A career objective at the start of your resume compliments your skills and experience while providing a recruiter with some background about your personal career goals. Writing a clear, focused and engaging career objective ensures you make a good impression so that you can secure yourself an interview for the job you want.
In this article, we describe what a career objective is, outline tips on how to write one and cover the basic structure of a career objective with examples to help you write your own.
What is a career objective?
A career objective is essentially a short and concise sales pitch that summarises your most valuable skills and experiences in two to three sentences. It allows you to get straight to the point, answering two of the most common questions hiring managers have when skimming through resumes. First, you need to show them the value you would bring to the role with your impressive qualifications. Second, you need to establish why you want the job with your career aspirations.
Placed at the top of your resume, it is often the first thing that catches a recruiter's attention. Thus, it needs to be compelling enough to get them to read your entire resume in greater detail. A succinct career objective can make a difference when securing a face-to-face interview.
Related: Resume Format Guide (with Examples)
Why you should write a career objective
Here are a few reasons why you should include a career objective in your resume:
Invites your reader in
Recruiters receive dozens of applications per day, which means they only get a few minutes to look over your resume. Considering the vast amount of experience recruiters have hiring candidates, they can tell instinctively by your resume if you may be a suitable one. A strong career objective teases your potential employer with the talent you have to offer them. Thus, it ensures they are invested enough to read your resume thoroughly.
Quickly establishes your potential
In Australia, recruiters like candidates to be bold and know what they want. A clearly written career objective shows your prospective employer that the advertised job aligns with your career aspirations. A career objective that is focused, further emphasises that you have done your research and given the role considerable thought.
Builds on your experience
A career objective is suitable for candidates of all experience levels because you can tailor it to your individual professional journey. For example, young graduates that have little experience can use this section to share why a particular career path is ideal for them and what they hope to achieve. Similarly, if you are seeking to change careers or have gaps in your resume, a career objective is a great tool to address questions in advance.
Career objectives are also useful for more established professionals. It is a great place to state your years of experience in the industry, any key contributions you have made and accolades you have received.
Read more: 6 Universal Rules for Resume Writing
Tips for writing an effective career objective
Often job seekers overlook career objectives to focus their efforts on writing an impressive work experience section on their resume. However, a well-written career objective can act as a powerful introduction to your professional experience. Here are some tips on writing a strong career objective to get your resume noticed:
Keep it short
The space on your resume is precious, so every section should tell employers something new and important about you. Since your career objective sits at the top of your resume, it should entice recruiters to stop skimming and start dissecting the information in greater detail. Career objectives that are formatted with smaller text and are too wordy will distract from your primary purpose; therefore, remember to keep it short and concise.
To keep it short, communicate only three focal points. Ideally, a career objective should highlight your professional experience, key strengths and why you want to work for the company you are applying for. Edit your writing to remove any unnecessary words or flowery exaggerations. The key to a good career objective is that it should be short yet engaging.
Hiring managers can catch discrepancies between what a candidate claims and what their qualification say about them. Reference checks will further bring the truth to light. Thus, be clear and honest about your career ambitions in your career objective. This way both parties can ensure they are a good fit for each other.
Tailor your resume for each position
Match keywords in your career objective with those listed on the job description. This rule should apply throughout your resume. Recruiters search for key characteristics in resumes that they think would make a candidate successful at a job. Repeating key phrases and skills in your career objective will help draw their attention. Remember to choose keywords that accurately represent you too.
This technique is also a great way to ensure your application passes through automated Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS). Technology has made it more efficient for Australian businesses to sort out large volumes of incoming applications. They favour resumes that use certain keywords, therefore it's important to ensure that your application is ATS-friendly.
Highlight your strengths
While you may use a separate section to list all your strengths and skills, your career objective is a great place to introduce them. You can use short but precise phrases such as "critical-thinker", "problem-solver" and "detail-oriented" to bring attention to your most valuable skills. In the work experience section of your resume, you can further elaborate on them using examples and statistics.
Check your spelling and grammar
Before you send your resume to a recruiter, always proofread your work. Good spelling and grammar are even more essential in your career objective because this is the first impression you make. An error-free career objective shows that you are a dedicated and meticulous professional. Rather than simply stating these qualities, showing proof of them gets you a step closer to an interview.
How to structure a career objective
Structure your career objective statement into three principal topics. Each one serves to highlight what makes you the most qualified candidate for the role. Here's a basic outline to help you structure your career objective:
1. First sentence
The first sentence of your career objective should immediately tell a recruiter who you are. It should state the name of your profession or your current job title, along with the number of years you have been in the industry. If you're a young graduate or in the middle of changing careers, establish this at the start too.
Example: Enthusiastic, personable general manager with six years of experience providing clients with the highest degree of customer service.
2. Second sentence
Your next sentence should be your pitch. It should clearly communicate why a company should hire you. In this sentence, highlight your strengths, any successful projects worth mentioning and any awards you have received.
Example: Strong leader with experience managing a team of eight, dedicated to improving the guest experience, achieved TripAdvisor's award for "Best Hotel in Brisbane 2021."
3. Last sentence
You should end your career objective statement with your career ambition. This tells recruiters you are a driven professional who strives to develop your professional skills. It also gives them an idea about how they can support your career goals as an employer.
Example: Interested in an opportunity to bring my extensive management portfolio to a group hotel position where I can continue to reimagine the guest experience.
Career objective examples
Follow these examples to help you write a clear career objective for your resume:
Caring, compassionate and licenced nurse with five years' experience in the trauma department. Proven ability to remain calm, responsive under pressure and decisive in an emergency. Looking to utilise medical background and drive to improve patient satisfaction by at least 20%.
Enthusiastic CPA with MBA who just completed graduate studies. Experience preparing dozens of tax returns for major accounting firms over the past 18 months. Assisted in conducting audits during university internship; able to identify $10,000 in potential savings. Looking to utilise skills and experiences as an accountant with MT Financial.
Data entry clerk
A recent graduate of the University of Melbourne with experience in all facets of Microsoft Office. Detail-oriented, exceptional oral and written communication skills and a drive to be successful. Interested in an opportunity to bring 85 words-per-minute typing speed to BGM Shipping and Receiving.
Read more: How to Write a Resume Employers Will Notice
Human resources specialist
Personable, driven human resources specialist looking to secure a role with KPM Public Schools. Previous experience as an intern with park service, which included helping interview potential part-time personnel. Experience in onboarding new employees, as well as running fingerprinting and background checks. Seeking an opportunity to utilise these skills as a part-time HR Specialist Assistant.