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Choosing an Objective for Your Resume

Your resume's objective states what you want to do in a job and the direction in which you’re heading. The objective gives your resume immediate focus and is the hub around which all the other information in your resume relates.

Use an objective in your resume under these conditions:

  • You know the position being offered; make that job title your job objective.

  • You have a greatly diversified background that may perplex some employers.

  • You’re a new graduate, a career changer, a service member exiting the military, a member of the clergy switching to the secular job market, an educator seeking another career field, or a homemaker reentering the paid workforce. A job objective says what you’re looking for.

Advantages of an objective

Most studies show that employers prefer objectives for quick identification purposes. They like to see the name of their job openings at the top of a resume. Because you cite those qualifying achievements that support your objective and forget random experiences, the finished product (when done well) shows that you and the desired job appear to be a well-matched pair.

If you’re responding to an advertised job, remember to match the basic qualifications it requires in the body of your resume even if the job seeks a “window pane technician” and your objective says “window pane technician.” An objective that echoes the job title in the job ad is merely a first step in showing that you’re a great match.

Disadvantages of an objective

Ideally, you will write a customized resume for each position (or career field) for which you apply. You may even write a customized resume for each position for which you apply at the same company. The downside to a narrow job objective is that you may not be considered by the same employer for other open positions that you didn’t know about. But if the objective is too broadly focused, your objective statement becomes meaningless.

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