Palladian Career Resources

3 Reasons to Have a Specific Objective

3 Reasons to Have a Specific Objective

I received a resume recently from a pharmaceutic sales rep.  What I liked about the resume was the objective.  It was very clear and concise.  I knew exactly what the job seeker was looking for.  Here’s the entire four word objective statement:

GOAL: Pharmaceutical Sales Representative

There’s no ambiguity here.  If I was looking for a Pharmaceutic Sales Rep, I’d know this candidate is interested and I could focus on assessing them.  I like specific objectives – either in the cover letter or on the resume for three reasons:

First, a specific objective statement ensures that you are considered for the position you want.  A general objective forces the reader to decide what job is best for you.  Usually, they will assume you want a position similar or identical to your current role.  If you want a position that is different, you may not be considered for that role if you aren’t specific.  This is especially important if you are changing careers. 

Second, a specific objective shows decisiveness.  Hiring managers don’t want someone wishy-washy that can’t make a decision.  Failing to be specific creates an impression that you can’t be decisive. 

Third, many hiring managers screen resumes with a specific position in mind.  Stating your objective  may help you get a more thorough look.  If your objective is specific and matches the company’s needs, the hiring manager should look closely at your background to see if it supports your goal.  With a general objective, your resume will probably only get a quick scan.  You are relying on the hiring manager to see something in that scan that catches their attention and causes them to want to read more closely. 

Now some job seekers try to write their resume and cover letter to be very general.  The idea is to make their background applicable to as many jobs as possible.  Unfortunately, this doesn’t work.  Hiring managers don’t read your resume with the goal of finding a job for you.  They are focused on their needs and that means finding the best candidate for a specific position. 

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