Should my resume have an Objective Statement?

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The following question came from Luming at Southern Methodist University

I have a objective statement on my resume which states the kind of job I am seeking. I am a graduate student studying Accounting, on Assurance and Advisory track. On my resume, I put a full-time Audit position as my objective, but I feel like doing Advisory, too. I have also observed that  many accounting firms and business services companies are seeking consultants and advisors. So,  may I include both full time Audit and Advisory positions in my objective section? Will it look weird? 

Luming –

I have to confess – I am not a huge fan of Objectives Statements on resumes, as a general practice.  There certainly are circumstances when they are warranted, but more often than not, Objective Statements eat up valuable space on your resume (space you could be using the tell potential employers more about you) and are very vague and introspective (A job that will allow me to grow professionally with a forward-thinking company – seriously, what does that even mean?).

Good Objective Statements place the content of your resume into a specific context, are focused on a specific position or type of position, and are employer focused. But even when your Objective Statement meets these three criteria, you may not need one.

Here are a few tips:

If you are submitting your application for a specific position through your career center, you probably don’t need an Objective Statement.

If the employer requires that you submit their application for along with your resume (and on that form you have to identify the position(s) for which you are applying, you don’t need an Objective Statement.

If you are applying for multiple and genuinely different positions with the same company, you many need a unique objective statement on each version of your resume.  You may also need to send different versions of your resume as well.

If you are building your professional network by conducting informational interviews with professionals in fields you are considering, you may wish to have an Objective Statement on your resume.

If you are not replying to a specific job posting, rather you are generally just expressing your interest in employment with a company, you may wish to have an Objective Statement on your resume.

THE CAVEAT!  Remember, I am offering you one person’s advice (mine), and you will find people (recruiters, other advisers, professors, etc.) who will tell you you must have an Objective Statement.  You have to decide for yourself what you want to do, because there is not one answer that suits all circumstances.

My Resume Guide has a section on Objective Statements. You might want to download and take a look at is as well.

Hope this helps,

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