A career objective goes a long way in expressing your career aspirations to prospective employers. It’s generally found at the very top of your curriculum vitae, usually right above your contact details. A career objective is simply an optional component of a curriculum vitae that outlines your career objectives and states your career objectives. While it’s perfectly fine to have no career objective or to include one only later in a CV, it’s often preferable to have one in place from the outset.
The reason for having an objective statement is fairly obvious – you want your CV to sell you! No one wants to be confronted with a pile of CV entries where each objective sentence is only listed in order, or where each candidate is presented with a pile of CV entries where none of them has a relevant and clear career objective. (What does that say to a hiring manager? Let me count the ways:)
In addition to helping you plot your course in terms of career progression, a career objective also acts as a signal to hiring managers about your overall commitment to your career and your confidence about your ability to achieve career-best practices. What do I mean? Simply put, hiring managers want to see evidence that you are committed to your career, your job and your potential for success. They don’t want to be presented with a stack of CV’s where all the candidates have clearly separated, clearly stated career objectives.
So what should you have in place to support your career objective? The good news is that there are several routes to take when it comes to creating a career objective. Your most important weapon against lazy writing is the three sentences which you can use to set out your intended career outcome. Let’s look at three excellent examples:
A legal assistant could well have a career objective like “become an expert legal assistant”. Now the job description given by the company should match this particular example perfectly. The first sentence should clearly state what sort of skills you’ll bring to the role, i.e. “the legal assistant will specialise in drafting legal documents and submissions, assisting lawyers with court orders, filing appeals and proceedings etc…” The second sentence ought to list the specialist areas which you’ll be applying to: “the legal assistant will have the ability to draft contracts for litigants and litigators, assist in managing court accounts and drafting responses to court orders…” Finally, the third sentence should state what sort of work you’ll be doing once you’ve got the job description: “the legal assistant will specialise in transactional work and supporting litigants and lawyers in preparing and submitting litigation documents”.
You may feel tempted to just write one objective statement and lump it all together in the third sentence. To save yourself some time, consider each statement carefully. Write one objective statement for each job you’re applying for. It’s best not to just list your skills and qualifications, but to write one objective statement per job. It may help with your career objective to write one statement per job rather than spreading yourself too thin.
Your career objective should also be written in the context of the job description. The phrase “the role required that I…” should be written first as a reference to the job description. If you’re applying for a role which is described as “content management” then your career objective should read “identify and develop content, publish and maintain documentation for users, prepare and maintain documents for clients” or something similar. It doesn’t matter if you think this is a good job description as long as it reads as though it was written for you (and you should).
It’s always best to tailor your career objective to the company you’re applying to as well as the specific skills, knowledge and experience you’ll bring to the role. If you’re seeking work experience which will help you in your future role, why not mention that here? For example, if you’re seeking work experience which will help you in your role as an Accountant, then mention that as well.