How to Write an Effective Objective

Get Your Resume Read

Using an employment objective lets the hiring manager know what to expect from the rest of your resume. It's important to use strong language and be as specific as possible.

Why do you want this job? Stating your employment objectives right up front can give the hiring personnel a good idea of what to expect if they read the rest of your resume.

"An objective statement is like a table of contents -- you're giving the employer a preview about what they will learn about you if they continue to read your resume," says Allison Hemming. She is the founder of The Hired Guns, an interim temp agency.

When to Use an Objective

Hemming believes that an employment objective is necessary in every situation. "An objective statement should always be included on your resume. I can think of no time when they should not be included."

Colleen Clarke is a career specialist, author and career advisor for She knows what makes decision-makers happy. "Dozens of resume readers and decision-makers have told me an objective makes their job easier, and if the writer wants to make the reader happy, do it."

How to Write One

Creating an objective that makes the reader want to continue reading the rest of your resume is the goal here.

"Job seekers without clear objectives are advised to do some soul-searching, figure out what they truly want to do and develop resumes with a more targeted employment goal," says Kim Isaacs. She is the director of

"The objective should be as specific as possible, clearly stating exactly what type of position the job seeker is seeking," she says.

"The best objectives are straightforward and include the job seeker's specific goal. The job seeker should relay how he or she would add value to the employer's operation if hired."

Hemming suggests that you do a bit of detective work before you start writing your objective.

"Most employers give clues about what they are exactly looking for in the job descriptions that they write up for a given opportunity," says Isaacs. "You need to read into what they are looking for, and in your objective statement, outline the skills you have that best match the company's needs."

Hemming says your objective should include important keywords. "Your chances of getting an interview will increase if your resume includes keywords that are important to the hiring manager."

Nicole Miller owns a career counseling firm and is a representative for the Professional Resume Writing and Research Association. She says your objective should set the stage for your other information to follow.

"By directly linking each statement of your ability and achievements to the targeted position, you set the stage to directly relate your capabilities to any related experience you may possess."

It's important to use strong language and be clear when describing the position you are pursuing, says Miller.

"The job seeker who provides a clear, succinct and non-flowery objective has just done the hiring manager a favor, and will likely receive extra consideration," says Isaacs.

Keeping it short and smart is the way to go. "Short, smart, employer- and position-focused objective statements are best," says Hemming. "Remember: you're trying to get the hiring manager to read your work history so that they can determine if you are a fit or not."

Good Examples

Here are some examples of good objectives, courtesy of Isaacs:

Example 1: Targeting a specific job opening

Professional Goal: Elementary school teacher at ABC Academy
Example 2: Objective stating career goal and industry target
Career Goal: Software engineer seeking to specialize within the biotechnology or science arena
Example 3: Career goal used as part of a qualifications summary
Employment Goal: Upcoming communications graduate of ABC College seeking to leverage proven classroom skills in creative campaign concepts, placement/distribution strategies, and target marketing in a communications internship

Miller's examples of well-written objectives use strong language:

Objective: Lead computer programmer with supervisory experience seeking challenging position within start-up enterprise


Employment Target: Assistant position in large retail outlet, which allows utilization of strong leadership and educational experience

Not-So-Good Examples

"The worst objectives are full of cliches, focus on the job seeker's needs and don't specify a specific career goal," says Isaacs.

Here are a couple examples that miss the mark.

Objective: Seeking a challenging position with opportunity for growth and advancement.


Objective: A position with a forward-thinking company that values employee teamwork and accountability.

So as you are developing that targeted resume and cover letter, don't forget to include a clear, concise and well-written employment objective.


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