The Object(ive) Of Your Affection

An Objective statement on your resume, and reiterated in your cover letter is a concise way for you to communicate your career goals.  Too often Objective statements are written as flowery batches of verbiage that convey little or nothing about the job seeker’s real aspirations.  Once upon a time it was OK to use a statement like:  Objective: Seeking a long-term position with a growth oriented company that provides opportunities for advancement and creativity.
Those days are gone!  Back in the day, employers would review a resume and be able to say, “I think this applicant might make a good fit in our organization” judging from the overall content of a resume. But like I said, those days are long gone. Employers and recruiters have little time for any applicant who isn’t clear about what they want to do!
If a human resources staffer, recruiter, agency representative or other hiring authority is reviewing resumes for more than one position, which is often the case, your clear, concise Objective statement tells that person what you are, and are not looking for.  A lack of clarity in your Objective statement provides the document reviewer (or filtering software, for that matter) the first opportunity to take you out of the running.
Simply stated: Your Objective statement should match as closely as possible the exact title of the job you are applying for.
If a job announcement states that a company is looking for a Research Specialist in Genetic Engineering, the respondent must say that this is the position being sought through Objective statements like:
Objective:  Seeking a research specialist position focusing on genetic engineering
Or, even better:
Objective: Position as Research Specialist in Genetic Engineering
In both cases, there is little chance of the document reviewer confusing the applicant’s interest for a different opening in the company.
Objective statements that don’t work:
Objective:  Seeking a career-oriented position with a secure Fortune 500 company that provides growth opportunities  (Duh!  Don’t we all want that?)
Objective:  A dynamic and challenging position where my creativity and skills can be utilized to their fullest potential  (This is like asking for indentured servitude!)
Objective:  A position with maximum opportunities for professional interaction with well-connected, wealthy international business operators  (Oh, so you’re an opportunist?)
Objective:  A dynamic position that allows me to use all my skills in a creative and success-oriented environment  (Skills doing what?)
None of these examples indicate any specific skills or experience, let alone a specific job function or title.  These statements on a resume are likely to help a candidate get eliminated from consideration.
If you don’t have a lot of experience or are transitioning into a new field, it is still important to be as specific as possible with your objective statement.  If you aren’t applying for a particular job, but still sending your resume on the hopes someone will see that you have something relevant to contribute, make your objective statement as close to the type of position you’d like to fill.  For example:
Objective:  Seeking an administrative position that allows me to use my extensive data management skills
Objective:  An entry level position in accounting or bookkeeping where I can use my facility with numbers and accurate data entry skills in support of a professional team.
Both of these examples are specific enough to provide a recruiter or hiring manager the impetus to look further at your credentials.  And that’s the goal of the Objective statement: To get HR people to seriously consider you for an opening.
So, don’t forget to make your Objective statement the object of an employer’s affection!
If you have any tips for Objective statements, please respond to the blog.
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