Objective: To get hired for this job. Because you’re hiring, and I need a job. Isn’t that what every objective statement at the top of a resume really means? Every inch of space on your resume is precious real estate. Here’s when and why to use an objective statement:
DON'T - Your education and previous positions are consistent with the industry you are applying to.
This is a situation where an objective statement could be hurting, rather than helping you. If you are staying within the same industry, your resume and cover letter should already heavily reflect your objective and intention regarding applying to the position/organization. In this case, your objective statement could be using up 2-3 lines of valuable space where you could be including other relevant experiences that show your qualifications.
DO - You’re making a career change.
If there were ever a time to continue using an objective statement, this would be it. Yes, your cover letter should highly reflect the cause and motivation behind your career change - but your resume is often the key tool in the job search process and with the objective statement sitting at the top of it, this is the perfect opportunity to sell yourself. Your resume may be looked at before the cover letter is given a chance, and this will help the reviewer of your resume understand why they should still keep you in consideration for the position instead of brushing you off. Your objective statement should highlight key skills you are bringing with you to benefit the position and organization you are applying to.
DO - When you’re not applying to a specific job posting.
When the job you're applying to isn't clear, craft up a generalized objective statement. It still needs to clarify your skills and motivation to be in that industry. Examples of when you would use this type of objective statement are at a career fair, networking event, conference, cold outreach, with connections/mentors, and when uploading your resume to a general website.
If You Choose to Use an Objective Statement
- Your objective statement should change with each position/organization you apply to.• It should address specific skills, preferably hard (technical/industry specific) skills rather than soft (interpersonal) skills and be clear on how they will be applied in the new position.
- The objective statement needs to show your value-add quickly and be employer centered, as employers can take less than 1 minute reviewing a resume initially.
- It is not a black and white answer of whether you should use an objective statement or not. Evaluate each application individually and decide if having one would serve as a strategic tool for you or not.