One of the key parts of an effective resume is a strong opening statement – which we typically refer to as an objective statement or summary.
The resume objective statement appears at the top of your resume and serves as an introduction to who the candidate is. It’s typically the first thing a hiring manager will read so it’s important that the objective be impactful, concise, and tailored to the requirements of the role you’re applying to.
What is an Objective Statement on a Resume?
The resume objective — much like a summary statement — serves as a brief introduction of who you are as a candidate, and what relevant skills and experience you have to offer. It typically appears as 3 to 5 sentences in paragraph or bullet form and briefly summarizes the overall message carried throughout the rest of the resume.
Consider the objective as both your overall branding statement and a summary of why you are uniquely qualified for the job.
Does Your Resume Need an Objective?
It’s important to include an objective or summary statement on your resume for several reasons.
First, it can be tailored to the specific role you’re applying to, and is a great way to infuse your resume with relevant keywords and phrases. Refer to the job description and make sure the language of the resume matches. Second, it sets the tone for the rest of the document by communicating your overall branding message. Finally, it’s a concise introduction that gives your reader a quick snapshot of your skills, experience, and level of expertise.
How to Write the Perfect Resume Objective
- Determine the Overall Message Behind Your Resume
An effective resume tells a compelling story about your career progression and how you got to where you are now. Ask yourself, “What do I want hiring managers to know about me?” This is the message that should be coming through in your objective and in all other sections of the resume.
“I am an award-winning journalist with a lot of exciting experience and deep knowledge of my industry.”
- Create a Strong Opening Line
The opening line of your resume should communicate who are you, what you do, and what your level of experience is. Begin with 1 or 2 powerful descriptors that speak to your unique characteristics. In this example, we used “award-winning” and “multi-lingual” as descriptors to illustrate the candidate’s unique attributes.
“Award-winning, multi-lingual journalist with 10 years of experience within globally recognized media companies.”
- Describe Your Most Relevant Skills & Strengths (Based on the Role)
Now that you’ve articulated what you do and your level of experience, describe the specific skills you can offer that are most relevant to the job description.
“An exceptional writer and communicator with extensive experience creating content for fashion, lifestyle, and beauty brands.”
- Include Any Additional Relevant Experience or Transferrable Skills
What other attributes can you offer that — though not required — can bring value to the position? Think about what makes you unique from other candidates with a similar background.
“A continual learner with a passion for researching emerging trends, technologies, and innovations in the field of digital media. Experience developing content for both English and Spanish speaking audiences.”
- Combine it All Together
Weave the above statements together to create a cohesive narrative. In doing so, be sure that your overall description speaks to your original message outlined in Step 1.
“Award-winning, multilingual journalism with 10 years of experience working with globally recognized media companies. An exceptional writer and communicator with extensive experience creating engaging content for fashion, lifestyle, and beauty brands. A continual learner with a passion for researching emerging trends, technologies, and innovations in the media field. Experience developing content for English and Spanish speaking audiences.”
Three Examples of Great Resume Objective Statements
Marketing Executive objective statement:
Strategic marketing executive with over 15 years of experience developing integrated marketing solutions across digital, mobile, video, print and events. Proven success generating qualified leads, identifying potential opportunities, and closing large, complex deals. Builds deep client relationships while delivering high-impact solutions that support customers’ key business needs.
Recent Graduate objective statement:
Recent graduate with a bachelor’s degree in graphic design and over 3 years of professional experience. Blends a strong eye for color, design, and layout, with a deep understanding of standard design tools and applications. Passionate about helping brands craft a unique visual identity across print and digital media.
Real Estate objective statement:
Licensed real estate agent with extensive experience in sales and leasing of residential properties. Brings a comprehensive knowledge of the New York City real estate market, with years of experience as an owner, investor, and property manager for multiple residential properties. Passionate, driven, and focused on building strong customer relationships predicated on trust and expertise.
The objective statement on your resume is an important marketing tool that will set the overall tone and message for your resume, while immediately drawing attention to your most relevant qualifications. Ideally, you want to customize the statement to fit each job description you apply to, so that it mimics the language and keywords used in the job description.
Including a strong objective statement that showcases your experience level, skill set, and strengths can make the difference between a winning resume, and a lost opportunity.