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What is a career objective?

Career Objective Examples

As we mentioned earlier, career objectives range in length and scope, depending on a job-seeker's experience and needs.

Many people simply choose to go with a short, generic objective, like the following:


"To obtain a teaching position in an elementary school."

However, a more personalized objective can demonstrate your special skills:

"To incorporate a variety of effective teaching strategies, including interactive methods and cooperative learning, and to foster elementary school students in the core subjects."

The second example is an effective way to sidestep the problems of an overly narrow or overly broad objective. Even though it technically states your career goal, it focuses on what you would provide to the employer.

Another way of conveying what you can bring to an employer is to briefly state your experience in the objective:

"To obtain an HR management position using 15 years experience in increasingly responsible HR positions."

Regarding word choice, expert Arthur D. Rosenberg advises against words like "challenging" and "rewarding," because they focus more on what you want than what you can give [source: Rosenberg]. Your language in your objective should be compelling, but specific to what you can do. In their book, "High-level Resumes," authors Marshall A. Brown and Annabelle Reitman offer not only dozens of example resumes, but lists of effective words to describe yourself and your accomplishments.

You can incorporate a professional summary in addition to or in place of a career objective. The summary is longer and can essentially go over your qualifications. Here's an example of an impressive summary from Brown and Reitman:

"Accomplished Lawyer with over 8 years of experience providing regulatory compliance and research. Expertise in environmental, energy and safety fields. Dynamic and persuasive, winning arguments and settling cases. Expertise in analysis, research and case preparation" [source: Brown].

Overall, objectives keep you focused. Even if you opt for a summary and decide against including a career objective section on your resume, taking time to write an objective can be a helpful personal exercise -- at least until you decide what you want to be when you grow up.

Related HowStuffWorks Articles


  • Blitzer, Roy J. "Hire Me, Inc.: Resumes and Cover Letters: That Get Results." Entrepreneur Press, 2007. (Aug. 23, 2010)
  • Brown, Marshall A., Annabelle Reitman. "High-level Resumes: High-powered Tactics for High-earning Professionals." Career Press, 2005. (Aug. 23, 2010)
  • Enelow, Wendy S. "No-nonsense Resumes." Career Press, 2006. (Aug. 23, 2010)
  • Knaus, Bill, et al. "Fearless Job Hunting: Powerful Psychological Strategies for Getting the Job You Want." New Harbinger Publications, 2010. (Aug. 23, 2010)
  • Rosenberg, Arthur D. "The Resume Handbook." Adams Media, 2007. (Aug. 23, 2010)
  • Saraf, Dilip G. "Reinvention Through Messaging: The Write Message for the Right Job!" iUniverse, 2004. (Aug. 23, 2010)