What is a resume objective? In a nutshell, resume goals are pithy statements on the top of your resume that clearly detail who you are and what you have accomplished, then describe who you are to that company and ultimately to list what you will be offering. Many people either completely skip this section of a resume altogether, and it’s tough to blame them for their decision. They are missing out on one of the most important parts of their resume! Here is how to get started with your resume objective.

resume objective

Your resume objective is your first chance to provide that much needed support to a hiring manager who needs a little more information about you before making a decision. Often times, a potential employer asks to see your resume objective in a cover letter, which is where you are most likely to fumble around for the right words. The key is to not sound redundant. Instead, let your resume objective be the driving force behind the rest of the paragraph.

For example, let’s say you’re applying for a position as a registered mechanical engineer. In your cover letter, you will want to include several keywords related to the position such as: experienced engineers, problem-solving, problem solving attitude, team player, knowledge transfer, and others. When writing your resume objective, you should use these exact same words, and explain in your letter why you believe you would be an ideal candidate for the position.

Another common mistake made by job seekers is that they hope for a quick positive result. When working on your resume objective, be honest and detailed. If you’re hoping to land a permanent position in your first job or you’re hoping to obtain a management level job, explain to the hiring manager exactly what it is that you hope to accomplish with this particular job term. Let him know that your goal is to gain experience so you can achieve the goals you have outlined in your resume objective.

A final example of an employer mistaking a resume objective for a key performance indicator (KPI’s) comes from a sample resume summary screen. A sample resume summary screen often includes several items, which are used by hiring managers in making their decisions about candidates. One of those items is a list of bullet points under each career objective. It’s easy to confuse these bullets for KPIs, especially when the bullet points themselves are confused for keywords like: success, leadership, and efficiency. To avoid this confusion, review your entire resume objective.

Although this can be a helpful screen to help job seekers sort through their resumes, it must always be taken with a pinch of salt. If the career summary screen lists your career objectives alongside career information and experience data, then the resume objective may actually be misconstrued as a keyword or a KPI. The two should never be mixed. You will then be sending your resume out to many different employers who may not be very discriminate when it comes to selecting job candidates on the basis of objective-type questions.

Another common mistake made when writing a career-oriented resume objective is to fill in the blank with words like “responsible” or “team player.” This is a very bad practice, because although these words sound good on paper, in reality they really do not fit the needs of the job you’re applying for. The fact is, most employers want to see two sentences or so describing the specific qualities you possess that directly relate to the job. “Determined by skill,” for example, is a much better way to describe your skills and qualifications than “responsible” or “team player.”

When your resume objective is confused for a KPI, you are wasting your time. You won’t get the interview, you are seeking, because the potential employer will be wondering how you arrived at such a vague goal. It’s best to keep your resume objective clear, focused, and professional. Using keywords in the resume objective will make it easier to write, and this will help you land that interview. And once you have an interview, you’ll know exactly what you need to do to land the job of your dreams.