The Objective Statement Is Outdated!

by Lisa Parker, CPRW, CEIP

Objective Statement

The first thing you must do when you set out on a job search is create or update your resume. Typically, this will mean gathering your contact information, adding your employment experience, documenting any education, awards, community service and other accomplishments. Then, based on all the guidance provided to you over the years; 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 resume they will be 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 a perception of your value 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 having you as a member of their team.

The objective statement has been looked upon as a standard requirement for the resume 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 resume 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 resume reviewer will see. What you need to consider is that this statement may be the only thing a resume screener uses to determine whether or not you are a potential candidate. If the message is not unforgettable, your resume will end up in the other pile (shredder, round file, land fill).

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.

Many times you will see job seekers incorporate 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 darn good; but after seeing this on a hundred thousand resumes, 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. The employer is bound to ponder the question: "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 resume 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 value you can bring to the employer, in the form of a profile summary. This is the part of the resume 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 – a Professional Profile. 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.

Administrative Assistant
Increasing Production and Office Efficiency via
Staff Support and Organizational Initiatives

Dynamic, results-oriented Office Manager possessing an extensive background managing administration requirements for a variety of corporate executives, private agencies and business owners. Particularly adept at developing strategies to streamline the provision of Customer Service while fostering team efforts; and incorporating technologically advanced automated data management programs to manage correspondence, schedule office functions, and provide accurate record keeping.

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 the presentation; rather than placing this resume in the other pile.

The resume is your first introduction to the employer and will leave a lasting impression; not only in the perception of your talent but in your overall ability to portray value as a potential employee. Be creative, be bold, be confident, and enjoy your success!

Lisa Parker, CPRW, CEIP is Owner/ Operator of Parker-CPRW, Professional Résumé Presentations, located in Southeastern Georgia. 

Ms. Parker is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer (CPRW) and Certified Employment Interview Professional (CEIP), with experience as an Employment Service Specialist and Disabled Veteran Outreach Program Specialist for the Department of Labor. Subsequent to her retirement from the U.S. Army as an Aviation First Sergeant, Ms. Parker obtained certification as a Transition Assistance Program (TAP) facilitator through the National Veterans Training Institute. 

With over 24 years of experience promoting the personal and professional development of diverse, career-minded professionals with backgrounds in a variety of industries, Ms. Parker maintains currency with trends in the labor market through professional memberships including, but not limited to the following:

  • Professional Association of Résumé Writers and Career Coaches (PARW-CC) - Member
  • CPRW Certification Committee Member, PARW-CC
  • International Association of Work Force Professionals (IAWP) - Member
  • Disabled American Veterans (DAV) – Life Member
  • Notary Public, State of Georgia
  • National Notary Association - Member
  • Chamber of Commerce 

PO Box 548
Claxton, GA 30417

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Editor's note: There are circumstances where using an objective statement is justified. To read more on it, see: When to Include an Objective Statement in Your Resume and Some Examples.

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