Should résumés have an objective?

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Years ago, we would try to craft a generic résumé objective that would open the playing field for prospective clients. Today, résumés are trending away from objectives. A résumé should tell your story, what you have done and how well you have done it.

But the objective is more specific and from that perspective, we need to tell our employer what we want to do with that experience and how we can bring value to them in that capacity. The cover letter then becomes the perfect forum for defining your objective.

Maybe we have had sales and operations management experience. The question is, what do we want to do now? If it is operations management, we need to show our commitment to that direction and give our employer reason to believe that we can succeed in that capacity. Accomplishment-focused résumé material and motivational and directional material in the cover letter is the key to doing so.

So, the cover letter in effect becomes our objective statement. It lets the employer know that we want a given position and our motivation to pursue such a position. Likewise, if we are going for sales and operations, we may wish to use two cover letters. Trying to be all things in one generic cover letter is usually a mistake. Remember the “Jack of all trades, master of none” lesson? If an employer thinks you are presenting yourself as talented in everything, they may conclude that you are expert at none.


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