Kill Your Resume’s Objective Statement


Many a resume includes an “objective statement” that breaks down the candidate’s strategic goals. That statement usually ends up at the very top of the resume. But does it actually help your job prospects?

Probably not.

Let’s break down a typical objective statement: “Seeking a role as an app engineer in order to improve my programming skills and contribute to a company’s success.”

What’s wrong with that statement? First of all, it doesn’t tell the prospective employer anything about how the candidate can materially contribute to the company’s strategic goals and bottom line. It focuses on what the candidate wants out of life, not what they can do for others.

Second, an objective statement tends to be vague—and vagueness is one of the surest ways to doom a resume’s effectiveness. It doesn’t provide much insight into your skills, experience, education, or other attributes that actually matter to the employer.

When in doubt, delete the objective statement, and put that valuable real estate at the top of your resume to better use.

10 Responses to “Kill Your Resume’s Objective Statement”

  1. When I was checking resumes, the first thing i always did was to look at the persons goal/objective.
    If it was close to the job I was hiring, I’d read on. If there was no goal, I was always tempted to throw away the resume because I didn’t want to waste my time trying to figure out what the person wanted to do, which had nothing to go with what this person had previously done. Bottom line: skip the goal and you can skip sending me a resume.

  2. Amin Adatia

    Amazing how a diamond is thrown away because you have to dig for it. Wonder if the “Hiring Manager” makes investment decisions the same way. How can a person fathom what your goal(s) would be from reading a job posting with X number of years expertise in Product Z when the product has not been in the market for the X years? And what impression does the posting provide when the expertise is expected for a product which has become obsolete for more years than the required experience years?

  3. Shawn Irwin

    I see so many articles like this, one person says do it one way, another says do it another way . . . . . you can google it if you do not believe me . . . . The fact is, there just is no official standard way of doing a resume, and different careers require different approaches . . . . so, it really is just a crap shoot, when a manager looks at your resume, it really all depends on what they want to see, and no one else. Best advise . . . . ask the hiring manager or HR about resume formatting before you send one, if you are that desperate for the position.

  4. I was recently given this advice – replaced my objective with a simple list of skills, technologies, and software I have experience with. I saw immediate increase in call backs when submitting my resume.

    My opinion – most resumes (especially if submitted online via the employer / contractor house’s website) are run through some sort of parsing system which cherry picks resumes based on % of keywords met. Your resume usually isn’t read unless it makes it thru parsing.

  5. I did not have an objective section in my resumes but did have type of quick “headline statement about my skills, education, and leadership as well as what I was looking for. However I was getting to many complaints from recruiters about not understanding my resume because it did not have an objective statement. So I had to add one to my resume. Did not noticed any difference either way.

  6. I have the same experience as Jason. I dropped the objective and saw an immediate improvement in interest.

    Regarding keyword matching, back in the olden days, we used to promote adding a keyword section to your resume. That way you don’t have to force industry jargon into your accomplishments. The theory was that there is generally a screener in front of the hiring manager. That screener may or may not understand the lingo, but everyone should be able to relate to business value statements. The purpose of the resume is to get a conversation, not be the conversation.

    When I’m reviewing resumes, I typically like see a SMALL section at the beginning that tells me something about you and helps me see across the experience, i.e. if you’ve managed people, tell me how many,

    Hope this helps. Remember, the resume is hiring foreplay. It’s purpose is to get you a live discussion so you can make a connection with the person across the table.

  7. Jason said, “…most resumes …are run through some sort of parsing system which cherry picks resumes based on % of keywords met. Your resume usually isn’t read unless it makes it thru parsing.”

    Probably true…and then when a real person reads it and can’t figure out what you want out of a career, the resume may go in the trash. According to a previous article (from about 2 years ago) you have about 6 seconds of time for the reviewer to decide whether to keep reading your resume. If what you want and what you’re capable of is hidden in the body of the resume, you’ll likely exceed that time.
    But if it’s working for you, I’d love to know the first 10 lines of your resume…like Name and EMail (no address or phone number?) then first job title, dates and what you worked on? or what?

    Back to the resume “bots” I hate how recruiters use this to search for things on resumes. I have a few things that I worked on 10 years ago, for 1 project, and really have no expertise in it, and I seem to get lots of inquiries about if I’d like to use that expertise on the perfect job matching my skills…when I look at the listing, it’s clear that I’m not qualified…I wish I could simply create my own bot to filter out these useless recruiters.

  8. Alan Seyedi

    With all respects,

    I noticed too many contradictory comments and responses.

    All of them are just opinion and not facts.

    Indians decide who to interview and who to hire.

    And in most cases, they already have their candidate in mind before posting the job (for mortality).

    Resume is important but not so much.

    Format, objectives, goals, listing years of experience

    I have had my resumes written and checked by professional resume writing companies and paid up to $500 but made no difference.

    Outsourcing is killing all the job opportunities for Americans, not the resume format or contents.



  9. emilov

    “Outsourcing is killing all the job opportunities for Americans, not the resume format or contents.”
    I am afraid as long as a monthly salary abroad is less than a monthly rent or a monthly mortgage payment, jobs creation will be quite limited.

  10. Jakester

    I have been a coder for well over 20 years, 13 of which were contracting. My resume is succinct summary of the projects and technologies required.

    I dropped the Objective section years ago. My resume speaks to my experience. If I get an interview, I research the company to get some talking points and be able ask intelligent questions.

    BTW, anyone more then 5 years out of school should probably drop their education section. I did and it’s never been a problem. Employers want a to know what been doing since school.