Resume Job Objectives: Do’s, Don’ts, and Samples

Updated: September 9, 2020

Ah, the resume objective … once a feature of nearly every resume and now a point of great debate. Is it useful or outdated? How do you use it effectively? And how does it differ from a resume summary or professional profile?

From a technical standpoint, a resume job objective tells the reader what type of job you’re seeking. Most internship seekers who add an objective to their resume focus on long-term goals or far-off possibilities. It’s all about what they want and not what they can do for the company.

A good resume objective highlights your needs and the employer’s needs. Like a resume summary, it provides a snapshot of what you can offer a company, so that the hiring manager keeps reading. But it comes with the added bonus of telling the company what you want, thus offering a more balanced perspective.

With those basics out of the way, let’s create a great resume objective from the bottom up.


Building a Resume Objective

Resume Objective #1

Objective: To attain a position that will allow me to grow and reach my fullest potential.

That’s a fairly typical job objective, and … it’s not great. Here’s what’s wrong:

  1. It doesn’t specify the job for which the applicant is applying. You’d be amazed at how often resumes get sent in, without a cover letter and with no mention of the job the applicant is seeking. This gets frustrating for businesses with multiple job vacancies, many of which have similar responsibilities.
  2. It’s super vague. Grow towards what? How will you achieve your potential? And how will your growth support the employer? Specifying the job you’re seeking and providing concrete goals is crucial. Let’s up the ante a little.
Resume Objective #2

Objective: Recent graduate seeks an accounting position that will allow me to grow and apply my skill set.

That’s a small improvement. It’s more specific, speaking to the applicant’s background and their desired field, and it hints at the fact that the applicant is offering the employer something. Once you have a specific job that you’re applying to, you can insert the actual company name, too (e.g., “an accounting position at Miller Accounting …”).

Now let’s turn to the second part of that objective. It needs to focus more on the applicant’s accomplishments and less on vague hopes and dreams. To figure out which accomplishments and skills to highlight, review your professional history against the job description. Then, highlight the areas with the most overlap.

Resume Objective #3

Objective: Recent graduate seeks to bring four years of accounting experience to an internal audit role, utilizing data mining and analysis ability and IT knowledge to eliminate waste and enhance profitability at ABC Company.

That’s a great resume objective. It mentions the applicant’s experience, what role they’re seeking at which company, and specifies what they’ll bring to the table. All in a single sentence. An objective like this makes a would-be employer want to keep reading.

Here are a few more examples to provide some job objective inspiration:

  • Personable, detail-oriented, and flexible production assistant with on-set and office production experience seeks to support talent and crew for long-term television series.
  • Recent visual arts graduate with minor in animation seeks to bring your ideas to life, from concepting to modeling, with a role in the video game industry.
  • Seeking role as medical laboratory technician, performing laboratory tests, operating lab equipment, and logging data efficiently and cheerfully. Hands-on previous experience and keen attention to detail.

Resume Objective vs. Resume Summary/Profile

At this point, you may be wondering if there are some alternatives to the resume objective. Job seekers, including college students and new graduates, can consider replacing the objective with a resume summary or profile. These succinct descriptions don’t address your needs; rather, they focus solely on getting the reader’s attention as quickly as possible by highlighting your most relevant, impressive skills.

For those with little experience, this section can include a mix of hard and soft skills. Soft skills are interpersonal, not quantifiable. Examples include communication, critical thinking, innovation, results-orientation, time management, and organization. A summary or profile is generally formatted as a short paragraph; if you need to fill space on the page, you can use 3–4 bullet points.

As you gain additional work experience, you can build out your resume summary with statements that directly address the job at hand. So, if a job description lists “customer service” and “experience in software sales,” here’s an example:

Resume Summary

Outgoing and results-oriented sales representative, with dual degree in computer science and business administration. Skills in building long-term relationships and resolving customer issues led to 95% customer satisfaction rating and 30% increase in sales during first year at previous role at start-up IT firm.

Now that you have all the information, you can decide which direction you want to go. However you choose to introduce yourself on your resume, get straight to the point, highlight your greatest feats, and directly address the skills sought by your would-be employer. You’ll be landing an interview in no time.