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Resumes - The Elements of a Good Objective

by Linda Matias

Resume objectives have evolved over the years. It used to be that the objective statement was one or two sentences that focused on the job seeker’s expectations. A common objective was, "Seeking a position as (job title) where there is opportunity for growth." As you can see, the old objective statement is bland and a waste of space. It provides no valuable information except to mention the candidate's job title.

Fast-forward to the objectives of today and see how things have drastically changed. Today’s objectives are more detailed and accomplishment-focused. For example, here is an appealing objective for a professional in retail:

Retail manager with success in doubling revenues by creating a customer-centric environment. Leads through example to motivate store associates to embrace a team-player mentality and outperform sales performance goals.

Let's compare the above objective and the objective discussed in the first paragraph. While both mention the job seeker’s title, the contemporary objective highlights an accomplishment right off the bat. This teaser signals to the reader that there are additional successes in the rest of the resume so they should keep on reading.

Many job seekers are reluctant to include achievements in the objective statement because they don't want to repeat the same wording in the body of the resume. That's a legitimate concern. The way around that issue is to mention the same achievement with a different spin. For example, the mention of "doubling revenues" in the objective statement can be transformed into "Grew revenue 54%."

Another difference between the two objective statements is that the contemporary one highlights what the candidate can do, as opposed to what the candidate wants. For illustration purposes imagine you are meeting someone new, and all that person talks about is what they expect from your friendship. You'd be a bit put off, right? Well, hiring managers feel the same way. For that reason it is vital that you mention what you can offer in your objective statement. 

The objective is the first piece of the resume the reader will see. And from there she will make a determination as to whether it is worth her time to read further. So after you complete your objective statement, ask yourself the following questions: (1) Does the objective statement speak to what I can contribute to an employer? And (2) if I were the hiring manager, would I be motivated to keep reading the resume solely based on the information in the objective statement? When you can answer "yes" to both of these questions, that's when you know your objective is perfect.

Linda Matias is a Nationally Certified Resume Writer who heads resume service . She is also the author of 201 Knockout Answers to Tough Interview Questions: The Ultimate Guide to Handling the New Competency-Based Interview Style. You can reach her at to request a resume quote. You can also visit her website at

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