If you are just beginning your career or if you are changing careers, it is strongly recommended that you include a career objective on your resume. A career objective simply is a statement of what you want to do, what position you want, or where you want to work now. Long term goals are optional. The content of your resume should then support your stated objective.
Some individuals choose to make their objective general so as to not “close themselves out” of any particular job. If you are in this group, you need to avoid the risk of making your objective too general, as the following example illustrates: “A position which utilizes my education background and communication skills.” This career objective example is poor because it says nothing about what type of position the applicant is seeking, what environment he/she wishes to work in, or what specific skills he/she wants to use on the job.
An effective career objective should include one or more of the following:
- A specific job title
- A specific environment/industry in which you want to work
- Specific skills/experience you want to utilize in the position
Below are examples of career objectives divided into the above categories.
Career Objective (Specific Position)
- Programmer or Programmer Analyst.
- A position as an auditor for a public accounting firm.
- A mathematics teaching position in a junior high school. Interested in coaching softball and basketball.
- A consumer goods sales position.
Career Objective (Industry/Environment)
- A position in a financial institution; especially interested in banking, auditing and investments.
- Electrical engineering position in a manufacturing industry.
- A counseling position in a community mental health facility.
Career Objective (Skills/Experience)
- A position allowing me to incorporate my experience in promotion and customer relations.
- A position integrating skills in copy-writing, editing and reporting.
- A position employing skills in training and development, public affairs and program development.
- A position in a research laboratory, utilizing skills developed from working in a forensics environment.
Your objective may fit into one of the above categories or it may combine two or more types (for example, an industry and skills objective).
Keep in mind that you can, and should, be more specific about your career objective when you write a cover letter in response to a particular job posting. Your cover letters for specific positions or employers should be tailored to describe how the position specifically fits your interests. Developing a sound cover letter can be a very time consuming process. However, by not being too restrictive in describing your objective on your resume, you can eliminate a lot of unnecessary time and effort by not changing (or tailoring) your objective for each position you are interested in pursuing.
Career summaries, on the other hand, are very effective for experienced people in a particular field. It is a good way of describing where you’ve been and where you want to go in three or four sentences. These are most effective for people who want to stay in the same career field but are looking for a promotion within the same company or a comparable or better position in a new company. Resume/cover letter writing assistance is available in the Office of Career Services.
Back to the Career Preparation page.