How to write a career objective for a resumé (with examples)

How to write a career objective for a resumé (with examples)
SEEK content teamupdated on 09 February, 2024

You’ve finished your studies and the job search has begun. As you send out job applications, you might be wondering how to make your resumé stand out more. One thing you can do is write a resumé objective. 

What’s a resumé objective? Also called a career objective, it’s a short, attention-grabbing statement that goes at the top of your resumé. It’s a brief summary that outlines who you are, what skills you offer, and your overall career goals. It’s usually placed beneath your contact details on your resumé, and it’s one of the first things a hiring manager will see when they process your application. 

If you want to write an objective for your resumé but you’re not sure where to start, read on. In this article, we share tips and resumé objective examples to get you on your way. 

Resumé objective dos and don’ts

Writing a standout resumé objective can be tricky if you’ve never written one before – especially if you’re a graduate with limited work experience behind you. Here are some dos and don’s to keep in mind when you’re drafting your own resumé objective.

Do: Be concise, specific and tailored

A good objective for a resumé is direct and to the point. Your resumé opening statement is just that: a statement. Keep it between three and four sentences, mention the specific skills and qualifications you have, and tailor it to the role you're applying for. Review your resumé objective statement every time you apply for a job, and tweak it to the job description. 

Do: Highlight what you can offer the employer

The purpose of a resumé objective statement is to give the hiring manager or recruiter a quick introduction to you and what you can offer their organisation. A good objective for a resumé should draw attention to the specific skills and qualifications you have that would make you a valuable employee and that set you apart from your peers. Look at the job description, then in your objective statement, highlight the education, training, skills and personal qualities you have that match what’s in the job ad.  

Don’t: Use a generic statement

As you craft your own career objective, mention specific skills and knowledge, rather than being vague and using wide umbrella terms. Hiring managers read a high volume of applications, so you want yours to stand out and be memorable. The more specific you can be to the advertised role, the better fit you will seem for the job. 

Don’t: Include irrelevant information

Building off the above advice, your resumé objective should only share details that are relevant to the position you’re applying for. Keep it concise, and focus on the skills and attributes you could offer in the role. Personal hobbies, high school education, travel and leisure sports don’t need to be mentioned in a resumé opening statement. 

Examples of effective career objectives

One of the best ways to learn how to write an objective for a resumé is to look at some examples. In this section, we share some beginner resumé objective examples and as well as career objectives for resumés for experienced professionals. 

Entry-level positions

If you’re just starting out in your career, you probably have limited work experience and only a few professional skills to mention in your resumé objective. Instead, mention your qualifications and character attributes, relevant to the job ad. You could also mention important soft skills, like communication and teamwork. Here’s how to write an objective for a resumé for students and people with no work experience

Ambitious accounting graduate with CPA qualification looking to join an ASX company in financial forecasting and budget planning. Experience in office administration, with strong teamwork, organisational and critical-thinking skills.

Mid-career transitions

People with several years of work experience looking to pivot should outline their career aspirations in their resumé objective.  It’s important to mention only the skills that are relevant to the position in the job description. Here is a resumé objective example for a mid-career transition, as a starting point.

Experienced sales rep of 7 years looking to move into a high-level client services role. Seeking to utilise my skills in customer service, team building, budgeting and project management in a dynamic agency environment.

Senior-level aspirations

People in senior roles with years of work experience can benefit from a well-edited resumé objective to hone in on their most important traits. It can be tempting to include every skill in a career objective for a resumé for an experienced worker, but it’s better to be concise and specific to the job description.

Senior IT professional seeking to innovate in the VR space. Experienced scrum master with leadership skills, strong communication and coding expertise. Proven history leading cross-functional teams on programs from planning stages to launch.

How to write a career objective for your resumé

Now that you’re familiar with resumé objective examples, you can start working on your own. As you read through the following steps, make notes on what specific skills and attributes you want to include in yours. 

1. Understanding career objectives

Before setting out to write an objective for a resumé, it’s important to have a clear understanding of what it is and why you need one. Simply put, a career objective tells a hiring manager a bit about you as a potential employee and what you can contribute to a role. It should also share your ‘objective’ – the reason why you’re applying for the role, relative to your overall career plan

2. Reflecting on your career goals

When it’s time to start writing your resumé objective, first reflect on your professional goals (your objective). Knowing what you’re aiming for in your career will help you articulate your objective and write your resumé opening statement. You don’t have to mention all your career goals in your statement, but it helps to let an employer know what you generally hope to achieve, so they can see how the job fits into your plan. 

3. Researching the job and industry

It’s also a good idea when writing a resumé objective to do some research into the specific role and the company you’re applying to, as well as the industry you’re hoping to enter (especially if you’re a graduate or transitioning to a new line of work). This will help you identify which of your key skills are most important to highlight in your objective, in order to make a good first impression on the hiring manager.

4. Writing the objective

Start off by jotting down the first thing that comes to mind. Don’t try to get it perfect at first, just give yourself a draft to work with. Write a few different versions, highlighting different skills and phrasing things in different ways. Don’t delete your drafts and notes as they may be useful when applying for future jobs

5. Customisation for the job role

Once you have a few versions of resumé objectives, compare them to the job description and remove the ones that aren’t aligned with the criteria mentioned in the ad. Keep only the most important skills that tell a hiring manager you have the right traits for the job. Don’t copy and paste this career objective and use it for other jobs you apply for. Always tailor it to suit each application. 

6. Optimising for ATS

ATS stands for applicant tracking system – computer software used by hiring companies to manage job applications. There’s a chance that your resumé may be scanned by an ATS before it is seen by the hiring manager, so it’s important to make sure that yours is properly formatted and has the right keywords to be read by the software.

To do this, be sure to include the job title in your resumé heading, include keywords in your resumé and in the objective statement that are mentioned in the job ad, and make sure your resumé is formatted neatly and uses professional, easy-to-read fonts.

7. Revising and refining

Before adding the career objective to your resumé, you may wish to seek feedback from a colleague, professor, friend or family member. A fresh set of eyes can help spot little mistakes or point out areas of improvement you hadn’t noticed. 

8. Finalising your objective

To finish, read through your objective one last time. Proofread it closely to spot any possible typos that might have been missed, and remove or replace any filler words, to make it as concise and to the point as possible. Add it to your resumé, again proofreading the entire document for formatting and typographical errors. 

9. Keeping your objective updated

Be sure to review your career objective whenever you send out your resumé. With every new role you have, your skills and experiences will change. Just like the rest of your resumé, your career objective will need tweaking and updating at least once a year.

A good career objective for a resumé can make all the difference when you’re trying to stand out. It’s one of the first things a prospective employer will see when reading through job applications, so it’s a good opportunity to make a strong first impression and convince the hiring manager to call you in for an interview. 

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