Resume Objectives: Don’t Make This Critical Mistake

Wow! Could you imagine a resume objective that could be any less specific? But, as a professional resume writer, I can tell you that such a non-specific, general objective on a resume is more common than it is not. Even though including a resume objective is a piece of resume writing advice that was tossed nearly two decades ago, this is still one of the most frequent mistakes that I see people make on their resumes.

You’ve heard it before: you literally have seconds to capture the attention of the reader of your resume. Nine times out of ten, if they are reading your resume it is because they have a specific need for an individual to fill a specific job description.

Your job is to IMMEDIATELY convey, in your resume opening statement, that YOU are that individual they are seeking.

With no more than a glance, the reader of your resume needs to know you are the person they are seeking.

For these reasons, the strategy of writing a “broad” or “general” resume will almost always fail.

But what if you wrote your resume objective so that it was more specific? Would that be better?

No, no, no.

This is the classic and common mistake of thinking that your resume is all about you.

It isn’t.

Your resume is about the employer, the employer’s needs, and how you are going to help the employer meet those needs.

No matter how you look at it, a resume objective is self-serving. Your goal is to turn this around and write an employer-centered resume that shows how you are the perfect fit for a particular job opportunity.

Your future employer should see herself in your resume. Not only does the hiring manager need to understand the focus of your resume that makes it aligned with the job description she is seeking to fill. She also needs to come away from your resume understanding that you are the person who can solve her problems, help her tackle her challenges, and meet her goals.

The Modern Alternative to a Resume Objective

If you have been searching for resume objective examples and are wondering how in the world you are going to achieve all of the above goals — focusing your resume AND conveying you are the candidate the employer seeks — without a resume objective at the top of the resume, right in the resume introduction.

The solution is simple: Create a resume profile section also known as a qualifications summary, executive profile, or professional summary.

The typical modern resume profile includes a headline statement that provides a crystal clear focus for your resume, making the old-fashioned resume objective statement unnecessary. Many times the headline statement is the exact job title you are targeting. This is followed by a brief and hard-hitting summary of the most important and relevant skills you bring to the table, plus your most significant career accomplishments that prove them.

These summary profiles are critical – they are above the fold (this means they appear in the top 1/3 of your resume, where the eye tends to land first), they anchor the resume, and they entice the reader to continue reading and ultimate call you for an interview.

The best, most effective profiles provide an easy-to-read overview of your personal brand, your value, and your impact and provide proof of your performance by summarizing your accomplishments and results that will have the greatest meaning and value for your target.

Example of a modern resume profile

Example Resumes With Objective Statement Alternatives

Forget searching for a general sample resume objective statement. These two example resumes (we show the first page only, here) illustrate how to focus your resume without a resume objective. These are two different resumes written for the same person.

Instead of a resume objective statement, these sample resumes start with a headline and summary section, and the focus is clear. One of the resumes is to target sales management positions and the other is to target general management positions. Creating two targeted resumes like this is a strategy you can use if you are having trouble narrowing down your career goals and focus.

If you review these resume examples carefully, you will see how the focus of each was subtly shifted to emphasize the most important qualifications for each objective. The sales executive resume showcases revenue growth, profit growth, customer base growth, and similar metrics.

On the other hand, while the overall data is the same, the general manager resume focuses more on leadership skills and core management skills, and the accomplishments that prove them both.

This shift of focus was accomplished without a resume objective statement on either.

Resume Objective Examples
Resume Objective Examples

More Resume Objective Examples & How To Rewrite Them to Modern Standards

In the ever-evolving landscape of job hunting, how we present ourselves on paper has undergone significant transformation.

Gone are the days when resumes began with a generic and often self-centered objective statement. Today’s best resumes spotlight a candidate’s value proposition presented through a sharp professional summary and a focused resume headline.

This shift from a broad, often vague career objective to a concise, achievement-driven resume summary allows candidates to showcase their most impressive qualifications and professional value quickly and clearly.

Below, we’ll journey back in time, taking old-fashioned example resume objectives and then transform them into modern, focused professional summaries. This exercise underscores the evolution in resume writing and offers a clear comparison between past practices and today’s best resume writing standards.

Resume Objective Example #1 (Don’t do this!)

CAREER OBJECTIVE: Seeking a Director of Marketing and Communications position where I can utilize my skills in crafting engaging marketing campaigns and narratives.

Example #1 Rewritten as a Modern, Focused Resume Summary (Yes, do this!)

DIRECTOR OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS
Creative Leader | Agile Communicator | Strategic Thinker

Driving marketing objectives through carefully designed narratives that consider and promote consistent communication across all channels.

Astute marketing director adept at crafting engaging, persuasive, consistent marketing campaigns across multiple channels. Creative storyteller with a gift for composing compelling product stories. Inventive marketer skilled at building deeper consumer engagement through experiential marketing. Strategic, deliberate, agile communicator with proven talent for controlling internal and external communications under challenging conditions. Key representative contributions:

  • Instrumental, through strategic communication and marketing initiatives, in transforming and scaling a start-up business into a recognized industry leader with $2B annual sales.
  • Generated $100M in sales leads through multichannel marketing efforts, thought leadership platforms, and alignment with complementary industry leaders.
  • Developed strong brand identity, turning disparate entities into a single voice. Raised company profile internationally. Initiated key partnerships to open new markets.

Resume Objective Example #2 (Don’t do this!)

CAREER OBJECTIVE:  Seeking a Director of Quality Management position to use my 13 years of experience in quality and operations. Looking for an opportunity to contribute to and grow with an organization that values detail-oriented leadership and innovative thinking.

Example #2 Rewritten as a Modern, Focused Resume Summary (Yes, do this!)

DIRECTOR OF QUALITY MANAGEMENT: BEHAVIORAL HEALTH, MANAGED CARE & HUMAN SERVICES INDUSTRIES

Detail-oriented quality and operations leader with 13 years of accomplishments in the behavioral health industry. Excel at solving complex problems and improving processes through innovative thinking. Skilled in developing policies, procedures, and compliance plans, and facilitating meetings and trainings. Proven leadership of short- and long-term projects, including the launch and operation of 3 grant-funded programs, creation of quality dashboards, and co-management of a large data migration project.

Resume Objective Example #3 (Don’t do this!)

CAREER OBJECTIVE: Seeking a position as a Program & Project Management Executive where I can apply my extensive experience in business management, strategy formulation, PMO leadership, and project management. Looking to contribute to a forward-thinking organization that values innovative strategies, technical and business solution design, and strong customer relationships.

Example #3 Rewritten as a Modern, Focused Resume Summary (Yes, do this!)

PROGRAM & PROJECT MANAGEMENT EXECUTIVE
Developing innovative strategies that enable businesses to run smarter and achieve growth

Experienced executive, strategist, project/program manager, and coach with an entrepreneurial drive and diverse industry experience. Proven results in business management, investment/strategy alignment, strategy formulation and execution, PMO leadership, technical and business solution design, and project management.

SIGNATURE COMPETENCIES
Enterprise PMO | Management Consulting | Business Analysis | Technical & Business Solution Design | Business Process Improvement & Alignment | Strategy Formulation & Execution | Solution Selling | Customer & Stakeholder Relationships | Portfolio/Project Management | Communication | Business Management | Training | IT & Business Strategy | SDLC

Resume Objective Example #4 (Don’t do this!)

CAREER OBJECTIVE: Seeking a position as an Engineering Project Management Supervisor in a dynamic manufacturing and product development environment. Looking for an opportunity to leverage my skills in PDR, CDR, PPAP, DFM, and other engineering processes.

Example #4 Rewritten as a Modern, Focused Resume Summary (Yes, do this!)

ENGINEERING PROJECT MANAGEMENT SUPERVISOR
Production & Manufacturing | Product Development | Operational Management

Challenge-driven senior engineer and project manager who thrives on taking deep dives into engineering issues, using logic to troubleshoot, and developing process improvements that routinely become company standards. Versatile product manager known for delivering transformative results by gathering internal/external requirements, developing an integrated project schedule, and building a team to address customer requirements. Earned BSEE and Six Sigma Green Belt.

  • Analytical electrical engineer and team leader consistently recognized for “outside of the box” thinking to resolve engineering dilemmas, deliver cost savings, and increase efficiency.
  • Highly experienced product and manufacturing expert skilled in engineering and development processes including PDR, CDR, PPAP, DFM, Internal/Supplier APQP, Design/Process FMEA, PMAP, Control Plan, VSM, RTY/Cpk, and RCCA.
  • Supply chain specialist who coordinates cross-functionally with customers, vendors, and procurement to address process development, product troubleshooting, and improve delivery efficiency.

KEY SKILLS:
Manufacturing/Electrical Engineering | Project Engineering | Process/Continuous Improvement | Data Analysis | Team/Project Leadership | Supply Chain Management | Vendor Management | Customer Relations

Resume Objective Example #5 (Don’t do this!)

CAREER OBJECTIVE: Seeking a position as a Director of Business Development or Senior Account Manager where I can apply my 15 years of B2B sales experience, business development, and account management skills. Looking for an opportunity to contribute to a dynamic organization that values strategic partnerships, goal-driven approaches, and cross-functional collaboration.

Example #5 Rewritten as a Modern, Focused Resume Summary (Yes, do this!)

DIRECTOR OF BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT / SENIOR ACCOUNT MANAGER
Apply a Consultative Sales Approach to Identify Pain Points & Develop Solutions for Customers’ Biggest Challenges

Driven B2B sales leader with 15 years of business development and account management experience across diverse sectors. Propel business growth and minimize expenditures by leveraging technology and innovation, developing strategies, and collaborating with senior leadership, stakeholders, and cross-functional teams. Excel at cultivating strategic, trust-based relationships and executing the largest, most complex assignments to deliver profitable results on time and under budget. Motivated by goals and success.

  • Generated $96M revenue, doubled number of accounts, increased qualified leads 120%, and reduced sales cycle 50%, all while consistently meeting or exceeding targets.
  • Built and revamped sales strategy and process for 2 start-ups, including an early-stage blockchain company.
  • Grew sales by cultivating strategic partnerships with global brands such as Intel, Samsung, Kanematsu, Verizon, and Ford.

Promoted multiple times to newly created roles at a global Fortune 100 company and was formally recognized by the CEO for partnering with the company’s largest customer to evaluate technology strategy, deliver customized platform, and upsell digital products.

Make Sure Your Resume Stays Up To Date With Current Resume Standards

Resume writing best practices change continuously. It is important that your resume change with them. The general resume objective that you were taught to include on your resume when you were in school is now obsolete, but this is just an example of the many unintentional mistakes you may be making on your resume without knowing.

This is one of the key areas of value a certified professional resume writer can offer you. The best of the best among us (and that includes the entire team of Distinctive Career Services) continually work to update our knowledge by attending annual conferences and online workshops, joining and participating in professional associations for resume writers, studying and obtaining professional resume writing certifications, and more.

If it is time for you to update and modernize your resume, schedule a free resume writing consultation with us to learn more about how working with us can be of great value to you.

This blog article about objective statements on your resume was originally published on this blog in July 2010. It has since been updated for 2022 and republished.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a resume objective?

A resume objective is a statement that outlines your career goals and what you hope to achieve in your career. If a career objective is included on your resume, it’s usually found at the top of your resume under your contact details.

Most resume writing and career experts now consider including a resume objective to be an outdated technique. They recommend that you replace your objective statement with a well-focused professional summary.

Why is a general or broad resume objective not recommended?

A general resume objective does not immediately convey to the reader, who is often a potential employer, that you are the individual they are seeking for a specific role. Instead, it appears non-specific and doesn’t show how you could meet the employer’s needs.

General resume objective examples would include statements such as:

CAREER OBJECTIVE: A rewarding project manager position with opportunity for advancement. 

or

CAREER OBJECTIVE: A hospitality industry job that will make use of my customer service skills and organizational skills.

Why don't modern resumes include resume objectives?

A self-serving resume objective is one that focuses more on what the job seeker wants out of a position, rather than how they can meet the needs of the employer. This approach is not recommended because a resume should primarily be about the employer and how you can help them meet their needs.

Almost always, career objective statements can be replaced with a professional summary that begins with a headline (usually the job title you are targeting) then summarizes your ability to deliver value for the hiring manager and meet the requirements of the job you are targeting.

What is the modern alternative to a resume objective?

The modern alternative to a resume objective is a resume profile section, also known as a qualifications summary, executive profile, or professional summary. This section provides a clear focus for your resume and includes a brief summary of your most essential skills and significant career accomplishments.

How should I keep my resume up-to-date with current standards?

Resume writing best practices change over time, so it’s important to stay informed about the latest trends. If you hire resume writing help, make sure the resume writer stays up-to-date on resume trends by attending professional workshops and conferences, joining professional associations for resume writers, and obtaining professional certifications.

What should the focus of my resume be?

Your resume should focus on the employer’s needs and how you can meet them. It should convey that you’re the candidate the employer seeks. This can be achieved by creating a resume profile section, focusing on relevant skills, and highlighting significant career accomplishments.

How can a professional resume writer help me?

Having your resume professionally written is usually a smart investment in yourself and your career. A professional resume writer can help you modernize your resume and keep it in line with current best practices. They can help you avoid common resume mistakes and ensure that your resume effectively communicates your qualifications and how you can meet the needs of potential employers.

About the Author: Michelle Dumas

Michelle Dumas is the founder and CEO of Distinctive Career Services, one of the internet's longest-standing and most respected professional resume writing firms. Michelle is a 6X certified and 7X award-winning resume writer and career consultant. To learn more about the services offered by Distinctive Career Services visit https://www.distinctiveweb.com

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