A resume objective statement is a short paragraph often included at the top of a resume. Not to be confused with a summary statement, the objective statement is used less often, due to its many notable pitfalls. However, at the right place and time, the once-popular objective statement still has its purpose.

What is a Resume Objective Statement?

A resume objective statement introduces a resume to the hiring manager. As the name suggests, it answers the question, “What is the objective of this resume?” It usually states the position for which you are applying and may include your career goals.

Traditionally, a resume objective statement section might look something like this:

Resume Objective: To obtain an entry-level marketing position at a Fortune 500 company.

However, today’s resume objective statement not only states the applicant’s intention, but aims to “sell” the hiring manager on the job seeker by highlighting their skills and career goals. It should be short, to-the-point, and customized for each resume.

Strong Resume Objective Examples

  • In my 7 years as a Process Integration Engineer, I have acquired knowledge on process simulation, optimization and integration, inherently safer design principles, PFD and P&ID skills. In an effort to enhance my knowledge and further my career, I’d like to bring these skills to the Supply Chain Manager position.
  • With a demonstrated history in business administration, I’m looking for a position that will benefit from my business experience while promoting my interest in education. The Experienced Teaching Assistant for Business Administration position is the perfect fit.
  • Seeking employment in a professional environment where I can diversify and improve upon the skills gained during my ten years as an Account Manager. As the Director of Corporate sales, I would focus on enhancing the company’s productivity and reputation while improving my own.
  • Human Resources Manager looking for exciting new challenges. My goal at this point in my career is to capitalize upon new opportunities for career development within an organization that values hard work, integrity, and results. I look forward to hearing if I’m a good fit for the Head of Operations position.

Also check out these top resume summary statement examples.

Is a Resume Objective Necessary?

These days, resume objectives are rarely recommended by career experts and professionals. It can be useful to include one if you are radically shifting careers or tailoring your resume to the job listing, since the objective statement presents a natural opportunity to include exact keywords and job titles. But as a general rule of thumb, if the job description does not explicitly state that an objective statement should be included, it’s not necessary.

Here are a couple of reasons the traditional resume objective has fallen out of favor in recent years:

Resume objective statements are a little bit selfish

As mentioned above, a resume objective tells the hiring manager what you want professionally, not what you can do for them and their company. It’s great to showcase your career ambition, but companies will typically be more concerned with their own best interests.

Generic resume objectives leave hiring managers with questions

Your intentions and professional goals don’t explain to the hiring manager why you’re the best person for the job. Objective statements lack the broader context of a summary statement, often missing the “here’s what I can do for you” explanation.

Resume Objective vs. Resume Summary Statement

As resume introductory statements go, the resume objective isn’t as useful as the modern resume summary statement.

One major difference is that the summary statement highlights hard skills and accomplishments in active voice rather than passive voice, making the job seeker sound more capable and assertive.

For example, “I achieved 25% sales growth” is active voice while, “25% sales growth was achieved” is passive voice.

Overall, a resume summary statement is more assertive in tone. It uses quantitative results to offer the hiring manager proof about the things the job seeker has accomplished and will continue to accomplish if hired.

Here are a few examples of traditional objective statements compared to resume summary statements:

  • Traditional Objective Statement: “To obtain a position in customer service”
  • Modern Summary statement: “Customer Service Representative with 8 years of experience working with customer accounts and resolving product and service issues. Maintained a 90% customer satisfaction rating.”
  • Traditional Objective Statement: “To get a job as an Account Supervisor”
  • Modern Summary Statement: “Sales and Marketing Manager with 10+ years of commercial sales and marketing experience. Exceeded all sales goals by 15% or more between 2012 and 2017.”
  • Traditional Objective Statement: “To work as a Supply Chain Manager in the logistics industry”
  • Modern Summary Statement: “Supply Chain Analyst and self-starter with a track record of maintaining and enhancing up to 15 client relationships at one time and identifying problem service areas.”

How to Write an Objective for a Resume

If a resume objective statement is right for your job search, these three tips can help you avoid common mistakes:

  1. Keep it short. This is not a place to add fluff! Just a couple productive sentences is all you need. Make sure every word is deliberate and necessary.
  2. Be clear and detailed about the job you want. State the job you are applying for and describe your goals only as they pertain to the job and industry for which you’re applying.
  3. Explain what you can do for them. Take your goals a step farther by explaining how they match up with the needs of the company, using the job posting for reference. This step sets a strong resume objective apart from a weak one.

If neither type of introductory statement feels right, you don’t need to include one to build a strong resume. If you do include one, remember that while a resume objective statement can be useful for job seekers changing careers or switching industries, in most cases, a resume summary statement will be the best fit.

Originally published May 31, 2018. Last updated October 22, 2019.