Friday, May 1, 2009

The Objective Statement is Outdated

If you are like most job seekers, the first thing you do when you set out on a job search is update your résumé. Typically, this will mean a quick review of the contact information, adding the most recent employment experience, and updating any educational accomplishments. Then you will set aside a moment to review your objective statement, carefully pondering the strategy you will use to tell the potential employer exactly what you hope to achieve within the scope of the next employment opportunity (aka - your personal goals).

Do you really think the employer cares about your objective?

Get real! Let’s face it - the only person who cares about your objective is you. The employer, on the other hand cares about their objective. The only thing an employer or business owner is interested in, are the tangible assets you will bring to the organization. In other words, when an employer scans your résumé they are looking for “value”. They will quickly scan your qualifications and previous accomplishments to gather a snapshot of the total package you may contribute to the business, and gather in a glance the ones that they can benefit from. They are looking for the skills you possess that will enable, or help them reach their business goals. Then they will picture themselves on the receiving end of all that experience, and visualize the potential gain associated with you as a member of their team.

The objective statement has been looked upon as a standard requirement for the résumé by job seekers for many years based on the guidance they receive from various resources. Some of these resources will tell you that the objective statement is the opportunity to portray your hopes and dreams. This is where you can share your passion and personality, and provide the recipient of your résumé some insight into your short or long term goals.

Although opinions differ on the subject of whether or not to use an objective and how best to write it; the fact is that when used, the objective statement is the first thing the résumé reviewer will see. What you need to consider is that this statement may be the only thing a résumé screener uses to determine whether or not you are a potential candidate. If the message is not unforgettable, your résumé will end up in the other pile (shredder, round file, city dump, no-way, see-ya).

In the old days, an objective statement may have helped an employer screen for those candidates with goals, drive and ambition. But when everyone, to include your competition uses the same old boring objective over the years, the result is an extreme lack of individuality, boredom, and a gross lack of the creative flair commonly associated with independence and success.

How many times have you seen something like the following statement?

“Seeking a challenging position which will enable me to utilize my extensive skills, continue my professional development, and provide opportunity for growth and advancement”.

I bet from the job seeker’s perspective this sounds pretty good; but after seeing this on a hundred thousand résumés, the employer must feel like the guy in the cartoon, beating up his computer with a sledge hammer; so much for portraying passion and personality.

Is there not one potential candidate that possesses just a glimpse of originality?

If you want to set yourself apart from the competition, consider that by submitting a résumé you have already stated your objective. You are currently seeking employment opportunities. So if you want to set yourself apart even further; explain in the top third of the page what you can do for the employer. This is the part of the résumé where you must portray immediate value, intrigue the reader, and prompt the desire to learn more about you.

Instead of the outdated, antiquated, obsolete version of an objective statement, use a strategy more in line with the labor market of today. Tell the employer who you are right up front (job title or career field); and portray yourself in a statement that sets you apart from the competition.


Analytical, innovative, results-oriented Program and Systems Manager possessing a lengthy background in supervising the effective application of technical knowledge and operational readiness management functions. Over 23 years of experience managing the procurement and allocation of operational resources supporting maintenance and logistical management programs for global distribution operations.

I think you have to agree, this approach really does pack more of a punch. The employer will be interested in this candidate, and is bound to spend more time reviewing the rest of this presentation; rather than placing this résumé in the other pile.


  1. I use a similar approach and call that statment the Professional Profile. I suppose there are lots of other possibilities, but creativity can be overdone also.

    My problem with statments of objective is that they are as standard as the absurd "do not remove" warning labels on a matress. Everyone learned the formula. No one is going to say that they are looking for a job at your company until they get a better offer, or until my wife graduates, or whatever. Employers recognize this too.

    I commend you for recognizing and mentioning this to job seekers. A statement of how employing them will benefit the company is much more valuable.

  2. Hi Penny,
    Thank you for your comments, you are absolutely correct. If you are not able to portray your value to the employer, in a way that sets you apart from the competition, the job offer may never come about.