74

These usually are overly vague and don't add much. Are there circumstance when these are worthwhile?

  • Definitely. Some companies will hire you not for who you are, but for who you want and are able to be :) – Claudiu Constantin Apr 10 '12 at 19:28
  • 1
    Yes but those types will usually want to find out that kinda info in person. On the resume I would stick to the immediate skills for the job in question. – Michael Durrant Aug 2 '12 at 3:33
  • A lot of the time the objective you state is at odds with the objective of the employer. Similarly, if they read it, and ask you about it separately in an interview a week later, and what you state in the interview is different, it won't seem to be an objective you're highly committed to. This creates problems you don't need. – Meredith Poor Jun 28 '13 at 22:26

14 Answers 14

63

No

I have read a lot of resumes, and never saw a 'career objective' that made me want to call a candidate. In short, it won't help, and may hurt. It's your job to find opportunities that match your goals.

  • 3
    Plus it wastes valuable space taht can be better used to sell your strengths. Like you, I have only seen it used to elimniate people - never to make me want to call them. – HLGEM Apr 10 '12 at 22:44
  • 1
    But if, as a candidate, I've misunderstood your offer, and think it might fit my objectives although it doesn't, being eliminated could be a good thing. I could use my objectives as a way to rule out positions that don't match my goals. – DistantEcho Apr 12 '12 at 14:09
  • 1
    The objective of a resume is to get to an interview. A career objective may not gel with what the recruiter thinks and lead your resume to the reject pile. Currently, for the positions I have, I need to cut down the applicants by 80-90% on resume screening. A career objective makes it much easier to say "no" to someone... – GuyM Nov 24 '12 at 9:14
  • 2
    An experienced hiring manager / workplace advice columnist agrees: Objectives: Leave Them Off Your Resume. Even recent graduates should avoid them – Lilienthal Sep 28 '15 at 8:58
38

The problem I have with "Objective" is it talks about what you want. Well, as a hiring manager, given that you're a complete stranger, I don't care what you want - I want what I want!

The flip side is that it at least gives me some insight into whether or not you'd be a good match for the position I have to offer.

  • 7
    "Insight" of course being a euphemism for "reason to reject you." – user1084 Jul 22 '14 at 1:12
  • 4
    ... or "reason to pursue you." It really does go both ways. – Scott C Wilson Jul 23 '14 at 1:22
21

Most objectives are just HR babble-speak 'dynamic fast-paced exciting blah blah blah'.

On the other hand, if I am looking for a C++/Boost developer, and I see a resume that says "Objective: A position as a C++/Boost developer" that's very interesting to me.

So if you have a specific type of job in mind and really aren't interested in much else, then put your specific objectives on the resume.

If you don't have real specific ideas about what kind of job you want next, just leave off the objective.

12

Definitely Yes! And further, let that objective really be an objective.

In our hiring process, usually I go through lots of resumes and as a recruiter I am pained that people don't quite write a clear-cut objective and keep me guessing till the interview.

What types of objectives make sense?

It should clearly define what type of role, company and job profile you are looking for - some examples -

  • Looking for project manager position - in XYZ industry
  • I have done programming and design for four years - now looking to become a tech lead
  • I have been in sales in industry for XYZ - now looking for outside of that industry
  • I have been in research area for 10 years, - now looking for higher management position
  • I worked as a product manager - now I want to move in business development strategy

... and so on.

Good objective statements should be very clear and rather simple. They should sound very obvious and it should make sense! If you happen to find more than five adjectives you are telling nothing.

The essential idea is that if you are very clear of what you want (and don't want) to do - it helps recruiter identify whether you are the one or not - and if not, it will save everyone's time including yours. This means you might NOT receive some calls - but that would be worth it.

My blog post: How (not) to write resumes.

  • 2
    This is the only instance that I can see an objective being worthwhile. Any jargon that describes personal goals just doesn't seem relevant. Even this, saying "I want X job" when applying for X job, seems axiomatic. – Garry Jul 11 '12 at 21:06
  • 7
    And never, ever, ever put some trite statement like "I want leverage my considerable skills maximize my potential and soar to new heights [as your fry cook]." – JohnFx Jun 28 '13 at 21:46
11

As a person who has hired a lot of people, In almost all cases I would say a firm NO.

I've never seen an objective statement that helped sell a candidate to me, and I've seen lots that did the opposite.

Also, consider that you have a limited attention span before the reader moves on to the next person. Are you really going to waste space at the very top of your resume with throwaway information? If you absolutely must include it, put it at the very bottom.

I suggest replacing it with a very succinct bulleted list of your best selling points.

10

The only time that I included an objective was when I was looking for internships and co-ops. The university that I went to had requirements for co-ops, which could either be 3 months or 6 months in duration. I included an objective on my resume to make it obvious that I had met my requirements for starting a co-op, the start quarter I was interested in, the duration I wanted, and what aspects I was most interested in.

When I was applying for full-time positions, I removed it. It became too difficult to concisely describe what I was looking for in a meaningful manner. What I was looking for in a job is something that we can discuss when talking at some kind of job fair, a phone screen, or even an interview. At this point, I used my resume to highlight my education, experience, and other qualifications and everything else would come out later.

  • +1 This is along the lines of how I've taught students to use the objective slot on their resume, by indicating how it can play a useful role at the beginning of their careers, but very soon after actually detracts from their value. – jcmeloni Apr 10 '12 at 19:31
9

The big problem I see is that your career goal doesn't match with what the prospective employer wants - especially if you want to be CEO of your own company within 5 years (say).

There's a lot of things unsaid when recruiting. The employer wants someone to "just do the job". What you want is career progression, training and a paycheck at the end of each month.

  • 7
    We had one guy who said he wanted to work for the CIA, as we were not the CIA we passed on interviewing him. – HLGEM Apr 10 '12 at 22:43
  • 1
    @HLGEM - maybe he knows something you don't? – user8365 Sep 6 '12 at 18:47
  • @HLGEM hopefully that wasn't me like 9 years ago. One I first entered the workplace, I thought that would impress recruiters. It obviously didn't. I'm glad I took it off my resume immediately. – ILikeTacos Aug 29 '14 at 15:09
7

This can be tricky because it's so easy to make things worse than if you hadn't written one at all.

So, I'd build on Scott Wilson's answer: the company cares about what they want, and how you'll provide that, not what they'll be providing you:

Think of an objective as a mission statement for the relationship between you and the employer.

That way, your objective that tells them exactly what they'll get out of it.

The EntreLeadership podcast had an episode about personal mission statements with Dan Miller, author of 48 Days to the Work you Love. It says that a mission statement should be brief and tell you the what, the how, and the why.

Here's mine, for reference:

To provide expertise in software creation — design, architecture, and management.

Roughly,

  • Why: To create software
  • How: Expertise
  • What: Design, architecture and management
6

The problem with CV objectives isn't just that they can be too vague; they can also be too specific.

Objectives tend to either be so broad as to be useless, or so specific that you're shoehorning yourself out of the job.

It's for these reasons that objectives are usually frowned upon. There may be an odd edge case though where they actually add value.

2

Are there circumstance when these are worthwhile?

One very useful place is for those in school.

When going to career fairs, you will most often not have any cover letter. Company representatives are also going to collect many resumes, having short conversations with many, many people (what class in school are you? what's your major? blah blah).

Having an objective containing something like:

Seeking Summer 2016 internship

or

Seeking full-time employment beginning Fall, 2016

This can be helpful for:

  1. Clarifying whether you are interested in fulltime, internship, etc
  2. Guiding the conversation in person
  3. In case/when company rep doesn't take notes, loses their notes, etc
0

I think that the answer is that you can but that it doesn't matter much. I usually ignore this section when I see it on a resume because it's the easiest part to fake in order to mirror what you know about the job and company you're applying to. Your experience and perhaps a longer cover letter explaining how your experience (and objectives) fit with the company are a lot more important.

At the very least, I don't think that the career objective section hurts in any way.

0

A specific career objective would be more limiting than helpful. Just make the point that you want to learn, grow, and contribute.

Make the point that you are excited about being part of a successful team. I can't speak for all employers, but if I do make a mistake (I do make them), and hire a developer that needs to work by themselves, who can't be part of a team, I help them move to a more suitable position, elsewhere.

0

A career objective tells the person hiring you one of 4 things. Some of these help you and some of them hurt you.

1) Your objective will likely lead to you leaving the company eventually for something bigger, better or more fitting. Should we really hire you? Is the completion of that objective a suitable end goal for us?

2) Your objective will likely lead to you going to another role in the company (i.e. moving to management, switching from security to data science). If I'm just trying to hire you for the role I posted, it might not be reassuring to think you'll be leaving, even if it's within the same company. In some cases, especially with more junior positions, this might be something I'd think about though. I don't want this person to stay in the same junior position, where are they going to grow? In this case, your goal now makes me judge you against the criteria of the initial role, but also against how well you might fit in that future hypothetical role down the line. For example, if you are a low level worker with career goals of going into management, now when I look at you and your resume I might ask myself, "Does this person have the personality to be a manager? Will they get the managerial skills they are currently missing in the worker role they are taking?" You might not get the job because you're not suited for the job you'd like it to lead to!

3) Your objective will lead to your taking on the role in a certain way. Do you prefer internal and soft qualities (Resolve the transparency and collaboration issues between company divisions) or hard objective qualities (start selling to Fortune 500 clients)? Do you prefer staying on track with inevitable events (promoted to a thing people are often promoted to) or large challenges (help the company enter a new market)? These kinds of goals serve to tell me what about your role you think of as important, where your focus is and how much risk you want to take on in setting big goals.

4) Goal is meaningless or vague. I learned nothing and just spent extra time reading. I am sad.

So going from all of that, I'd say that it's useful to have a goal for very senior or very junior positions. In a very senior position, your objectives may essentially be the company's new vision...assuming they want one. In a very junior position, nobody expects you to stay in that role and you will either get promoted or leave. Since they know that you aren't going to be in that role long, it's important to know where you'll end up. In both cases, if you don't have a clear idea of your goal, don't put it. For most jobs where you're not expected to shake things up or be promoted quickly, the career objective doesn't really do anything and probably just wastes time and space. At best, it will help at #3.

-3

I think for freshers it can be helpful, but for the experienced professional the career path is decided unless you want to change your career.

That said, for an experienced professional, the summary is where a prospective employer will look to see whether you have relevant experience and is what the employer is looking for. Also, in the short summary, it describes the experience, technology and the roles you have played during your career and the same will be of interest to a recruiter rather than your objective.

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