The Resume Objective: Why It Needs to Go the Way of the Dodo

Does your resume start with an objective? A description of what you want out of your next position?

If so, ask yourself why.

Is the resume objective there because you think that’s the most effective way to start, or is it simply there because that’s what you’ve seen other people do?

In truth most people start with a resume objective for the second reason – they’ve seen it on other resumes and they feel it’s what they’re supposed to do. But what most job seekers don’t realize is that the resume objective is killing their response rate.

Recruiters don’t care about your objective

Imagine being the recruiter who is reviewing an inbox full of resumes. She’s looking for someone who will absolutely kill it in the job, someone who will excel from the get-go. And because she has so many resumes to review, she makes her decision in less than 10 seconds.

That means the first few lines of your resume are key. They must attract attention and convince her that you are the person who can make a difference. What she wants to see is an opening pitch that tells her exactly why you are the right choice for her company.

But with a resume objective, all she sees is a description of what you want in your next position. You can understand why starting with an objective can really undermine the effectiveness of the rest of your resume – even if the rest of the resume is a work of genius.

A resume objective puts the emphasis on your needs when it should be on the company’s needs

I could talk about this problem all day – too many job seekers forget to address the company’s needs when they craft their resume. If you can put yourself into the shoes of the recruiter, imagining her concerns and priorities, you can replace that dull and self-focused objective with a compelling employee-focused resume opening.

An alternative to the resume objective

So if an objective isn’t a good idea, what is?

I recommend starting your resume with

a) a headline that describes the position you’re targeting
b) a subheader that quickly summarizes exactly what you have to offer

You can see an example of this type of resume opening on this resume sample and this one. While the designs are different, each one shows a clear headline describing the target roles (which just makes life easier for the recruiter who may have 10 different positions to fill and needs to know where you fit in) and a statement of value, that clearly demonstrates how the candidate can make a difference.

So banish that resume objective

It’s time to ditch the objective and replace it with a resume opening that truly communicates how and why you will add value. Then follow that headline with a resume summary that grabs attention.

Make this change and you’ll see an immediate improvement in the reaction to your resume. Good luck!

If you’re interested in improving your resume further, register for our free resume writing course. You’ll receive lots of tips and tricks to transform your resume and increase your response rate, all delivered by email.

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