These usually are overly vague and don't add much. Are there circumstance when these are worthwhile?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Why: To create software
- How: Expertise
- What: Design, architecture and management
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.
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
Seeking full-time employment beginning Fall, 2016
This can be helpful for:
- Clarifying whether you are interested in fulltime, internship, etc
- Guiding the conversation in person
- In case/when company rep doesn't take notes, loses their notes, etc
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.
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.
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.
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.