The Death of the Objective Statement

October 21, 2013 Resume Services


I remember exactly when I learned how to write a resume. It was my freshman year of high school in my keyboarding class. I’m 32 now, so that was roughly 17 years ago. The world has changed a lot since then, so it’s safe to assume the rules of a good resume could have changed as well.

You remember the “objective” statement, right? It goes a little something like this: To pursue an exciting entry-level career at a wonderful company with the potential for advancement. There are a thousand variations but they’re all pretty much the same. And that’s why recruiters hate them.

I don’t know where the objective statement came from, but I can tell you why it’s gone away. It does nothing for your potential employer. A hiring manager already knows you want the job, so he doesn’t need to see it in writing. Since the gold standard is still a one-page resume, that’s precious space you could be wasting on something employers don’t care to see. And since you probably learned how to write a resume about as long ago as I did, no one could blame you for the oversight. But that’s the point: an objective statement could make your resume seem a bit dated and out-of-touch.

Instead, I like to include a “skills profile” or “executive summary” at the top of my resumes. A skills profile is a bulleted list of your key offerings as an employee, and can include certifications, talents and personality traits. An executive summary, on the other hand, is what the objective statement should have been – a one or two sentence summary of what you can offer an employer.

So free up a few lines and say goodbye to our old high school friend. He’s worn out his welcome!