What is an Objective Statement?
The Career Objective or Objective Statement is the opening phrase of a resume. A career objective states your work-related goals and what skills you possess to achieve them. It also tells the hiring manager how you can contribute to the position and thereby the business.
The common mistake most of us make
Back when I graduated from college and had to write my resume for the first time, my first resort was the internet. However, in almost all sample resumes for entry-level, fresher and college graduates I found, the opening header was an Objective Statement along the lines “Seeking for a challenging position that would enable me to utilize my skills effectively….” And thereby secured its place in my own resume for a very long time. In short, I was led to believe that the starting of a resume should always be an Objective line that is of a particular format and need not necessarily describe me closely. As time went by, everything else from the Skills and Strengths to the Professional Experience changed; with new headers like Technical Skills and Core Competencies being added to the lot. But the only thing that remained the same was the Objective Statement. Or rather, this was the area that had my least attention.
Only when it was time to move on in career as a senior professional and I badly needed a revamping of my existing resume, had it dawned upon me that the Objective in my resume was a total fail. All these years, I had carried a resume which I thought perfectly summed up my skills and ambitions and presented them in the most interesting way when in fact it was a failure at the beginning itself. This is a common mistake that happens to most job seekers. They pay less attention to the opening statement, underestimating its importance. However, the truth is that this section gives an insight of your skills and potential in a nutshell and makes for a first impression of your candidacy to the employer.
Who should keep and who should not?
Although, college grads can still keep an objective statement in their resume for the reason that they have less work-related skills or expertise, it is better for an experienced professional’s resume to start off with a more appropriate header like the “Summary of Qualifications”. Objective Statement only shows what you are looking for in your next position. Whereas, the “Summary of Qualifications” or “Profile” distinctly states all your experiences and skills that are most relevant to the position. This will bullet-list all the skills and expertise you have acquired through your professional career and help hiring managers decide easier whether you are a potential candidate for the job.
See the examples below and decide for yourself.
“To obtain a position working with advanced systems and technical infrastructures.”
Summary of Qualifications
A System Administrator with over ten years of experience, working with or in an environment covering System Operations, CL Programming, Security Planning, Scheduling and performing OS upgrades in the retail, Manufacturing and Pharmaceutical industries.
However, do not overload the summary with all the skills you have. Instead, pick two or three most important ones that closely match the job requirement and list those. As a backing to the summary statement, you can provide a Career Highlights section. This section will elaborate on the skills and experience you mentioned in the summary section.