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How to Write a Career Objective Statement
|    Read This Later |    E-mail to Friend  |    Printable Version

A career objective, as it pertains to your curriculum vitae, is a statement of purpose which targets a specific job within a particular industry. If you require some sample career objectives, then you've come to the right place; there are several sample career objective statements on this page. Here is the first of them, made simply by naming, in a single sentence, the individual profession that is being actively sought by the candidate:

'To work in the field of physical education.'

As a first draft, this career objective example is only partly successful. While it states the industry sector that the author is interested in, it omits the specific position being sought. Worse still, it provides no clue as to why the candidate might be suitable to work in physical education. A second draft is definitely in order:

'To apply my five years' experience in personal training, and master's degree in sports psychology, to a role as physical education instructor.'

Much better. If a crash course in career objectives is all you required, then congratulations—you've passed. But if higher education is more your style, and you'd like a free master class in crafting a highly effective, interview- winning career objective statement for your CV, then scroll on down to lesson one, entitled:

The Value of Career Objectives

Your career objective is the opening act of your curriculum vitae, setting the stage for the content that follows. Its function is to offer a rationale for the submission of your CV to the recipient, by defining the job you want to acquire, and highlighting the qualities that make you ideal to attain it.

If your curriculum vitae fails to start with a career objective, the reader may well infer that you either:

a. do not know what work you want;

or

b. lack the initiative and/or intelligence to get your objective across.

It's certainly true that a career objective statement, short as it is, often proves the most difficult curriculum vitae component to write. Don't be too disheartened by this—the final rewards will outweigh the initial problems you encounter. By beginning your pitch with a clear, concise, dynamic objective, you will ensure that:

a. your CV is interpreted the way you intended;

and

b. you emerge as someone whose aspirations are clearly defined, and whose capabilities support their goals.

Writing Your Career Objective

The first step in composing your career objective is easy: choose a target occupation.

Scour the employment sections of as many newspapers, trade magazines, and career websites (we're big supporters of FÁS Jobs Ireland) as you can. Ask yourself, 'What vacancies are available to me? Which of them fit with my overall career plan? Which of them satisfy my technical, creative and social requirements?'

Next, evaluate the skills you've developed and tasks you've completed in previous jobs (or, if you are a recent graduate or school leaver, in your educational training). Which of these unique ingredients assist your career objective to the greatest extent? How will they help your next employer achieve their organisational aims?

Once you know the answers to these questions, you are ready to begin the first draft of your career objective statement. Here is what you need to include:

  The job (e.g. dancer, web designer);
  The industry (e.g. creative arts, ICT);
  Qualities that support your goal (e.g. qualifications, high-profile projects).

Hints and Tips for Compelling Objectives

If you want your career objective to show you off to best effect (and who doesn't?), keep the following in mind:

Stay short and sweet. About two lines is all you need.

Be specific, but not exclusionist. Stating that you want to work as a computer programmer is fine; stating that you want to work as a computer programmer specialising in relational databases coded in XML is restrictive in the extreme, and may prevent you being considered for any other computer programming position.

Don't use the 'I' word when the 'My' word will do. 'I want a job in retail sales' sounds egotistic and confrontational; 'To use my accounting and customer care skills in a role as retail sales manager' is more restrained, but no less persuasive.

Ensure that what you say in your objective is born out by the content of your CV, and vice-versa.

Sample Career Objectives—Contrast and Compare

A poorly-constructed career objective statement is often worse than none at all. Consider these examples:

  CAREER OBJECTIVE EXAMPLE #1

I would prefer a job in retail sales that will give me the opportunity to further my already-extensive understanding as regards the creation and monitoring of in-store promotions of cosmetics to customers, with a view to later advancement to a more senior-level position.

  CAREER OBJECTIVE EXAMPLE #2

A retail sales position that demands proficiency in the creation and monitoring of in-store promotions of cosmetics to customers.

What is the difference between these two career objective examples? The answer is simple: focus. In the first objective, the writer's focus is turned inward—notice the use of 'I' and 'Me', the off-putting referral to their 'already-extensive understanding', and the fact that they are thinking about career advancement before they even get an interview. In the second version, the job hunter's focus is where it ought to be—on the employer.

State Your Objective, Gain Your Objective

Just as in the case of cover letters, there is no magic formula for the creation of a compelling career objective statement. But using the guidelines listed above may well help you stay a step ahead of the competition—a step that takes you into the interview room and, we hope, on to the payroll.

  Related Articles

How to Write a Cover Letter That Wins Interviews

Top 10 Reasons Why Curriculum Vitaes Are Rejected

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