Is Your Objective Statement Causing You to Be Rejected?

Nancy Anderson
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An objective statement is a one-line intro to your resume that can make or break whether you get a call back from an employer. Discover how to handle this small, yet important, statement at the top of your document.

Use a Cover Letter

Instead of an objective statement, introduce your resume with a cover letter. A cover letter gives you about 10 to 12 lines of concise text that outlines your best attribute, why you want the job and why you're a perfect fit. The cover letter entices a hiring manager to read the resume and give you a call. It's like a quick sales pitch of your talents.

Write a Career Summary

Rather than stating your objective, consider a career summary as a way to modernize your vital document. A career summary can be one line or three to four bullet points that outline your highest-level attributes that relate to the job description and qualifications. Tailor your career summary to the position at hand, and make sure your attributes outline why your qualifications are suited to the job.

Know When You Need an Objective Statement

There is some debate over whether you even need an objective statement or career summary on a resume. Some employers do not like them, while others still find them valuable. The point of either line is to convince a hiring manage you're worth a second look.

Determine what you have to gain by having an opening statement. The objective of a resume is often very clear, which is you want a job. If you're applying for multiple positions within the same company, an objective comes in handy to differentiate your submissions from one another when you customize each resume to a specific position.

Who sees the resume might also point to having an objective clause. If you send your documentation directly to the person who hires you, then an objective is probably redundant. However, if you send your application materials to HR or a general email address, an objective can help deliver the resume to the right person.

Figure Out What to Include

You decide you need an objective as the opening of a resume. Now you have to figure out what to include. Be as direct as possible, because a hiring manager or HR staffer doesn't have time to wade through extraneous statements on a resume. You only have a few seconds to make a great first impression.

List only one type of job in your objective. Don't say your goal is to get a job as a writer, editor, author or translator. Keep your objective to just one type of job, or list the position for which you're applying.

Leave out personal abilities from the objective statement. Save those for your sections related to experience and education. These areas are where you show your results and value to a prospective employer.

Whether or not you need an objective statement is up to you. The success or failure of such a line depends on what you put in it and if it adds value to your document.

Photo courtesy of Georgi Klisarski at


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