Does Your Resume Really Need an Objective?

An objective is often one of the first things listed on a resume. It sometimes appears before crucial information such as recent jobs, technical skills, and educational background. But why?

Is your resume objective really telling the hiring manager anything substantial? Will the hiring manager even read it?

Do you even need an objective on your resume?

The answer to all of these questions is “probably not”. A hiring manager will likely skip your resume objective if it comes before the essential resume components that they truly look for, such as work history and technical skills.

Including a resume objective could even be harmful if you place it above the most important information.

That’s right, a career objective on your resume could actually be killing your job search! Even if your resume objective is read by a hiring manager, it isn’t going to get you hired or interviewed.

If you insist on standing out and expressing your unique interest in a certain position, that’s what a cover letter is for.

Okay, then what should we put on a resume instead?

The purpose of a resume is to show your experience and qualifications that are relevant to the job you’re applying for.

If a job requires a certain level of education, you can list your educational background at the top of the resume. You could then dive into your chronological work history, which is the first thing hiring managers really look for and often what they base their decision on.

If education isn’t as important in your field, list it later (the very end of your resume is a great place to put it). You could then start right away with your chronological work history or you can write a brief career summary before starting your work history section.

How is a career summary different than a resume objective?

Here’s a very basic/short career summary example, to illustrate what I have in mind. You could go into a bit more detail than this on your resume:

  • Career Summary: A plastics engineering professional with 10 years of industry experience and direct exposure to injection molding, medical device design, research & development, and product commercialization.

Notice how this career summary has no meaningless filler-content, unlike most of the career objectives that I see on resumes. Here’s an example of what I usually see listed as an objective:

  • Objective: To obtain a challenging engineering position within an organization that values innovation and continuous improvement.

This kind of nonsense is literally a speed bump in the hiring manager’s road toward your important credentials and experience. If you’re applying for a job and submitting a resume, I’m guessing the hiring manager can figure out that you’d like to be offered a position.

So let’s recap here…

How should we begin our resume, instead of using a resume objective:

  • Option 1: A brief section on educational background.
  • Option 2: A brief career summary section.
  • Option 3: After your name and contact info, dive right into your chronological work history. Include everything else after. This is what I would do personally.

Feel free to leave a comment below if you have any questions/concerns.


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Leave a Comment:

Jeremy says December 9, 2013

I think having an objective can still be helpful if you just take out the generic stuff that this article talks about.. stuff like “i want to be offered a job”.

But if you put non-obvious stuff, it’s still helpful to have.

santosh says January 21, 2014

I think having an objective can still be helpful too. just don’t make it like everyone else’s generic objective.

Antonella says June 25, 2014

Hi Biron,

Your posts are really meaningful and unearthing precious tips for jobseekers.

In regard to this article, I totally agree with your suggestion.
I had recently my resume redone by professional resume writers and, following their experience, adding that objective section only gets to put room off from your resume presentation.
In addition to this, it’s useless: since I have learned that the right concern it’s not about you, but about the employer and what’s in it for the recipient of your resume.

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