For some job seekers, a resume objective serves as the best way to present themselves to potential employers; they can state their career goals and highlight their expertise. But when should you use an objective statement? And is it the same thing as a summary statement?
If you’re not sure, you’ve come to the right place. Our advice will show you who the resume objective is for, when to use it, and how to write a good objective for your resume.
What is a resume objective?
A resume objective statement (also known as a career objective) leads off your resume.
It’s a two to three-sentence statement that explains your job goal and emphasizes important skills and traits you can bring to a job. Take a look at this career objective example:
Who you are
Start your resume objective by describing yourself. Are you a skilled web developer? An enthusiastic first-time job seeker with experience in community volunteer work? Think in terms of what best fits the job.
Years of experience (if applicable)
If you have relevant professional experience you can point to, mention it here.
Concentrate on the here and now, and use your career objective to mention the type of position you’re interested in.
Top skills and experiences
Feature abilities and expertise that fit the job objective.
When to use a resume objective (and general resume objective examples)
When writing a resume, you have the option of using a summary statement (more on this below) or an objective statement. You should use career objectives for a resume if you don’t have much work experience in the field, are changing careers, or applying for a goal-oriented job.
Here are examples of resume objectives for different scenarios:
High school students
If you’re a high school student, a good objective for a resume will allow you to focus on your job goal and skills you’ve picked up at school (e.g., major academic achievements, evidence of leadership roles in school activities). Follow this resume objective example and make the right impression by underscoring your enthusiasm and work ethic and any skills related to the position.
Polish up your resume too, using our high school student resume templates.
As with a high school student objective statement, highlight major academic and extracurricular credentials, as well as any professional experiences (e.g., internships, part-time work) and extracurricular activities (e.g., volunteer or school adviser work) that demonstrate how well you can handle responsibility. Use this resume objective sample as a guide.
For guidance on how to write a resume to complement your cover letter, see our Student Resume Examples page.
First-time job seekers
If you’re applying for a job for the first time, a good resume objective will highlight your goals and capabilities. Focus on training and experiences that show you can make a positive impact on the job. Stress soft skills that show employers you’ve got the right attitude.
Make sure your accompanying resume is organized in a functional format that highlights your skills rather than your (lack of) professional experience.
Job seeker changing careers
When switching career fields, you might not have a lot of related work experience in the new career field to point to. That’s where an objective statement comes in. Like the general objective statement example below, pinpoint transferable skills which fit your new career path and explain your new career interest.
Job seeker changing locations
Treat this the same as a standard resume objective statement, focusing on your best attributes along with additional details about why you’re seeking a new position due to relocation. Look at this career objective example and how it’s worded.
Job seeker applying for a goal-oriented job
For goal-oriented jobs, your skills and aptitude count more than anything else, so display them using an objective statement. Show employers that you’re ready and willing to tackle a position that favors someone who can grow and make progress in the role.
Resume objective vs. summary statement
Is it better to have a career objective or a summary statement on a resume? It depends on your years of experience and the goal of your resume.
A summary statement (also known as a professional summary) focuses more on the company’s needs and how your skills and experience can fill the job — it’s ideal for people with several years of experience in the same industry. A resume objective, on the other hand, lets an employer know your career intentions and goals.
Reliable administrative professional seeks to bring supervisory skills to a warehouse manager position. Has three years of experience in organizational support for hardware store chain, including handling product inventory and shipping invoices.
Warehouse associate with five years of top-notch experience in logistics. Fully versed in inventory management and storage processes, and brings excellent communication and leadership skills with a staff of five+ employees.
These examples are targeted for a warehouse manager job, but the objective statement explains transferable skills that the candidate is bringing over from previous work, while the summary statement emphasizes knowledge and experience already gained in the same career field.
For more details and tips on writing a summary statement, visit our page, How to Write a Resume Summary.
Resume objective examples
Use these career objective examples as a foundation for writing yours:
Student resume objective examples
Recent college grad resume objective examples
Experienced (non-managerial) employee resume objective examples
Experienced (managerial) employee resume objective examples
Resume objective examples for different jobs and industries
These resume objective statement examples are tailored to fit specific jobs and career fields. For samples of complete resumes in these industries, visit our resume examples section.
Emerging accounting professional ready to develop career foundation with expanding operation. Knowledgeable in GAAP, systematic and well-organized, with commitment to records accuracy.
Organized, hard-working professional looking for growth-oriented position in office management. Outgoing and collaborative worker, skilled in communication and time management.
Efficient office assistant seeking a bookkeeper role. Proficient in using accounting software including QuickBooks, with experience managing recordkeeping for warehouse. Excels at learning new accounting methods.
Assistant operations manager proficient in organizing schedules and enhancing financial controls, seeking new opportunities that focus on sales strategies and coordinating service initiatives.
Caring and enthusiastic babysitter seeking opportunities in daycare setting. Experienced in caring for children ages 5-12. Patient, adaptable and comfortable with large and small groups.
Recent college grad with training in architecture, design and implementation seeking software developer position. Comfortable working in self-starting and team environments.
Dedicated worker familiar with safety regulations and concrete mixing techniques looking for builder positions. Experienced in working with crews and subcontractors.
Industrious apprentice cook with 2+ years kitchen experience eager to move up to a role of increased responsibility. Fully trained in food safety, sanitation and preparation techniques at restaurant serving 500 customers daily.
Focused professional skilled in sales and customer relationship development seeking client service specialist position. Adept in metrics, campaign management and team collaboration.
Recent graduate trained in LAN and WAN infrastructure seeking network engineer position. Proficient in planning and project management and communication.
Enthusiastic event planning associate looking for opportunities in event coordination. Organized and positive, with experience handling musical events for audiences of up to 10,000 as intern with national event company.
Accredited accountant eager to attain position as a financial analyst. Detail-oriented and trained in preparing tax returns for organizations and individuals.
Resourceful camp leader with excellent planning skills looking for new position as yoga instructor. Skilled communicator with experience leading small and large groups in exercise activities.
College student seeks part-time barista role in coffee shop setting. Quick learner with friendly personality and two summers of food and beverage experience.
Experienced receptionist looking to begin career in health care administration as patient coordinator. Skilled in customer service, schedule management and records administration.
Recent graduate with administrative experience working in health insurance offices seeking position as benefits administrator. Proficient with managing records and working collaboratively.
Eager graduate with new degrees in computer science and support seeking technical support position with growth opportunities. Skilled in Windows and OS operating systems, as well as related hardware and accessories.
Industrious legal clerk looking to gain more experience as a paralegal. Well-versed in legal administration and investigation, and handling office administration.
Organized professional focused on keeping delivery and customer service operations moving smoothly, seeking dispatcher position. Proficient in transportation best practices and compliance requirements.
Student with social media campaign experience seeking marketing position focusing on social media. Freelance experience includes handling campaigns for local businesses that increased customer engagement by 53%.
Recent graduate fluent in Spanish and Chinese seeking position as interpreter. Skilled in translating documents and audio recordings, with an emphasis on accuracy.
Medical school student seeking full-time dialysis technician position. Hands-on experience preparing treatment rooms, performing administrative duties, and managing lab and procedure results.
Registered nurse with 4 years’ experience in hospitals and nursing homes, looking for permanent position on hospital staff. Knowledgeable in geriatric and pediatric care, CNA oversight, and patient chart and records organization.
Hard-working production worker seeking position as machine operator. Offers expertise in supporting manufacturing needs. Experienced in moving supplies, organizing products and packaging shipments.
Enthusiastic sales professional seeking retail associate opportunity. Experienced part-time worker at major retail chain, and skilled at loss prevention, record keeping and team leadership.
Army veteran seeking position as security guard. Well-trained in security procedures, monitoring closed-circuit feeds, and conflict resolution.
Dedicated Sales Manager with proven record of sales results seeking and maintaining relationships with clients and customers. Over 10 years’ experience as marketing manager with major clothing distributor.
Team-oriented social services volunteer seeking permanent case manager position. Experience facilitating services and counseling with state-run agencies. Well-versed in assessments.
Accomplished English teacher seeking opportunities at the high school teaching level. Experienced teaching AP English to classes of 30+ students and managing successful summer programs for at-risk youth.
5 steps: resume objective writing tips
Before you sit down to write a career objective for your resume, take a look at our expert writing tips and apply them to yours. For information on resume writing, check out our How to Write a Resume guide.
Study the job description.
Look over the job posting. What qualities and skills does the job require? What are the major responsibilities? Draw on your skills and experience that address these requirements, and then apply them to your resume objective.
Job description example
- Customer service skills
- Creating and implementing SOPs
- Skills to motivate and build a team of leaders
- Timeline management/deadline delivery
- Planning and goal setting
- Budget management
- Knowledgeable of the construction industry and up to date on the ever-changing trends
- Oversee construction from pre-construction through close out.
- Responsible for keeping the project on schedule and within budget.
- Review all architectural plans, shop drawings, lighting proposals, and other documentation related to design development and construction processes.
- Ensure work is done in compliance with all relevant building and safety codes.
- Maintain cost estimates of assigned projects and assist in soliciting and obtaining bids from contractors, subcontractors and material suppliers.
Using the job statement for your objective statement
Objective Statement Example:
Accomplished construction coordinator with 10+ years experience overseeing construction schedules, budgets and processes. Customer-focused leader well-versed in SOPs, and ensuring work is completed on deadline, following safety parameters. Seeking to apply knowledge of construction techniques and vendors to a position that focuses on $5 million+ office construction projects.
Emphasize your unique qualities and accomplishments.
Applicants for an office assistant position will mention how well they know Microsoft Office, but how many can mention the time they helped streamline expense processes for a team of 100 employees? Be specific in your career objective about achievements and abilities that are above the norm, and make you stand out. Note how the “good” example provides these important details.
Show how you’ll add value to a company.
It’s the prime question on every employer’s mind: How can you help a company succeed? To answer that question, refer back to the job description, pinpoint responsibilities where you can contribute the most, and state them upfront in your objective statement. For example, if you’re applying for a software engineer job that focuses on creating reliable and scalable reporting services for clients, you could write your objective statement this way:
Be concise and punchy.
The objective statement will be the first thing an employer will read on your resume — don’t lose them by getting long-winded. Keep your sentences brief, cut out pronouns like “I” and “my,” and cut to the chase: your best qualifications and how you can help a company. Use action verbs in your job objective to describe previous accomplishments, and keep subjective language (e.g., “strong skills”) to a minimum. The “bad” resume objective sample overdoes it on first-person pronouns like “I” and “my,” resulting in a long-winded statement, while the “good” statement keeps the phrasing short and sweet.
Build your resume off your objective statement.
Think of your objective statement as your tone-setter. You’re describing your best attributes up top, so the rest of your resume should provide specific examples of how you’ve used those attributes successfully. If you state that you’re an experienced paralegal in your resume objective, give details in your work history section about accomplishments in this area, and show how you’ve contributed to a firm’s success. Take a look at this career objective sample: “Worked closely with senior law partners to manage complex, deadline-intensive projects. Recognized by law practice of 15 attorneys as key contributor.”
Remember, the more unique and specific your experiences and skills are in your career objective, the more you’ll stand out. If you’re a restaurant manager, writing “Managed kitchen and customer services for restaurant” won’t make as much of an impact as “Managed kitchen and customer services for 200-seat restaurant with 5-star Yelp rating.”
See our tips on writing a work history section for more on quantifying your accomplishments.
The next step: use our Resume Builder
Now that you know how to write an objective statement, we can help you write the rest of your resume using our Resume Builder. Our library of resume templates is professionally designed, ATS-friendly and perfect to take your career to the next level.
1 Professional, Customizable Templates
Organize your information how you want it, and adjust your colors, fonts and spacing with a few clicks.
2 Expertly Crafted Phrases
Our job-specific suggestions will help you fill out every section of your resume — including the resume objective.
4 Create Resumes for Multiple Jobs
You can save as many versions of your resume as you need and update the career objective to fit the different jobs you apply to.
5 Up Your Application Game
With Smart Apply, we’ll help you find a job opportunity, customize your resume, create a matching cover letter, download your documents, and even help you submit them.
Key resume objective takeaways
To wrap up, let’s run through a quick recap and see once more what makes a good objective statement for a resume:
Your resume objective should communicate:
- Who you are
- Your number of years of experience (if applicable)
- Your job goal or objective
- Your top skills and experiences that pertain to the job you’re interested in
When writing your objective statement, focus on:
- Your unique qualities and experiences
- Matching your abilities with what the company needs
- Writing a concise, punchy statement that’s two to three sentences long
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