If you have composed your resume header as outlined in our post “How to Write Your Resume Header,” then you are ready to start on your Objective.

An Objective is a one- to three-line statement that tells why you are submitting your resume to the organization. As we mentioned in our post “How to Format Your Resume,” an Objective is not required to be on your resume. However, if you are not applying to a specific position within a company, it can be a good way to tell them what kind of position you are looking for. It is also a good way to show employers that you know what you want and why you are interested in them.

Because an objective isn’t very long, it means you have to choose your words carefully. Here are three questions to guide you through this tricky statement:

1. What kind of position are you seeking?

You need to think of this in terms of position level (entry, mid, executive, etc.) and area of expertise (Ex: marketing, sales, human resources). If you are fresh out of college or high school, you’re probably aiming for an entry-level position. Your area of expertise will be according to your own interests and education.

As you decide on what level and area you are shooting for, this will determine the kind of position you’re seeking. Your answer may be like the following examples:

“An entry-level accounting position”
“A mid-level managerial position in a Finance department”
“An entry-level design position on your Creative team”

The key is to make it very clear what you are seeking, and convey to them that you have a plan for your career. This kind of decisiveness is very attractive to employers.

2. Why are you seeking that kind of position?

Once you’ve established that you are goal-oriented and decisive, you need to demonstrate why. Here are some reasons that will be attractive to employers:

“To increase my knowledge of accounting best practices”
“To gain sales experience”

On the other hand, there are some reasons that will not make you stand out to employers. You should avoid including these types of reasons in your Objective (no matter how true they may be):

“To make lots of money”
“To get health insurance for my sick child”

These types of reasons show that the jobseeker is clueless when it comes to furthering his career. While you are seeking a job partly to pay for your needs, employers want to see that you have a deeper motivation behind your work.

3. Why are you seeking it at this organization?

Finally, you could apply anywhere. So companies want to know why you’ve chosen to send your resume to them? How does their company match up with your goals? You can do this in the following ways:

“To improve my design skills by obtaining a mid-level creative position with the best ad agency in Colorado”

“To secure an entry-level business position at General Electric and participate in its unparalleled training”

“To obtain a director position for the Red Cross and drive their donation and volunteer volumes to record highs”

In each of these examples, the writer connects their desired position with the company in some way, showing that they’ve done their homework. Of course, this means you should do your research on the company before writing your Objective.

Once you’ve completed your Objective, move on to your Education section with the post “How to Write the Education Section of Your Resume.”

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