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- Categorized in: Resume Tips
A career objective is a concise statement of your current career goals. It is often stated on the resume, and may contain:
§ Your functional area of interest (sales, data processing, research, your major field . . .)
§ The type of agency or organization you want to work for (government, manufacturing, social services, natural resources, financial institution, advertising . . .)
§ The size and scope of the organization (large, small, local, regional, international) if this is important to you, and perhaps the specific population with which you want to work (family farmers, children with disabilities, older adults . . .)
§ Level of position (generally "entry level" for new graduates, "intern" for internships, "temporary" or "part time" for summers)
§ Eventual goals (where you would like to be in five years)
According to employers, one of the greatest weaknesses of candidates interviewing for jobs is a lack of clear career goals and evidence of self-assessment.
You need to be able to describe your goals to employers clearly and concisely: What is it that you want to be doing? In what kind of organization? What steps do you plan to take to achieve your goals? As part of your self-assessment, you need to prepare to answer questions such as these.
Some people include career objectives on their résumés. In fact, some employers say that they expect to see objectives on résumés. Should you include yours?
If you choose to do so, be sure that the objective is appropriate for the position you are applying for. You may want to have separate résumés with different objectives for different kinds of jobs. (Actually, you should tailor your résumé for each position you apply for.) If your objective is inappropriate, in all likelihood you'll quickly be dropped from consideration.
Consider describing your objective in your cover letter instead. After all, you'll write a new cover letter for each job you apply for. That will make it easier to customize your objective for each position. (You should be aware that those who believe that objectives belong on résumés argue that your résumé may be circulated without your cover letter.)
What should you include in your objective? Describe the level and type of position you are seeking, the kind of environment in which you hope to work, and the skills you want to use. You must be as specific as possible.
For example, you might have an objective like this one:
Seeking an entry-level public relations position in a community agency in which I can use my excellent public speaking, writing, and customer service skills.
On your résumé, you will need to document the skills you mention in your objective. You should also include supporting items in your portfolio and be prepared to give examples of how you have used each skill in your interviews.
When writing a career objective statement avoid using terms such as “opportunity for advancement,” “a challenging position,” “position dealing with people,” “a progressive company,” “a position that requires creativity,” “a company that recognizes...” Your aim is to emphasize what you can do for the employer, not what you want from the employer in terms of opportunities or conditions of employment.
It is not necessary to use the same objective throughout your job search; you can enhance your flexibility by using different formats with different employers. You may want to develop several slightly different resumes with each reflecting the abilities and aspirations set forth in the objective statement.
Here's how to write your objective.
First of all, decide on a specific job title for your objective. Go back to your list of answers to the question "How can I demonstrate that I am the perfect candidate?" What are the two or three qualities, abilities or achievements that would make a candidate stand out as truly exceptional for that specific job?
The person in the above example recognized that the prospective employer, being a small, growing software company, would be very interested in candidates with an ability to generate new accounts. So they made that the very first point they got across in their resume.
Be sure the objective is to the point. Do not use fluffy phrases that are obvious or do not mean anything, such as: "allowing the ability to enhance potential and utilize experience in new challenges." An objective may be broad and still somewhat undefined in some cases, such as: "a mid-level management position in the hospitality or entertainment industry."
Remember, your resume will only get a few seconds attention, at best! You have to generate interest right away, in the first sentence they lay their eyes on. Having an objective statement that really sizzles is highly effective. And it's simple to do. One format is:
OBJECTIVE: An xxx position in an organization where yyy and zzz would be needed (or, in an organization seeking yyy and zzz).
Xxx is the name of the position you are applying for. Yyy and zzz are the most compelling qualities, abilities or achievements that will really make you stand out above the crowd of applicants. Your previous research to find out what is most important to the employer will provide the information to fill in yyy and zzz.
If you are applying for several different positions, you should adapt your resume to each one. There is nothing wrong with having several different resumes, each with a different objective, each specifically crafted for a different type of position. You may even want to change some parts of your resume for each job you apply for. Have an objective that is perfectly matched with the job you are applying for. Remember, you are writing advertising copy, not your life story.
It is sometimes appropriate to include your "Objective" in your "Summary" section rather than have a separate "Objective" section. (Examples to follow.) The point of using an "Objective" is to create a specific psychological response in the mind of the reader.
If you are making a career change or have a limited work history, you want the employer to immediately focus on where you are going, rather than where you have been. If you are looking for another job in your present field, it is more important to stress your qualities, achievements and abilities first.
A few examples of separate "Objective" sections:
- Vice president of marketing in an organization where a strong track record of expanding market share and internet savvy is needed.
- Senior staff position with a bank that offers the opportunity to use my expertise in commercial real estate lending and strategic management.
- An entry-level position in the hospitality industry where a background in advertising and public relations would be needed.
- A position teaching English as a second language where a special ability to motivate and communicate effectively with students would be needed.
- Divemaster in an organization where an extensive knowledge of Carribean sea life and a record of leaving customers feeling they have had a once-in-a lifetime experience is needed.
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