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Career objective: Is it still recommended on a resume?

How you write your resume introduction can influence whether an employer will consider you for an interview.

Chalkboard with question mark and text saying Objective: Include or not include

Should you use a career objective on your resume?

The answer to this question depends on where you are in your career. If you are just starting out, changing jobs or want to mass mail your resume, using a career objective may be right for you. If you have experience, education, skills or achievements in your targeted career, a career summary or personal profile would be a better fit.

The goal of the career summary or objective is to grab the reader’s attention by telling them the most important information you have to share with them right up front. You have less than 30 seconds to make a positive first impression, so make every word on your resume counts.

What is a career objective?

According to Dictionary.com, one definition of the word objective is “something that one's efforts or actions are intended to attain or accomplish; purpose; goal; target.” A career objective should be concise and can include a specific job title, field of work or industry, and relevant skills.

What to consider when writing a career objective

  • It should be concise, no more than 50 words.
  • To increase your job search effectiveness, your objective should be customized for each position.
  • Read the job posting clearly and identify the job title, key words and skills you have that match the posting and use them in the objective.
  • Think from an employer’s perspective and ask yourself what can you do for them and what value can you bring to the company.

Career objective samples for someone just starting out

  • A caring, creative and dependable high school student looking for a summer position for Parks and Recreation Department.
  • To work in the retail industry where excellent communication and personal skills, in addition to a positive attitude, will be utilized in serving customers with courtesy and efficiency.
  • Organized, detailed-orientated high school senior seeking co-op data entry position where accuracy of information can be relied on for report generation and record keeping.

Whether you use a career summary or an objective, remember to write from an employer’s perspective. What value, skills or assets do you bring to the company? No longer is it sufficient to just indicate the job you want.

Check out Michigan State University Extension's 4-H Career Preparation Program for additional resume writing tools and tips to prepare for the job search. For more information or resources on career exploration, workforce preparation, financial education or entrepreneurship, contact 4-HCareerPrep@anr.msu.edu.

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