How to create a Career Objective that works


I’m sure you are very familiar with the term Career Objective as it is related to your resume or CV.  For 50 years or more years, career objectives enjoyed a preeminent position in resumes and these one-sentence statements were the norm.

The purpose of the career objective is to describe what you want from a career. The theory went, that the statement helped employers to determine whether your career goals were in line with their organisation and the specific position available. It was part of the matching process.

Unfortunately 99.9% of career objectives are cliché, broad, bland and add absolutely no value to a resume.

Take a look at these career objectives below and ask the question – what does the job candidate want?

To gain a meaningful career in the public service were my experience can be utilised.

A dedicated and multi-skilled professional, now seeking career advancement with a forward thinking organisation where outstanding people skills can be applied to full advantage.

Well if you have no idea what the job candidate wanted, you are not alone. This is exactly why this sort of vague, contrite and cliché objective statement is such a waste of space. Neither statement would grab the readers attention, capture interest, create desire, or cause a recruiter or employer to take action, except perhaps to raise an eye brow or two (in frustration).

These career objectives are just a couple of examples of the thousands of objectives I’ve viewed over the years. The first job candidate was seeking a position in policy within government. The second job candidate was seeking an executive assistant position in either the public or private sector. Neither of these statements provides this detail.

Since career objectives are generally so badly crafted – in recent years most professional resume writers are suggesting that you replace a career objective with a profile statement, effectively making the career objective ‘dead as a duck’.

Yet, a good career objective still has its place in a modern resume / CV, as it quickly indicates to a recruiter or employer that you are a good match and that the job is ideal for you and you are ideal for the employer.

So in this article, I’m going to share with you the exact steps you can take to create the perfect career objective.

Step 1 – You need to understand the employer’s needs
Step 2 – Pick the right heading
Step 3 – Stick with some basic rules
Step 4 – Assess whether you would be a good candidate for a stand-alone career objective
Example Career Objectives

Step 1 – You need to understand the employer’s needs?

When crafting your career objective, start from the perspective of what the employer requires. If your career objective states that you want a job in a Fortune 500 company and you are applying for a job at a SME, there is going to be a complete mismatch. I can’t emphasise this enough, but your objective has to MATCH the job and the organisation to be effective. It might mean you need to craft a different career objective for each job you apply for, but the effort will be worth it.

So have a close look at the job advertisement and align your objective with the employer’s needs. Draw a line down the middle of the page and one side list the employer’s needs, and on the other side of the line, list your assets that are relevant to the employer requirements.

The employer needs:

I’m offering:

Step 2 – Pick the right heading

You can use the heading ‘career objective’, but this is coming from a perspective of what you want from the relationship, so you can replace this heading with other suitable headings. I’ve included some suggestions below and these terms can be mixed and matched with other terms.

So for example, you could have Mission & Qualifications or Aspiration & Profile.


Step 3 – Stick with some basic rules

When writing your resume career objective, stick to these key rules:

  • Keep the objective statement brief –one or two sentences at most. It can stand-alone or be used in combination with a profile, but the objective part of the statement needs to be brief and to the point.
  • Make sure the statement is not generic, but matches the needs of the employer. If your career objective is generic, go back to Step 1, so you can match your objective with the job advertisement.
  • Don’t copy other people’s career objectives – you need to nail your own objective.

Step 4 – Assess whether you would be a good candidate for a stand-alone career objective.

When I talk about stand-alone career objective, I’m talking about creating a separate heading and not attaching a statement at the end of a profile, or overview. You would be a good job candidate for this, if you fall into the following categories:

• You are changing career
• You are a recent graduate with limited or no paid experience
• You are applying for a support position
• You are a highly specialist expert

Example career objectives

Stand-alone career objective

Successful small practice solicitor – refocusing drive and optimism into obtaining employment in policy within the government sector.

Career Objective blended into the Profile

Highly experienced EXECUTIVE, with the capacity to transform operations and deliver tangible results. Poised to pursue development leadership role based on passion and dedication to non-profit missions. Articulate, motivational strategist who inspires staff to top performance.

SENIOR PROJECT MANAGER, ENTREPRENEUR and TURNAROUND expert with over 20+ years experience. Proven capacity to recover complex projects and deliver tangible results for clients. Seeking Project Director position within the telecommunications sector.

Other articles you might find useful

Resources so you can create your own knock out resume

Everything you need to know about Applicant Tracking Systems 

How to select the best resume writer 

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