How to Write a Resume Objective [+ Templates]

Written by Coursera • Updated on

There may be times during your job search when it’s useful to include a resume objective—or a brief explanation of your professional goals.

[Featured Image] A woman in business casual clothing is reviewing resumes.

While resume objectives aren’t necessary to include in every version of your resume, they can help a recruiter or hiring manager understand who you are, what you’re looking for, and why you’d be worthwhile to interview.   

In this article, we’ll go over certain scenarios where it may be helpful to include an objective on your resume, as well as templates you can follow to help you capture your unique story and career aims. 

Resume objectives: Key facts 

A resume objective is a one or two-sentence summary detailing your experience and your most immediate career goals. Strong resume objectives tend to include a concise description of the following information: 

  1. Who you are

  2. What you want to achieve with your next career move 

  3. The value you’ll add to a position or company 

Resume objective templates + how to adjust

Resume objectives tend to follow certain conventions. For example, many applicants write in the third person, but you can also write in the first person or jump straight to explaining your career goals. Let’s take a look at three examples: 

Third-person emphasis: Social media coordinator [who you are] with agency experience [value add] looking for a position managing social media strategy, planning, and execution for a major health care brand [what you want].  

First-person emphasis: I am an agency-trained social media coordinator [who you are] seeking a social media manager position [what you want], where I can apply my health care brand knowledge to grow audience awareness and engagement [value add]

Position emphasis: Seeking a social media manager position at a health care start-up [what you want], where I can apply my three years of social media experience using tools like Hootsuite and Buffer [value add + who you are]. 

You can adjust your resume objective by determining which format—third-person, first-person, or position emphasis—best fits your particular needs, and by changing the way you present the three key pieces of information expected in an objective. For example, as a concise description, you can go with an adjective that grabs a recruiter’s attention, like “savvy [job title]” or “organized [job title],” or you can choose to summarize your experience, like “[job title] with X years of experience.” 

When should you use a resume objective? 

A resume objective isn’t always necessary to include on your resume because it can take up valuable space that might be better served in another way, such as clarifying the impact you made in your most recent role or listing out any extra technical skills you have.  

But there are certain scenarios where it can be more helpful to use a resume objective than others, including:  

  • If you don’t have any experience

  • If you recently graduated college 

  • If you’ve held many different types of roles

  • If you’re interested in changing careers or industries 

  • If you’re interested in career advancement

  • If you’d like to relocate 

Where should an objective go on your resume? 

Depending on how you format your resume, it’s best to put a resume objective near the top of your resume, either underneath your name and contact information or to the right of it. Take a look at this resume template for recent graduates as an example: 

Sample student resume for a high school student applying for a first job.

Resume objective tips 

In two sentences max, a resume objective needs to say a lot about who you are and what you want. To make your resume objective as effective as possible, consider the following tips: 

Research keywords. 

As part of your job search, take note of any keywords that come up in various job role descriptions, and see if there’s a way to integrate a few of them into your objective. For example, if a job description mentions attention to detail, mention that quality when you describe yourself or your experience: “Successful UX designer with strong attention to detail.”   

Tailor your objective for each role. 

Similar to the tip above, you’ll want to make sure you tailor your objective for each role, either by updating the job title you’re looking for, the goal you aim to achieve, or your desire to work specifically for that company. 

Be specific about your experience.

You have, at most, two sentences, so what you include has to say a lot. After you draft your objective, go back and look for opportunities to replace words with action verbs and powerful adjectives, and identify places where you can specify your experience.  

For example: Instead of Professional and talented financial advisor with several years of experience, get specific while still being succinct: Skilled financial advisor with significant experience guiding clients on major product decisions. 

Make your value clear. 

A resume objective states what you want, but it’s also important to convey what you have to offer a company. Try to connect your objective—career advancement or relocation—with unique skills that will make your value clear to a recruiter or hiring manager. 

Highlight your needs. 

Beyond the type of role you’re seeking, make sure to include any specifications, such as part-time work, remote work, or relocation, so that recruiters understand what you’re looking for right away. 

Resume objective examples: By scenario

Below, we’ve drafted a number of resume objective templates depending on the scenarios noted earlier and included tips to help you shape your story.  

No experience

Since you may not have a title to add to the description you craft about yourself, describe some of your greatest strengths. Use the first-person or third-person format to showcase some of your strongest transferable skills

  • Organized, detail-oriented individual seeking an entry-level customer service representative role at [Company Name] to sharpen my communication and sales skills. 

  • I am a collaborative team member with terrific people skills. I’m looking for a part-time barista role where I can learn more about customer service and share my passion for coffee.  

Recent graduate

Highlight your high school diploma or college degree in your objective, and connect what you learned with the position you’d like to hold: 

  • Recent graduate with a degree in computer science seeking a position as a web designer at an innovative start-up. Experienced in HTML/CSS, graphic design, and major CMS platforms. 

  • To obtain a position on [Company Name’s] product team, where I can apply my MBA, and contribute my knowledge of strategy, consumer research, and user experience (UX) design.  

Different roles

Call attention to the transferable skills you’ve developed along the way and how that experience will serve the direction you’re interested in moving next: 

  • Collaborative, quick learner who is skilled in communications, research, and design, and would like to apply that multidimensional experience to a role in sales for a luxury retail brand. 

  • I’m a seasoned communicator with experience in data analysis and design looking to apply that varied training to a marketing manager position at [Company Name].

Career advancement

Advancing in your career sometimes means applying for bigger roles and explaining why you’re interested in taking on additional responsibility:

  • Successful project coordinator with five years of experience overseeing eight direct reports seeking to become a project manager for an industry-leading fintech company. 

  • Established cybersecurity analyst with experience in multiple frameworks and intrusion detection looking to become a security architect for a global company, where I can implement key design features to safeguard critical data. 

Career change

It’s important to explain the reason behind your desire to change careers, and the skills you believe will help you make the pivot: 

  • Savvy data analyst with experience growing customer insight and retention in the education tech sector. Now interested in finding a role as financial analyst for a major banking institution, where I can strengthen my knowledge of trend spotting and forecasting.  

  • Driven social media manager with over seven years of experience in consumer research, audience engagement, and market strategy. Interested in pivoting to a marketing manager position and leading the broader marketing efforts of [Company Name].

Relocation 

  • I am an experienced graphic designer relocating to Denver in February, and I’m eager to find a position at [Company Name]. I have over four years of experience in website design, and I’m trained in Adobe Creative Suite.    

  • Innovative business intelligence analyst with experience contributing data-backed insight to three Fortune 500 companies. Seeking a position at a leading product engineering firm in Chicago, where I’ll be relocating in April.  

Explore further

Strengthen your subject knowledge and resume credentials by earning a Professional Certificate from industry leaders such as Google, IBM, and Meta on Coursera. Whether you want to develop your skill set or embark on a new career direction, learn about lucrative fields like project management, UX design, data science, marketing analytics, and sales, developing job-ready skills for each profession. 

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