Career objectives are a topic of hot debate in the resume space. Certain career experts say they're outdated. Others claim they give hiring managers a quick glance at your top attributes and experiences.
Whether you call it a personal branding statement, experience overview, or resume objective, a career objective statement is still relevant. That's because a well-crafted objective lets hiring managers learn about your skills, personality, and career highlights from the first look.
That's if a hiring manager even makes it to your resume, of course. With an increasingly competitive pool of candidates, HR teams often rely on technology to help sort resumes and select candidates for the next hiring stage. Algorithms pick and choose people based on keywords, often prioritizing optimized language over someone who may be the best fit for the job.
But there are ways to ensure your career objective works for you, instead of against you. Let's look at what a career objective is and how to make yours meet today's resume standards.
What is a Career Objective?
A career objective is a succinct paragraph that summarizes your professional experiences, skills, and goals. It is usually two to three sentences long and sits at the top of your resume, under your name and contact information.
Your career objective is one of the first pieces of information hiring managers will see when scanning your resume, so it has to stand out. You can do this in several ways, like tailoring the objective to the role you're applying for, adding top keywords, and highlighting relevant skills. The result should be a concise summary that's clear, actionable, and compelling. Bonus if it hints at your personality.
But what does that look like? Here are the steps you can follow to craft a great career objective for any role.
How to Write a Career Objective
1. Understand the job description.
It's easy to copy and paste information for your career objective from a job description. But to show originality and thought, you have to understand what a hiring manager truly wants.
Do this by looking for the most in-demand skills or characteristics for the role. These are often listed within the job description under a section labeled "Required Skills" or "Core Responsibilities." You can find the right skills or traits to include by cross-referencing the list to any additional descriptions about the company or position.
If you can tell it's a fast-paced work environment, for example, the ability to multi-task and develop efficient processes are good skills to highlight within your career objective.
It's also important to consider the job-specific software you may need for a position. For technical roles like SEO Marketing Managers, tools such as Ahrefs, Google Analytics, or DeepCrawl are needed to perform audits and analysis. Make sure to note the software requirements so you can reference one or two in your objective.
Here's a sample job description for a Growth Marketing Manager in the foodservice industry that shows both the software requirements and the company personality.
Once you comb through the job description, create a list of the top 10 traits and skills you want to include in your statement. You may not use all of them, but it's good to have options as you write.
2. Know your value.
If you're deep in the job hunt, you can probably recite your strengths in your sleep. Instead, write down the specific ways you add value to your list of skills and traits.
These can include your strengths, degrees, licenses, or certifications. It's also worth mentioning any strong connections you have, such as working for top-tier clients or experience speaking at industry events. Just make sure the experience is relevant to the company, industry, and role.
Let's say you're applying to a Community Marketing Manager position and have a proven track record of running an ambassador program. The company wants candidates with experience leading teams and implementing community programs.
You can highlight your value by including a statement like this in your career objective: "Experience developing an ambassador program that elevated diverse voices and united micro-communities into one passionate group."
Again, look to the job description to understand how you can most add value to the company.
3. Keep it concise.
A career objective should be no more than three sentences. Your resume still needs to include your work experience, core skills, education, volunteer experience, and certifications.
Write a draft of your career objective using the list you created in steps one and two. Your first few drafts may be more than three sentences. That's okay. Try to remove any excessive language, like "that," "a," "the." And don't worry too much about using complete sentences (see more on this in the examples below).
Here's what a career objective should, and should not, look like for a growth marketer role:
If you get stuck, have a trusted friend, colleague, or mentor review the statement. They may be able to offer feedback and correct any errors. You want it to be absolutely perfect, so it's helpful to have one or more pairs of eyes review your work.
How to Write an Objective for a Career Change
You may be comfortable writing a career objective for a field you have experience in. But what if you're changing careers?
The goal when writing this type of career objective is to tie your previous experience into your desired role as much as possible. This requires you to draw connections between your past work and your new career. Let's look at an example, where the candidate is aiming to transition from an accounting career to one in marketing.
The candidate uses the career objective to explain their career switch and draw attention to their analytical skills – a must-have in many marketing careers. If you want to make the switch to marketing, check out this list of in-demand technical skills to get ideas for your career objective.
Career Objective Examples
Every role has distinct requirements, and your career objective needs to reflect those differences. Look to the following examples for inspiration when writing your statement. But remember to change up your career objective based on the position and company.
Lifecycle Marketing Manager
Data-savvy lifecycle marketing manager with seven years of experience crafting omnichannel customer journeys. Have successfully built customer programs that increased loyalty by 25% using best practices for lifecycle frameworks and communication strategies. Strong analytical skills and familiarity with various ESP and CRM software.
Highly creative communications specialist who excels in collaborative, fast-paced environments. Over the past four years, I've coordinated and refined content for marketing industry leaders to ensure company narratives are compelling and accurate. Experience managing content libraries, social media platforms, and internal newsletters.
Senior Brand Strategist
Creative lead with a knack for developing strong client relationships and innovative branding strategies. Over 10 years of experience crafting strategic marketing plans that have led to 45% growth in clients' brand awareness. Excellent communicator and coordinator with the ability to foster long-term partnerships while ensuring teams stay on track.
Proactive global communications manager with 11 years of experience developing and executing strategic communications programs for fintech companies. Skilled at media pitching, evolving core narratives, managing external partners, and overseeing complex technology communications. Looking to guide teams on best practices for translating complex narratives into compelling content that attracts audiences.
Director of Content Marketing and Strategy
An empathetic leader with 15+ years of experience managing high-growth content and editorial teams for Fortune 100 clients. Passionate about building data-driven content strategies that simplify complex messaging to engage audiences and meet business goals. Seeking an environment that challenges assumptions to drive customer acquisition through best-in-class editorial strategies.
Now, it's time to write a career objective that showcases your skills. If you follow the steps above, keep it original, and reference the job description, your objective is likely to wow hiring managers – and hopefully, help you move on to the next stage in the hiring process.
Originally published Nov 12, 2021 7:00:00 AM, updated November 12 2021