Careers & Education

Resume career objective ideas

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The career objective is a critical part of your resume
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When you're writing a resume, listing the right career objective is critical

When you're writing your resume, the most difficult part is defining your resume career objective.

That single line can entice a potential employer to read further, or to drop your resume into the circular file.

So how do you craft that critical sentence for maximum positive impact?

Walk the middle ground

When choosing the message for your resume career objective, you need to walk a fine line between making it so specific that few jobs match it and so general as to be meaningless. For example, 

"A managerial position with a magazine which allows me to use my experience in fashion design, writing, photography and graphic design while staying in touch with trends in the art and music world and traveling frequently to interface with the movers and shakers in design and media"
is too specific.  On the other hand, "A job at a fashion magazine" is far too general.

A better version would touch upon specific goals while leaving room for a variety of different ways of fulfilling the goals. To use the example above, a well crafted resume career objective might be:

"A managerial position in the world of fashion publishing which allows me to use my artistic experience and love of travel"

Keep it positive

Some job hunters make the mistake of listing the things they don't want as a part of their objective.  Avoid terms that make your objective sound like a "Things I hated about my last job" list. That spin will immediately direct your resume into the rejection pile, as you will come across as a negative person -- hardly an asset in the hiring world.

Use buzz words sparingly

A resume career objective section is not the place for cliches and buzz words, so skip the phrases like "team player" or "love people," as well as overly trendy terms or slang.

Spell check!

I cannot tell you how many resumes I have reviewed that had spelling errors in their career objective section.  I can't say whether the errors continued into other sections of the resume, because I did not read further. Use spell check and grammar check, then have at least three other people read each section of your resume out loud.  Sloppy errors are fatal in a resume.


While you may need to have a general resume career objective in an online site like Monster or CareerBuilder, each resume sent for a specific job should have a specifically-tailored message to entice the reader to go further. 

A word of caution: avoid making it so specific that it is clearly written for the job at hand and only the job at hand.  Not only could this alienate the reader, it could cut you off from other positions in the company which might be more suited to your interests and skills.

Consider omitting the resume career objective

If your resume is diverse, and your options are open, consider omitting the objective entirely. Letting the reader evaluate your skills and decide where you might best fit can be an huge advantage when sending blind resumes or when you are unsure about what positions are open in a given company.

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