What Does Objective Mean in a Resume?

As with any project, before you begin, you must determine what you want to accomplish through this endeavor. In a resume, your objective defines your career goal. Once this is clear, the remainder of the resume, including work experience, degrees, certifications and reason you are applying to a particular job, become clear.


An objective should answer the question, "Who am I?" and not something like, "What would I like to do?" It can be a few sentences, but should not be more than 100 words. The majority of your skills and history is weaved throughout your resume. One can think of an objective in a resume as if you had 10 seconds to explain to an employer why you just walked into his office.

Is It Required?

An objective in a resume should be used in a case where the writer is a recent graduate or changing careers so that by glancing at the history, an employer could not readily explain what job you are looking for. If there is a particular company and/or position you are targeting, this should be written in a formal objective section. For example, a statement such as, "Seasoned HR professional, seeking to leverage my skills and experience at Starbucks Coffee Company in your open District Manager position..."

Different Names, Same Ideas

If you don't write a clear objective near the top of your resume, most employers will not take the time to determine for you what you are looking for. Kim Isaacs, a resume-writing professional at Monster.com, notes that you may not need specifically an "Objective" section in your resume. If the basic ideas are covered through a "Qualifications Summary" or "Introduction" paragraph, this works just as well. For example, on top or just below your contact information, you could have an, "Introduction" paragraph such as, "Professional salesperson, skilled in upselling and building client relationships..."


When looking for the correct words to type in your objective, consider how you benefit the company, not on how the job will help you. This may be the first item an employer reads about you so this is not the place to state your preferences such as, "Seeking a full time position with no cold calling involved..." If you are clever in word use, you can diplomatically convey restrictions on what you are looking for, such as stating, "Seeking an Inside Sales leadership role to leverage my 10 years of district management experience..."

Clear and Concise

Be clear and brief. Typing an over-used statement like, "Seeking a challenging role with room for growth..." only makes it seem as if you cut and pasted text from a resume template. Your objective should be as original as you are. If you have several different positions you are looking for, prepare different versions of your resume. If you have an objective that says something like, "Seeking either a Sales or IT Administration position with Apple Computers..." makes you appear undecided. Also, if your requested positions are handled by two different divisions, the employer will most likely throw it into the circular file, rather than making a copy and handing it to the other decision-maker.