Do You Need an Objective on Your Resume?

Published: Feb 17, 2020

 Education       Grad School       Job Search       Resumes & Cover Letters       
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You know the resume objective, right? It’s that paragraph at the top that tells the reader what you’re attempting to accomplish with this resume. But … don’t we all know what a resume is for? Everyone has a resume; no one needs a reminder at the top of the page of what it is or what it does. So what’s the point? Why do people still do this?

I have no idea. That’s the truth, I just don’t know—I can’t think of a single good reason why you should include an objective with your resume. It’s something that some career advice folks are still recommending, but it’s advice that you should be ignoring. And here are some reasons why.

It’s Dated.

I’m all in for #TBT, but the resume objective is a throwback best left where it is. Having one makes your resume look old. I’m not the only person to say this, either. Resumes go through trends just like everything else, and while an objective might have been a must-have a few years ago, most employers don’t prefer to see it, and most job-seekers have agreed to do away with it. I know your mom probably told you that fads fade and to not pay attention to them, but staying on the cutting edge of resume design is crucial to getting noticed in the job-search process.

It’s Redundant.

Chances are really, really good that if you’re sending out your resume, you have a cover letter to accompany it. Most job applications require one. Cover letters are amazing tools—they can be what convinces the hiring manager to call you over someone else. In your standard cover letter, you should be going over why you’re interested in this position and how great a fit you would be. And guess what—your cover letter is essentially a more comprehensive (and therefore useful) version of a resume’s objective. Anything you have to say in an objective will be discussed in your cover letter. So why would you write it—and make the hiring manager read it—again?

It’s Doubly Redundant.

That’s right—resume objectives aren’t just redundant, they’re extra redundant. Consider: Why is someone looking at a resume ever? Because the person whose name is at the top of the resume wants a job. That’s it—that’s the only context. No one’s out there reading resumes for book club. The goal of your resume is to secure a job—more specifically, a job that you want, and even more specifically, the job that the person reading your resume is offering. The person reviewing your resume knows this because otherwise, you wouldn’t have sent the resume. So why put an objective on your resume that states that you’re looking for a job?

It Takes Up Valuable Space.

The ideal resume (at least for those in the earlier stages of their careers) is a page long. After proper formatting, your objective might take up a substantial portion of your allotted page—real estate that could be better filled with additional experiences, skills, or even interests. Seriously, there are more interesting and hirable aspects of yourself than an elevator pitch that probably looks really similar to most other applicants’ pitches.

No One’s Reading It.

It’s common knowledge that recruiters spend about six seconds looking over your resume. (If only it took about six seconds to write it!) Do you know what the first thing they’re going to skip over is? That big block of text on top, also known as your objective. If you’re only spending a few seconds reading something, you look at what you know are the key points: job titles, education, and required skills. These things are typically bulleted in a resume rather than written in paragraph form—for the exact reason of readability. So, while your objective might get read at some point, it’s not what’s going to make you stand out from the stack of other resumes.

So let’s all stop putting objectives on our resumes. Your resume is supposed to be a succinct, streamlined document outlining why you’re the best fit for a position. Don’t hold yourself back by including what’s unnecessary.