Contributed by Jackie Roberson
The resume is a time-honed document that efficiently and effectively tells hiring managers what they need to know. Everything from the economical negative space to the curt job descriptions is clearly designed to maximize information uptake while decreasing time necessary to determine an applicant’s suitability for a position — everything, that is, except the objective.
In recent years, job hunters and hiring managers alike have questioned whether the objective statement is a necessary element of the resume. To many, it seems to take up vital space without imparting any useful information. However, when executed properly, the objective statement is a powerful tool for matching applicants with ideal positions. Here’s why objective statements should stay — and how hiring managers can use them to their advantage:
The Job Hunter’s Goal
The primary reason resume objectives have fallen out of favor is a misconception among job hunters that objectives explain a candidate’s career goals. Indeed, it seems unnecessary for an applicant to expound on his or her 10-year plan at the start of a highly specific review of employment history and skills. That is not what objective statements are for; rather, they should be as tailored as individual resumes to explain why an applicant will be beneficial in desired positions.
Undeniably, resume objective statements are valuable to applicants. Resumes are living documents that should adapt to each application, and taking time to craft a unique objective for each resume variation is a way to guide job hunters’ thinking toward the skills and qualifications they need to obtain each particular position. Additionally, the statement encourages candidates to practice considering an organization’s needs and wants first, which is an essential mindset throughout employment — at least from a hiring manager’s perspective. For these reasons, job hunters should be interested in adding objectives to their resumes.
The Hiring Manager’s Time
Studies on the application process have found that hiring managers hardly spend more than six seconds perusing each candidate’s application materials. Considering that most small businesses lack a discrete hiring manager — instead adding the responsibilities of recruiting and hiring to HR professionals or managers who have ample other concerns — it should be no surprise that such little time is devoted to reviewing resumes and cover letters. Because hiring managers have so much to consider in a brief period, job hunters should do everything they can to increase the scan-ability of their documents, including adding an objective statement.
Objectives are like built-in analyses of applicants’ assistance to organizations, so resumes that include objective statements save hiring managers time and energy deciphering qualifications to discern benefits. Later, hiring managers can return to promising resumes for fuller reviews, but initially, objective statements are useful tools for identifying candidates with the right mindset and skills.
Elements of Effective Objectives
Resume objective statements are vital for applicants and advantageous for hiring professionals — but only if they are executed correctly. An objective is not a summary of skills or a tall tale about qualifications, and it is certainly not a plea to be hired. Rather, it is a brief statement of a candidate’s immediate career goals and a description of that candidate’s potential benefits to specific employers. To that end, here are a few tips to help hiring managers identify amazing objective statements (and craft their own!):
- Keep it brief. At most, an objective should consist of one sentence and a handful of words. Applicants should save their long-winded explanations for interviews — or better yet, never.
- Don’t be generic. Clichés and nonspecific wording fail to provide any tangible meaning and therefore waste resume space and hiring managers’ time. Instead, an objective statement should be unique and creative, showcasing an applicant’s style and potential.
- Have the right focus. Every job hunter wants a high-paying job with opportunities for advancement, but not every job hunter can provide value to employers. Thus, objectives should focus on the latter, not the former. Applicants should choose the best way they can contribute to employers’ teams and stick to that; one objective is enough.
- Don’t lie. Maybe applicants in the 1950s could get away with a fib or two, but there are too many ways hiring managers can fact check resumes to make lying in application materials a profitable pursuit. The objective statement is the worst place to stretch the truth because the rest of the resume can easily disprove false assertions.
Jackie is a content coordinator and contributor that creates quality articles for topics like technology, business, home life, and education. She studied business management and is continually building positive relationships with other publishers and the internet community.