Recruiter question #4: Objective statements


Objective statements on resumes…a good idea or not so much?


If you like them, tell us what you want to see.

Comments (19)

  1. I think in the IT industry they are absolutely necessary for very specific positions. Well, let me reword that… Either A)take the time to write an objective statement very specific to the job you are applying for or B)don’t write one at all. If you ride the fence and come up with a generic objective you’ll find yourself getting oodles (don’t think I have ever used that word) of "$$$$… want to make six figures working from home" job opportunities instead of the job that you’re passionate about and will satisfy you. Stick you neck out there and be specific!

  2. Heather’s getting into recruiters’ heads to help jobseekers. You’ll want to look at their answers to her questions. What is the first thing you look at on a candidate’s resume? What are common red flags on a resume? What will…

  3. Simone says:

    All of the "nays" come from lazy recruiters. I prefer both, mainly because I like to see with what they’ll come up with. It’s an easy way to gauge intelligence and drive. If they half ass it, or turn in horrible letters, then they get the boot. The one that shines AND has great credentials gets the job.

  4. HeatherLeigh says:

    Bethany-great point. That’s exactly the advice I would give. I do find, in general, that many objective statements are aspirational and not necessarily rooted in the reality of a candidate’s skill set. So the candidates need to be honest with themselves about whether or not they have the skills required for the specific role and whether what they say about themselves in the objective really plays itself out in the rest of the resume, if they list it in their objective. For that reason, I find that objectives can be easy to skip over. Not because I am lazy, as Simone suggests, but because similarly to cover letters, they can be fluff and can contain diversionary language ("what if I call myself ‘strategic in my objective…will that make it so?’"). The candidate has to make the objective statement concrete and realistic to get me to look at it.

    Anyway, everyone should listen to Bethany’s advice. OK, I say that because I agree : )

    Oh, also, I can’t tell you how many times a candidate has listed a position in the objective statement that is entirely different than the position they are expressing interest in. Sloppy! I file that in the same place as the cover letter that says "Dear Google recruiter".

  5. Tom says:

    I don’t see a lot of benefit for "objective statements" in most of software development. I mean, for the most part, software developers work on one project followed by the next, and most of the possible objective statements are kind of lame at best (e.g., I reduced the number of open bugs by 65%). For the most part, software development is not measured in objective terms.

  6. Lauren Smith says:

    Heather: "I can’t tell you how many times a candidate has listed a position in the objective statement that is entirely different than the position they are expressing interest in"

    So is the objective statement, then, a way of presenting your skillsets in a readable manner to the recruiter, or should it reflect what you would really like to achieve in your career?

    If everyone is focusing on impressing the recruiter with a fantastic objective section, how unique can each applicant’s objective be?

  7. Duncan says:

    I think objective statements are pointless. Mainly because the whole statement is a lie.  If we were to be truthful, then it would read  

    “My objective is to do as little as possible for as much money as I can and work tirelessly to not be anywhere near my desk without actually being fired. As soon as financially possible, I plan to sell all the paper clips I will hoard over the time on site and retire on the proceeds”  

    🙂

  8. HeatherLeigh says:

    Tom – good point. They may just put it in there because they feel they have to. They don’t!

    Lauren Smith-I’d say that the objective statement is a marketing pitch for your overall background. If you think in marketing terms, it’s your value proposition stated in a few sentences. They aren’t that unique and that is part of the reason that they can be fluffy. The really funny thing is that they represent the candidates objective (to secure a particular type of opportunity), but they are rarely even close to objective.

    I’ve said before that candidates are not always great at self-selection. It’s hard to remove your personal feelings when evaluating a career move. A candidate might look at a job description that requires experience in lion taming and the candidate might think "I don’t have lion taming experience but I have a cat…I’m sure I can do it". OK, that’s a little exaggerated, but it’s because of the difficulty of being objective about ones own skills that make things like objective statements something that recruiters frequently look past. The best that you can do on an objective statement is help a recruiter get to the salient points more quickly. For example, if it was me, I’d put something about being an experienced staffing professional with 13 years of experience in position of increasing responsibility with a focus on candidate identification and engagement. Not really anything someone wouldn’t have figured out by reading the resume.

    For the record, I don’t have an objective statement on my resume and my resume is 2 pages long (for 15 yrs of experience total).

    Duncan- haha…funny. Hey, maybe I should add an objective statement to my resume…mind if I steal yours above? Hee!

  9. Margo says:

    Why do they have to be an objective statement?  I myself don’t even have that on my resume.  I opted for a "Primary Assets" type blurb.

    That way I can prove my credentials in a meaningful way, while  giving a potential employer a reference point if they decide to toss my cover letter.  

    I usually don’t make it longer than 5 short sentences.

  10. Don says:

    I received the great advice of replacing my objective (which was always a "to obtain a great job where i can use my experience *snore*) with a 3-4 line summary (ASP.Net developer, fluent in Sql Server, day to day familiarity with IIS admin).  The focus flipped from what I want to what I can offer. It looks cleaner and is actually useful to read for the recruiter who only has 30 seconds.

  11. Deb says:

    I don’t mind objective statements if, as many have stated already, they relate to the job the person is applying for.  It can show that a person is thinking ahead, tell you where they want to go, and then hopefully will be backed up with their past experience and education.

    Too often, though, I find that the objective ends up telling me that the person really doesn’t have an idea of what the thing they say they want to do is.  ("I’d like to be in sales, but I don’t like leaving my office or talking to people."  Hmmm…..)

    As for Duncan, a true objective statement for me would probably not involve being at the office at all.  And it would probably include something about beaches and drinks with umbrellas in them.

    😉

  12. HeatherLeigh says:

    Margo-love it!

    Don-love yours too…that’s customer centric marketing if I ever saw it…passes the WIIFM test for sure

    Deb-hopefully you are reading between the lines and they aren’t that obvious. Hey, if I meet my objective, I’ll be on the beach too…perhaps we can get together and toast all the working stiffs..haha!

  13. Diana says:

    I don’t understand the need for objective statements. If I’m sending in my resume for a specific job, then it must be obvious that my objective is to get that job. Why do I have to make a statement of it?

  14. Christine says:

    I hate to ask this, but I haven’t been able to deduce the answer…what’s an objective statement in the setting of a resume?

  15. HeatherLeigh says:

    Diana-indeed!

    Christine- people use objective statements for one of both of the following:

    1) to highlight their job search objective. It basically tells the hiring team what kind of position the person is looking for and the circumstances they desire. For example: "to secure a position as Staffing Manager in which I have the ability to drive marketing recruiting strategies that will impact a leading technology companys bottom line" (don’t worry, it’s not on my resume)

    OR

    2) to highlight their skills. For example: "to utillize my twelve plus years staffing experience to drive innovative programs, leverage my passion for candidate experience and share my knowlege through effective coaching"

    Of course, those are totally off the top of my head. I’d spend more time on them if I actually had an objective on my resume. In my mind, I like to position myself as someone who a company would need to recruit (it’s all about the positioning, isn’t it?) and if they looked at my resume and were interested in my background, I’d like to actually have a discussion as to whether I am interested in the position. We treat our candidates the same way. If we have a position we feel could match their background, it’s not about whether the job title was in their objective. We want to bounce it of them and see if it’s something they could get excited about. You might be surprised how often someone gets jazzed about a position other than the one they applied to or identified as their target. I like choices…choices are good.

  16. eR0CK says:

    I’ve always been told they’re not unnecessary.  I’ve had countless interviews at large companies and I’ve never had an objective.  Unless you’re looking for a very specific role in a specific industry, they’re useless IMHO.

    -Erich

  17. I pay no attention to them.  Talk is cheap.  It’s too easy for a candidate to create a slick sounding objective.

    Candidates: Show me what you have done.  Do you have a strong track record of creating MEASURABLE value for your companies and building deep bench strength?

    QUANTIFY those accomplishments on your resume and be prepared to explain your accomplishments in clear, rich three-minute career chapter stories that have an "arc" (a beginning, middle, and end).

  18. Rahul says:

    It is important to understand that the accomplishments and their relation to the job you are applying for is important. The CV only talks about what you have done.. and an objective gives a clear picture of what you want to do..

  19. HeatherLeigh says:

    Yeah, but I assume that when someone applies for a position, the role represents what they want to do.