How to List a Job Target on Your Resume

By Laura DeCarlo

An objective header statement on your resume clearly defines the position you’re targeting. It gives immediate focus to your resume and is the hub around which all the other information in your document relates.

You may have noticed the use of the term objective header here instead of objective. The important difference is that an objective makes you think of a long-winded statement about what you want, such as

Seeking a management position with opportunity for growth and achievement.

Blah, blah, blah. It’s fatty and bloated with words that do nothing to sell you and are too focused on what you want. Instead, you want to edit this down ruthlessly to an objective header, which is nothing more than a succinct title of the position you are targeting with your resume. For example, a retail manager may simply include one of the following phrases:

RETAIL MANAGEMENT PROFESSIONAL

or

RESULTS-DRIVEN RETAIL MANAGER

It really draws the eye as a header versus a lengthy “all-about-me” sentence.

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 accomplishments that support your objective header and leave out random experiences, the finished product shows that you and the desired job appear to be a well-matched pair.

If you’re responding to an advertised job, 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 toward showing that you’re a great match.

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

Is this objective header necessary? Absolutely. Think of your resume as a maze — it has to have a visible entrance or no one would ever get started. Without an objective header, the prospective employer won’t know for which position you are applying. Don’t assume they’ll scan it or read it anyway.

Instead, your resume will likely fall into the black hole of job seekers who don’t know what the company needs or what they want. Make each resume OnTarget with an objective header.