Objective Statements. To Be, or Not to Be?
The Object Statement. Some people say it’s like a remote control, it has not gone away. Others say its like a flip phone, it will never come back. [No offense to anyone with a flip phone.] The simple question is, should you include an objective statement on your resume. There is no perfect answer, but here are a few things to consider.
Is Your Objective Obvious?
Imagine you were a substitute teacher, then you earned your teaching license, now you have earned your Master’s in School Administration and you are applying for a position as a principal. The person reading your resume can reasonably assess (assume) your core career objective, so perhaps the objective statement is unnecessary.
On the other hand, let’s say you were applying for a position in a different field, such as an inside sales rep. Perhaps the person reading your resume would assume your looking for a career change outside of education, but are you really looking to be in sales, or are you open to anything that gets you out of education? In this case, an objective statement may be valuable in providing the recruiter or hiring manager with some insight/clarity on your career objective.
Do You Have Something Valuable to Say?
I believe that one of the reasons HR and recruiting professionals have lost interest in the objective statement is because of how poorly written they often are. And it’s not the candidate’s fault; they just don’t know any better. Imagine constantly reading generic statements like, “Looking for a rewarding position with a stable organization where I can utilize my qualifications to help the company grow while further developing and expanding my knowledge and skills.” It would drive you crazy; trust me, I know!
Honestly, that statement says nothing of value. Why? Because that’s what everyone wants. So, if you’re going to use an objective statement, at least try to make it meaningful. Perhaps a better line would be, “Seeking an inside sales position in the healthcare industry with the potential to grow into an outside sales / territory management role.” Objectives are not fluffy; they are clear and concise.
Would it be Better to Use a Professional Summary?
Some will say that a professional summary is to an objective statement as an iPhone is to a rotary phone. [Much respect to the rotary phone.] Professional summaries serve as a brief, high-level statement of your experience and qualifications, and they may even include a career objective statement. Something like, “Senior marketing professional with 10+ years of experience supporting Fortune 500 clients, primarily in the software and telecommunications industries…”
Conclusion: In today’s market, a professional summary is typically more appropriate. If you are changing careers or have a clear goal set, consider adding an objective statement within the summary. Every word on your resume needs to count, so either provide a strong introduction or just leave it out. As the saying goes, “If you don’t have anything nice (valuable) to say, then don’t say anything.”