Ten years ago, the inclusion of an objective statement on one’s resume was a forgone conclusion; nowadays, however, this is one of the more disputed issues regarding resume best practices.
The purpose of an objective statement on a resume is to tell the reader in succinct fashion what you are trying to achieve – a concise declaration answering the question, “Why are you submitting this resume?” Some experts maintain that this question is best answered in the cover letter (which should always accompany a resume, with no exceptions). Given the very limited space available on the page of a resume, this makes a lot of sense.
Lack of Consensus
The hiring community appears to be split on the objective statement. In one survey, 40% of responders prefer to see an objectives section on resumes they review. This could be interpreted as a reason to include an objective statement on one’s resume, since most of the other 60% would probably not automatically discard or summarily reject any resume including an objective. However, the aforementioned survey result could just as easily be seen as evidence to omit the objective; it really depends on one’s assumptions and interpretations.
Modern Trend: The Resume Profile
Numerous experts currently recommend replacing “Objective” with “Resume Profile” (a.k.a. Career Summary, Resume Opening Statement), perhaps because the objective statement is more applicant-oriented (which could be seen as self-serving) and the resume profile is oriented toward the employer. In other words, the objective statement could be seen as “what I want” while the resume profile states “what I have to offer.” (It seems to this author that virtually all facets of a resume are, in a sense, self-serving by its very nature.)
Some experts go so far as to say that the inclusion of an Objective Statement is a red flag for inexperience.
Examples of an Objective Statement
A. To obtain a position in your company that utilizes the achievements, skills, and leadership abilities that enable me to consistently exceed earnings goals under less than ideal economic conditions.
B. Desire technical writing position with increasing responsibilities in an accounting firm.
Examples of a Resume Profile or Career Summary
A. Master of Business Administration with substantial experience as Operation Manager; proven ability to provide the highest level of corporate services while consistently reducing expenditures; fully knowledgeable in all aspects of warehousing, purchasing, security, facilities planning, staff management and cost control; bilingual English and Spanish; established competitive bidding for maintenance contracts reducing 30% overhead costs and increasing service quality.
B. Highly skilled technical writer with four years of publishing experience; knowledgeable in modern web design and development; experienced team player and communicator.
Advice from a Nashville CPA & Lipscomb Accounting Professor
I am not a big fan of objectives – it is just another opportunity to “say something wrong.” There seems to be less risk by excluding it. If included… it might say something like, “To work in public accounting utilizing the knowledge and skills I have acquired through education and experience, preferably in a tax-related field.” Amend it to fit the particular employer reading it. If [the resume is] being sent to several different employers or to a general recruiting agency, then [it may be preferable to] omit the objective. – C.F.
Despite the apparent lack of consensus on this issue, one thing seems obvious: the Objective Statement appears to be on its way out. The answer for this author is to omit the Objective Summary and follow the newer trend by including a Resume Profile. A well-written Resume Profile appears to have greater value and a more powerful impact than an “old-school” Objective Statement.
Resources: Should Objective Be Included on Resume?
QuintCareers.com – Should You Use a Career Objective on Your Resume?
EasyJob – Resume Objective or Summary of Qualifications?
Resume Outline: Resume Profile vs. Resume Objective
Resume Objective Statement Examples
Resume Resource – Resume Tips
Resume Samples (PDF)
Helium – Should you put your objective on your resume?