A career objective is for people who have something to say.
No one’s career objective is the same, making it a great place to be different and stand out.
Supercharge your resume with a first-class introduction that tells the recruiter who you are and what you can do for them. A well-crafted one can not only act as an opening pitch to your resume, but also show that you have a strong sense of direction when it comes to your career.
With literally only seconds to grab the reader’s attention, you’ve got to put everything you have into making an immediate splash. This first paragraph can be the hook that gets them interested in you.
In this guide you will get advice on how to write an effective career objective in a straight forward manner. Learn how to draft an engaging one that gets the reader eager to see what else you have to offer. Not only that, also get access to some superb pre-written examples that you can easily customize for your own resume.
What is a Career Objective
A career objective should be snapshot of your most relevant skills, experience, and future potential.
Also known as a career statement or summary, it’s a brief opening paragraph that occupies a small but vital part of a resume or CV. Often overlooked, but in reality, a key part of a resume that literally sits at the top of it.
Remember that Hiring Managers tend to scan a page from the top downwards, meaning it’s likely the first section they’ll read is the career objective.
Whilst other candidates may have similar skills, they won’t have the same goals as you. Making it a great place to distance yourself from them and position yourself as the ideal candidate for the job.
It’s an opportunity to speak directly to the recruiter and show them a bit of your personality. As if you were having a brief one to one conversation with them. In essence it’s a succinct paragraph that summarizes your background, ambitions, and things you can’t say in the rest of your resume.
Why is a career objective important?
A well written one can set the tone for your resume by allowing you to make a powerful and memorable opening ‘speech’ that can capture the recruiter’s attention and give them a sense of you as a person.
Who is it best for?
Generally speaking, its most suitable for entry level candidates, graduates, people switching careers and those wanting to break into a new field. This is because it allows them to make up for their lack of relevant experience with words, passion, and enthusiasm. It’s an ideal way to impress others with your communication skills and persuade them to give you a chance.
Having said that they are also handy for experienced workers who are looking for employment in the same field. Although in this scenario, people who want to progress in their existing field may want to use career summary.
Where to put a career objective on your resume
At the top of your resume, above all the other sections but below your name and contact details.
Do you have to have a career objective?
No, it’s optional. However, it is recommended when applying for most roles as it’s a chance to immediately stress to a recruiter your most relevant strengths.
How to write a Career Objective
Not too broad and not to narrow.
Get straight to the point and tell them what they want to hear by quickly pointing out your most relevant points. Because of the huge volume of resumes a hiring manager typically has to go through, yours has to be positive, relevant and written to a high standard.
Writing what appeals to recruiting managers takes time, effort, and careful consideration. But if you get it right the rewards are worth it.
The 3 stages of writing a career objective
Although the below structure is standard practice, it’s not set in stone and is flexible. Everything really depends on the applicant’s particular circumstances.
- Explain who you are
Give details of your present position and years of experience. You want to create a positive picture in the mind of the reader by showing them where you’re coming from. Explain your circumstances, for instance if you’re changing careers, switching industries, moving to a new geographic area or returning to the workforce after an absence.
- ‘A very recent graduate with a Degree in Psychology, along with 9 months experience within an administrative internship’.
- ‘As a proven Sales Manager with over 6 years experience in the new motor insurance sector, I come to you as exactly the candidate you are looking for.’
- What you can bring to the table
Follow up by explaining and expanding on your most relevant hard or soft skills, abilities, and experience. If applicable give details of time, percentages, facts and figures. Try to match these to the most in-demand skills or characteristics for the role.
- ‘Committed to following all regulatory procedures in a heavily regulated industry like …………..’
- ‘A real team player who will always be there to back up colleagues who are struggling’.
- How you can help them
Illustrate how you can help them to achieve their mission statement and reach their goals. This often requires having some prior knowledge of the prospective employers business and mission statement. Tell them why you’re applying for their vacancy and what makes you a desirable candidate.
- ‘As per your specific requirements, willing to be on call 24/7 and prepared to come into work at short notice to cover busy periods.’
- ‘Will always be a perfect role for your junior staff, as regards to attendance, punctuality, mannerism and professionalism’.
What to include in career objective
Always try to meet the selection criteria. These are a list of written job requirements that applicants must demonstrate that they meet before they are short listed. It can sometimes be hard trying to decipher the jargon in job adverts. But once you do then focus your career objective statement on showing that you meet the selection criteria of the employer.
Target it at the job
For optimum performance you should mirror what is said in the vacancy’s job description by using the exact keywords and phrases from it. This will ring a bell in the recruiters head that you are in sync with what they are looking for.
The competencies to include are often given in a job description under ‘Required Skills or ‘Core Responsibilities’. If not, they’ll be clearly stated as ‘the candidate must have…’ or ‘experience required in…’ etc. It’s here that you’ll find out what sort of employees the company really wants. Find these gold nuggets and use them.
Additionally, you can also read articles about the industry, chat with friends in similar positions and go through the adverts of other similar roles.
Try to avoid simply copying and pasting information from the advert into your career objective. Instead, selectively pick out just the industry specific jargon and insert them into the sentences.
On the downside, all this means having to create a custom statement for every job application. A time consuming task, but a necessary one.
On the upside, it will show the recruiter that you’ve done some homework and taken the effort to research their role and write a statement just for them. Something that will impress then and earn you brownie points. At all costs avoid writing a generic one that you send everywhere.
Stress your strengths
Clearly state the specific ways your abilities match their requirements. Emphasise your value and what you can bring to the table.
- ‘(Your first name) is able to apply his/her 10 years of Project Management expertise and proven ability to cut unnecessary expenditure to your current ………….. project’.
Write your Career Objective in the third person
As a rule of thumb its always best to write it in the third person. It sounds more polished and professional than if you write it in the first person, where you would have to repeatedly use pronouns like ‘I am’ and ‘I have’ etc.
Clearly explain what you want and why. Whatever you say ensure that it aligns with the company’s vision and goals. You want to show that you’re not only on the same wavelength as them but will also be loyal and stay at their company for a long time. For instance, state your enjoyment of working in a particular field and how you want to build a long term career in it.
Statistics, percentages, and figures
Wherever applicable use facts and numbers to back up your claims. Do this without bragging, boasting, or generalizing as you don’t want to appear arrogant.
Keywords for the ATS
Inserting specific keywords related to your work duties is vital for your success. These not only get you noticed by the hiring manager they also help you to get past the dreaded Applicant Tracking Systems.
Avoid generic cliches
Recruiters have seen and hear it all before, you really need something unique that no one else uses. Boring the reader by parroting what everyone else says in their resume is not good.
- A great team player.
- Good communication skills.
- Works well independently.
Further stress you value by trying to start every sentence with an action verb. Buzz words can help bring your career objective to life and increase the chances of you application catching the recruiter’s eye.
Keep it short
Space on a resume is precious, so everything you write should pack a punch. Your career objective doesn’t need to be long to make an impact. A simple paragraph of 5 to 6 sentences should do the trick. At most use no more than 150 words to make your case. Cut everything down by avoiding fluff, removing any excessive language, and making every sentence count.
Get it reviewed
Finally, at the end of it all you may want to get all your writing reviewed by a trusted friend, relative or colleague to see how it sounds. Get a last seal of approval by having one or more pairs of eyes look at your handiwork. They may see a grammatical mistake that you’ve missed.
Career Objective examples
Career change resume career objective
‘A highly motivated (job role) who is eager for a career change and feels that what they have learnt during their employment is very relevant to what you are looking for in a candidate. Keen on progressing to the next level of their already successful occupation by applying for a position like the one you are advertising. Seeing your opening as a perfect fit for her future ambitions.’
‘(Your first name) has decided to pursue her love of ……………. and launch her career as a (job role) with your company. She possesses a strong desire for a change of scenery and schedule. Your vacancy perfectly fits around her personal commitments and work/life balance. Confident in their ability to hit the ground running and make an immediate positive impact on your operations.’
Marketing resume career objective
‘A highly competitive and entrepreneurial marketing professional who will be the eyes, ears, and mouth of you marketing team. (Your first name) possesses a real understanding of how to connect with your potential clients in the ……….. field. In her current role she has consistently increased sales year on year by over 40%. As per your requirements, she has experience of successfully leading and managing teams of 10 plus.’
‘A superb communicator who has a track record of increasing existing market share and maximizing a company’s revenues in the ……… sector. You can rely on (your first name) to micro manage a marketing department and ensure all its staff hit their targets. She is a true all rounder who is able to develop close relationships with the press and take charge of all your social media channels, strategy, and activity.’
Administrative position resume career objective
‘There is nothing about office administration that (your first name) does not already know. Through her 5 years of working at ………. she has provided clerical, secretarial, reception and administrative support to junior and senior colleagues. A real professional who is always has a smart appearance, courteous manner, and a clear, friendly phone voice. You can rely on her to properly represent a high profile company like yours in a professional manner.’
‘(Your first name) can ensure the smooth running of a busy office. She is a very organised operator who pays attention to both complex and mundane repetitive tasks. Possesses superb typing skills along with in-depth knowledge of the latest specialist software and office management procedures. Through her long and successful career she has become a specialist in looking after the needs of senior executives by coordinating their schedules and managing their calendars.’
Manager resume career objective
‘Accomplished Manager who is very good at identifying opportunities to improve the performance of both new and established staff. In her current role she manages over 30 staff and has improved employee retention by over 25%. She has done this by developing an environment of trust, diversity, and inclusion within her team. Has a professional attitude towards everything she does, particularly when it comes to dealing with regulatory matters in the …………. sector. All in all, she is exactly the sort of person you are looking for, someone who can run a tight ship and make things happen. On a personal level, she has the stamina needed to meet the mental and physical demands of your position.’
‘A dependable leader who has good business sense and well-developed commercial awareness of what is happening in the ……… industry. These are skills she uses to increase the efficiency of a business and performance of those who work in it. Firm but fair individual who can maintain a healthy and positive work culture for all staff to operate in. Can be relied upon to improve existing operations through undertaking thorough internal process and system reviews. Right now, she is keen to join a company like yours which has a rich culture that encourages applications from underrepresented minority groups.’
Sales resume career objective
Competitive individual who is always pushing to be number one. Increased sales in ……….. by over 55% in the previous 12 months through repeat orders. Achieved this impressive result by being obsessed with keeping existing clients happy. Improved efficiency by effectively deploying marketing resources across a target area based on organisational and customer priorities. Fast learner who can quickly gain a thorough understanding of any new products and services they have to sell. In her present position she is responsible for the performance and development of 10 Account Managers.
Over achiever who’s secret to success is knowing how to tap into the needs and desires of her clients. Possesses the confidence needed to speak to audiences and give product demonstrations to decision makers. Shaped the composition of the existing team by bringing in new faces who are the best in their fields. Ability to build trusting and profitable relationships with people she has just met. Has a reputation for finding opportunities for growth that have been missed by competitors. Not afraid to challenge the status quo in her hunt for sales.