Today, regardless of what job you’re going for, your focus should be the employer’s needs. Answering those needs will create desire and interest in you. Yes, you can still define what sort of position you want. Yes, you can still convey your qualifications. And, yes, you can still use the term objective for a resume if you prefer. The difference is in the perspective. Rather, direct your writing toward what your employer wants and how you can give it to them.
This explains the use of the word Focus in place of objective for a resume. Rhetorically, We prefer to use Focus because it conveys more energy and concentration. Arguably, it’s a matter of semantics. You can use a number of terms, as long as you weave the employer’s needs into your statement. Here’s an alphabetical list of some alternative headings you can use for this resume objective section:
- Value Proposition
Many of these terms can be mixed and matched, such as Focus and Qualifications or Specialization and Qualifications. Or you can add terms such as Career, Professional, or Vocational in front of several words in the list. For instance, Career Target, Professional Plan, and Vocational Trade can each work as a heading. You’ll also note some nontraditional words, such as forte, which we’ve included to expand your thinking. These words are best used when woven into a cover letter to describe your strengths or vocational goals. Use such words only if they fit your style of speech.
Four resume objective examples by focus statement
Your Focus statement will be brief, one or two sentences at most. It can stand alone or be used in combination with a Qualifications Summary. You are a good candidate for a stand-alone Focus statement if your situation is aligned with any of these 4 scenarios:
1. Expertise Resume Objective Example
You specialize in a particular position and want to have that same position in your next job. Note that Expertise implies a number of years of experience at your craft. Don’t use this term if you’re just starting out. Study this example.
Licensed Clinical Social Worker with 12-year record of creating award-winning social service programs, accessing “hidden” funding and grant money, and delivering services to medically underserved populations.
2. Focus Resume Objective Example
You’re a recent graduate with limited paid experience:
Management Training Program—BBA graduate with 4.0 GPA from one of the nation’s top business schools. Well grounded in simulated corporate scenarios that required solutions to complex manufacturing, distribution, and marketing issues.
3. Intent Resume Objective Example
You’re applying for entry-level, line, or support positions.
To support management in a secretarial role where my technical skills, initiative, and understanding of client-driven organizations will be of value.
4. Goal Resume Objective Example
You’re transitioning from one career to another.
To parlay 15 years of legal experience as a top-notch business litigator into a career as a consultant, motivational speaker, and business coach.
Focus on the employer’s needs!
You might not care, but you can bet the employer does. Recall that part of your task is to make the job of the hiring manager easier. Don’t give that person the investigative assignment of determining your strengths and where you’d best fit into the company. The employer resume preference survey turned up a number of pet peeves, two of which apply to the Objective:
- “Not defining the type of position you want.”
- “Not researching the company to know what jobs are available.”
So if you don’t know what positions are available, find out. Call on your networking sources or contact someone within the organization, whether a human resources manager or department representative. Following are some alternatives for presenting your Focus statement, the first of which is a traditional Objective for a Resume technique. Then the “Cover Letter Focus Statement” section.
The Traditional Objective
Recall that you selected a title for your objective category. To write the best Objective for a Resume, break it down into these key pieces of information:
- The position you want: if you are targeting two types of positions in your search, write Focus statements for both.
- Connective Tissue: phrases that will connect your target position with your key skills.
- The key skills that qualify you Identify three key skills, even though you might not use all of them in the Focus statement.
- The benefits or value to an employer: again, identify three, even though you might not use all of them.
Some Traditional Resume Objective Examples
Example 1: Computer programmer
Target Position: Computer programmer
Connective Tissue: with proficiency in
Key Skills: C/C++ and Java
Value to an employer: Noted for producing clean, readable, and imaginative code to speed the release of products.
Example 2: Employment Opportunity
Target Position: Opportunity
Connective Tissue: in which my
Key Skills: sales support, customer service, problem-solving, and human relations skills
Value to an employer: will grow and retain your customer base.
Example 3: Plant Management
Target Position: Plant Management
Connective Tissue: in which
Key Skills: production planning and materials-management skills can be used to
Value to an employer: capture cost savings and maximize plant productivity.
Cover Letter Focus Statement
If you opt for no Resume Objective for space-saving reasons, you still must clue the reader into what type of position you want. You can accomplish this in the cover letter by using a regarding, or subject, line. Add boldfacing to the information to help the reader immediately know your job interests.
Jane Doe, Director of Staffing
Best Company, Inc.
1234 Sunnyside St.
Dallas, TX 75214
Re: Openings in Customer Service
Dear Ms. Doe:
If your target company is large and has a number of opportunities in customer service, elaborate on your subject line in the body of the cover letter and use specific titles the company uses.
I believe my skills would be best suited to your Customer Service Department—for instance, in positions such as International Account Specialist, Key Accounts Specialist, or Customer Care Coordinator.
Resume Objective Mistakes
For 50 or more years, objectives enjoyed preeminent positioning in resumes as a one-sentence statement encapsulating the age-old question of “what do you want to be when you grow up?” More often than not, resume objectives tended to be de rigueur statements that were vague, trite, canned, and self-focused.
How many of you can relate to the following objective?
Challenging position with a dynamic, growth-oriented company that will lead to advancement opportunities.
There’s nothing in the preceding objective statement that will grab the reader’s Attention and capture the reader’s Interest. This ancient objective would definitely flunk the AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire, and call to Action) test today. It offers nothing to create Desire in the reader, nor will it cause any Action by the reader.