Resume Talk: What Does Your Objective Statement Really Say?

Objective statement on your resume?

Photo credit: Flickr Creative Commons user Nguyen Ju Hung (vunung)

Nobody likes your objective statement.

Nobody, according to the latest advice from career bloggers and recruitment advisors – your potential employer least of all.

“Objectives are about you and what you want,” says Glass Door workplace expert Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter. And that’s a problem in today’s job market, where hirers want to know “What’s in it for me?”

How does the company benefit from hiring you? Which of your qualities and skills will you use to help the company reach its goals?  And what makes you stand out from the rest in their stack of viable candidates?  These are questions your potential employer  really wants answered. And the standard resume objective statement just won’t cut it.

The top-third space on your resume is prime real estate – it’s your opportunity to grab the reader’s attention and compel him or her to learn more about your professional awesomeness.  Make the most of it with a message that explains what you can bring to the table, and avoid the objective statement employers love to hate:

The Standard (Read: Out-dated) Objective Statement 

“Objective: To work for a prominent company that allows me to fully utilize my skills and strengths and provides professional advancement opportunities.”

Sound familiar? It’s a standard objective statement: bland, generic, and scant of meaning. What can a potential employer take away from this?

A statement so general tells the potential employer that the candidate put no original thought into crafting the resume to appeal to the targeted position. In a word, it screams “lazy”.  And into the recycle bin it goes.

Remember, “it’s the job seeker’s responsibility to provide the reader with information about what he has to offer a company- not the other way around,” as Talent Egg career blogger Jillian Wood says.

Your objective statement can do that! Here’s how to make it happen:

The Objective Statement 2.0

First of all, know your options. There’s another way to make a powerful first impression on your resume, with a career summary.  We call it the ‘Objective Statement 2.0’.

A career summary describes your professional qualifications, outlines what you can do for the potential employer, and compels the reader to consider you for the specific position.  Here’s an example:

“Innovative, articulate, and educated communications specialist with over 5+ years experience providing businesses with effective branding messages and solutions for higher online leads.”

Also referred to as a ‘branding statement’, a career summary gives a potential employer a bite-sized vision of how you could impact the success of the company. In one sentence, boom: you’re either in or you’re out. 

And it still says something about you – what you offer the company.

Now, you might be a candidate with limited experience in your desired field. That’s where an objective statement is the appropriate choice.  In this case, social media manager Eric Sorrentino suggests using an objective statement to help define your strengths for the position, while offering a valuable proposition to the potential employer.  Here’s a good one:

“Energetic, high-achieving business school graduate seeks to increase Example Company’s corporate sales earnings by strategizing and developing forward-thinking online revenue strategies.”

Whether you’re changing careers or just starting out in the workforce, an objective statement provides a valuable space to communicate your abilities and your potential to grow.

Effective career summaries and objective statements are concise and straightforward, delivering a powerful message in a single sentence. And most importantly, these opening statements speak to the specific position you are applying for. Employers and recruiters recognize when you have made the effort, and will likely have no objection to inviting you for an interview!


Concise objective statements and career summaries help communicate a powerful first impression during the job application process. Candidates and clients, tell us: what else can make an application stand out from the rest?


Poindexter-Barrett Jacqui. “Top 10 Job Search Trends to Pay Attention To – Part 1.” 30 May 2013.

Sorrentino, Eric. “The Ongoing Resume Debate: Should You Include an Objective?” 27 February 2012. Blog.Grantham.Edu

Wood, Jillian. “Resume Tips: To Write a Resume Objective or Not – Alternatives to the Objective.” 13 January 2011.