“Dear Pete: What is a good objective for a resume? I know that it’s really important to start strong in my resume, and I’m struggling with what to write for my objective.”
Here’s the short answer: Ditch the resume objective and write an executive summary instead.
Most resume objectives are vague, generic, worthless statements that are candidate-centered. For example, most resume objectives look like this:
“Seeking challenging sales position with an innovative employer where I can utilize my creativity and strong interpersonal skills.”
What are the chances that a statement like that will impress employers? Boring, self-centered objectives just help you blend into the crowd with thousands of other job-seekers.
Employers do not care about what you are looking for. They care about the problems you solve and how you can make their organization better.
Consider how much more powerful the following summary would be for the same candidate:
“Innovative, highly motivated executive with a consistent history of generating new revenue and exceeding competitive sales goals. Proven track record for leading profitable projects from start to finish and for building strong relationships with senior executives.”
In comparison to the standard resume objective, this summary is 100% focused on how the candidate can help the employer. This summary also mentions that the candidate has a “consistent history” and “proven track record” for achieving desirable results. The implication with these carefully chosen words is powerful: this person is a proven performer and low-risk candidate.
Here are some additional notes on how to start your resume strong by using an executive summary rather than a boring objective:
- Focus on the positive impact and results of your work, not on what were “responsible for” or what you are looking for.
- Customize your summary based on the positions/employers you are targeting. Refer to job descriptions or the employer’s web site for ideas.
- If you are changing careers, emphasize your transferrable skills that are relevant to the job you are applying for.
- Keep your summary to 2-3 sentences max. (A customized cover letter can go into greater detail on what you bring to the table.)
So… what is a good objective for a resume? Ditch the objective and write a powerful, results-oriented summary instead!