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Resume Objectives That Guarantee You Won't Get Hired

Be warned: there are two major ways to screw up an objective statement!

Ah, resume objectives. To some, they represent an outdated practice that wastes space on a resume already begging for more room to shine. To others, they’re a clear-cut way to explain what one wants and intends in presenting his/her credentials to an employer. 

Understand this – resumes are difficult to write because they can be constructed in 1,000 different ways. For a long time, it seemed like there was a singular vision for what a resume could and should be. The “rules” over all else. Not the case anymore. Job applicants often lean into creativity, and to great effect. 

A resume objective, like anything else on that shiny piece of “Here’s why I’m awesome” paper, can help or hurt you. It’s your choice whether to write one or not, but if you do, you better do it right. And there are two simple ways to totally ruin an objective statement. 

Ready for the deep-dive of all deep-dives on resume objectives? Us too.

Resume Anatomy

Let’s quickly review the basic anatomy of a resume.

1. Name and contact information 

Big and bold up top for all to see. Provide your most updated information so that an interested employer can contact you. Phone and email address suggested. Be careful with the latter – make sure your address is professional, and not that old high school email address of yours…What was it again?

2. Resume objective 

Much more on this to come. 

3. Education Your highest level obtained. Some job applicants choose to put this near the top of a resume, while others prefer the bottom. 

4. Professional experience

Essentially, your job history starting with your current or most recent position and ending with the older work. Keep these positions as relevant as you can to the job position you’re applying to. If you’ve driven around the block once or twice when it comes to jobs, there’s no need to list them all (as long as leaving ones off doesn’t create any large employment gaps on your resume). 

5. Additional skills

This is your time to brag about any other skills you have that make you the ideal candidate for XYZ position. Be it soft skills like trustworthiness, adaptability, and organization, or more technical (“hard”) skills like proficiency with Adobe Creative Suite, choose your best of the bunch. Those skills that make you the all-star employee you are and will be. 

These are the basics, but all resumes are malleable. Structure varies, category headings differ; the important thing is to make whatever you put on that resume POP. 

Now let’s talk about those objectives…

Resume Objectives

The problem with objectives isn’t the short goal-oriented blurbs themselves. Usually, it comes down to execution. What are you trying to say with a resume objective, and how are you saying it? 

The Basics 

If resume objectives are new to you, stay tuned for plenty of examples. Think of an objective exactly as it sounds – it’s your way of telling an employer your reasons behind applying. Naturally, this has the anti-resume objective contingent screaming loudly: “It’s obvious! You want a job!”

Fair point, which is why execution is so important. If you want to include a resume objective, by all means; but do it effectively.  

Those who don’t usually fall into two camps. They either write an objective that has nothing to do with the position they’re applying for (uh oh), or they write something as bland as an overcooked bowl of gluten-free oatmeal (no shade on the gluten-free but…it’s the truth). This objective is so bland, even, that it could apply to any position. Not good.

Resume Objectives Examples: Camp 1

Let’s learn by looking at what not to do. Pretend you’re applying to work at an insurance company. What’s wrong with these objectives?

  • To obtain a position as an engineering specialist in the field of maintenance.

  • To obtain a part-time tutoring position in Chemistry or Mathematics. 

  • To obtain a position as a food server.

  • To continue my career as a veterinary assistant. 

  • To get a position as an oilfield rig hand.

  • Seeking a challenging Architectural Design/Drafter position.

  • To re-enter the Beauty Industry.

  • To obtain a long-term position as an Estate Manager for a celebrity.

If you answered “Everything,” you are correct. And believe it or not, while some of these might seem out of left field, they’re all real. Genuine objectives appearing on resumes submitted to an insurance position. 

Now, part of this points to a clear lack of care from the applicants. Either they completely forgot to update their resumes or were mass applying to positions. Both are major no-nos. 

It’s disrespectful to even submit a resume with one of the above objectives if it’s entirely unrelated to the job. And it’s a surefire way to land your credentials in the trashcan. 

Resume Objectives Examples: Camp 2

Then there’s the other side of the coin. We’re talking general resume objectives that bleed generic, so much so that they hurt the overall integrity of the resume. Think about it – a resume objective is always up top. If something plain is the first thing a recruiter sees? Yikes.

Ready to yawn? 

  • To grow personally and excel professionally.

  • To obtain a full time position.

  • To perform or expand my abilities.

  • To seek employment with a company that recognizes one’s natural desire to embrace and take on new challenges, who encourages growth and always offers the ability for advancement. 

  • To further my knowledge in the booming economy.

  • To better myself.

  • To utilize a position in a company where I may utilize my skills. And/or professional growth. 

  • To fulfill my desire to work for a group that is looking for an extremely intelligent individual much like myself.

  • Securing a job with an established organization that could lead into a fortuitous and lasting relationship. 

  • To climb the ladder of success.

  • Financial security. 

  • To obtain employment with a company or institution that would allow me to continue to enhance my skills in business or related areas. 

  • To do my best and give my all in everything I do, I don’t like to do things halfway I always like to complete it or not do anything at all.

There’s no sugarcoating these objectives. They’re…rough. But in some cases, not for lack of effort. It’s just that “how” to write resume objectives isn’t always an easy process, much like crafting a strong resume takes time and effort.

Let’s grab two of the above examples and see if we can make them better.

Example 1

Current: To seek employment with a company that recognizes one’s natural desire to embrace and take on new challenges, who encourages growth and always offers the ability for advancement.

Alright, this one’s way too general, but there are a few things we can do to liven it up. Think action verbs, personal value, and company-specific information.

Pretend this same person is applying to ABC Insurance, and she dives into her background, as well as briefly explains how it will help her bring value to ABC.

Rewrite: I’m an expert claims processor with over 10 years’ experience in helping customers feel more secure, eager to leverage my acute knowledge of insurance and devotion to people in order to bring ABC Insurance’s customer experience to the next level.

See how much more specific this is? It directly speaks to this applicant’s experience and value, and how said value will benefit ABC Insurance.

Example 2

Current: To obtain employment with a company or institution that would allow me to continue to enhance my skills in business or related areas. 

Rewrite: With over 5 years’ experience as a mortgage broker, I’m ready to take my acute knowledge of finance and use it to help ABC Insurance’s Risk Management team, all while further developing my own knowledge of the insurance sector. 

Notice here – “acute” knowledge. Not just knowledge…anyone can have knowledge. But “acute” is a specific descriptor. It gives a strong sense of who this applicant is – an expert in the field. 

At the end of the day, whether or not you include a resume objective is up to you. However, don’t be the person that dooms your resume from the get-go just because you didn’t spend enough time finetuning your objective. 

Have any other resume-related questions? Let us know in the comments!

Alex Woodward |
Alex is a Growth Marketing Manager at Snagajob, where she works with sales to help connect businesses with the right workers. Her first hourly job was as a barista at Caribou Coffee.