If you were to ask career counselors if a career objective is worth merit, half of them would say yes. Those arguing against objectives will say they are too limiting and usually poorly constructed. Those in favor will say that employers want to be able to determine quickly what you can do for the company and what you’re good at. An objective can help meet that need. To some employers, the lack of an objective translates into a job seeker who doesn’t know what he or she wants. On the other hand, numerous employers say they rarely see a well-written objective.
There’s no doubt that many resume career objectives are poorly put together as they are usually vague and not job specific. This defeats the whole purpose of the objective in the first place.
Job seekers also tend to ignore the employer’s need to know what a potential employee can contribute and list everything that the job seeker wants. For example, a typical self-serving objective will say “To obtain a meaningful and challenging position which enables me to learn the accounting field and which allows for advancement.” If your career objective doesn’t match what the hiring manager has to offer, he or she is not likely to give serious consideration to other positions within the company that you might fit into.
In other words, don’t leave the career objective off of your resume. You can have several versions of your resume saved on your computer that each have a different objective. You could even come up with a specific, tailor-made objective on your resume for each job you apply for. With technology, resumes and objectives need not be “one size fits all.” However, if you go to a job fair where it’s impossible to tailor your objective as you move from booth to booth, or if you’re handing out resumes in a networking situation, it may make more sense to leave your objective off.
If you are still uncomfortable with committing yourself to an objective on your resume, you can use a cover letter to tailor a resume to specific jobs. The cover letter can help bring the resume into sharper focus by elaborating on what the job seeker wants to do and what he or she can specifically contribute to a particular job.
Employers are seeing more objectives being replaced with wording such as summary, skills summary, qualifications or profile. Keywords in these sections are very important if they are tailored to specific job skills.
Objectives should reflect the employer’s perspective, not the job seeker’s, and should tell what the job seeker can contribute. An objective should demonstrate the value the candidate will add to the organization. Objectives should be as concise as possible. Whether or not you choose to include an objective, you may wish to present a skills or qualifications section on your resume