Career Objectives on Resumes

Photo by Ilya Pavlov via Unsplash

One of my favorite things about both my involvement in the community as well as being in a management position is reviewing resumes. It’s extremely rewarding to be able to help someone find the job of her/his dreams or at least help provide clarification or direction. I’m fortunate enough that there are a handful of people out there that respect my opinion enough to have approached me for assistance. (And if you are reading this, thank you!) One thing that I’ve become a stickler for when it comes to resumes is having a defined career objective.

Purpose of a Career Objective

A career objective is your response to questions such as: What do you want to achieve next? or What do you want to accomplish over the course of your career?
The reason your resume needs a career objective is because it provides a deeper look into what drives you and what your goals are. Your experience and skill set do not speak to your character. An objective is your specific desired outcome of your career path.

For a WordPress developer, for example, you may have a specific objective of: obtaining a role where you can gain the skills to become an established leader in the WordPress development community. Or you might have a slightly different objective if you are coming from another industry. You might be: seeking a career where you can learn from more experienced developers.

How an Objective Differs From a Summary

Hopefully with those examples, you can get a glimpse into what an objective sets out to define. I’ve noticed a lot of applicants will provide a summary at the top of their resume. Personally, I prefer objectives over summaries because as I stated above, objectives speak to the applicant’s character, whereas summaries are just a brief paragraph format of the resume itself.

After looking at quite a few resumes, I can say that I would definitely put more consideration into a candidate with a listed career objective. It’s nice to know that someone took the time to think about their goals and how they align with the position they are applying for. (Cover letters are also great for specifics on why you’re the right fit for “Company ABC” and for that position in particular.)

If you are ever looking for feedback on a career objective or your resume in general, feel free to reach out to me.

Further Reading

The Interview Guys – How to Write a Killer Resume Objective (Examples Included)
Harvard Business Review – How to Write a Resume That Stands Out

Disclaimer: I’m a young, less experienced manager. I have not been the final decision-maker on a hiring (yet). However, I have played a direct role in the hiring process of two web developers. I have experience revising/writing technical assessments, reviewing resumes and cover letters, and have also been involved as an interviewer.
Update: As of May, 2017 I have been the hiring manager for 3 new team members.

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