting into the organization?
  • What, exactly, do you want to do?
  • What kind of organization do you want to work for?
You will need to:
  • Identify organizational level or position title you seek
  • Identify the part of the organization you want to join.
  • Identify the skills, training or knowledge you wish to contribute to the organization
There are several ways you can write your objective section.

One is a very simple formula. Begin with the word, "To," and continue by identifying the job for which you are applying.

Example: To work as a Chemical Engineer III directing a research team in the development of a distribution system for hydrogen fuel celled vehicles.

Another way you can write an objective section is to identify the job function you wish to fill, why you think you are qualified, and what you want to do in the organization. You may wish to build a statement in the form of: Seeking (position name) in (industry) that requires (my specialized experience, knowledge, skills and abilities) to (identify what you hope to do for the company with which you seek employment). This form of an objective statement is usually much more effective because it answers both the what you seek question, and why you think you are qualified in one brief capsule.

Example: Seeking an executive position in the financial services industry that requires my 15 years experience doing work-out turn-arounds and my specialized knowledge of the banking and finance laws to acquire corporate assets to build the financial statement, fulfill the needs of customers and increase market position.

  • Only include a single objective in a resume.
  • Make it long enough to define what you want to do for the company, but brief enough to be concise.
  • Make it specifically targeted to the position you want.
  • Remove all adjectives, fluff, puffery and dreamy monologue.
  • Do not state you want a "challenging position" or write bland, insipid statements that are so generalized they say nothing.
  • Target something precisely.
  • Anything more than a single objective indicates lack of focus, could be interpreted poorly by reviewers.
  • Keep focus on what you can contribute to the organization rather than what you want from the organization.
  • Make sure it is realistic and achievable.
  • Let your interest areas be known.
  • However, be sure your writing is targeted.
You are more interested in specific language that has a single target clearly in focus, than in vague generalities that just hope something pops up somewhere.

You are not writing fiction. You are attempting to gain the attention of a very tough screener whose job is to remove as many resumes from consideration as possible within the first 20 seconds of viewing. You need to

  • Grab her attention
  • Pique her interest
  • Direct her to the rest of the document and
  • Call her to action
A well written objective statement has the capability of doing the first three.

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