Do I have to put an objective on my resume? I’ve always heard that you do, but I am afraid it will limit me. I’m really open to doing different things rather than just one thing.
Wondering About an Objective
Dear Wondering About an Objective,
Contrary to what you may have heard, it is not necessary to include an objective on your resume. In fact, an objective can actually work against you.
Most people use one of two types of objectives. The first is position-specific, such as “Looking for a position in case management.”
The problem with this is that if you apply for another type of position, you will have to redo your resume to amend or remove that statement. This is not practical nor always even possible because of time constraints. Besides, if you’re applying for a case management job, it should be fairly obvious that your objective is to find a position in case management.
Since a cover letter would normally accompany a resume that is mailed, faxed or emailed, that would be the place to mention which specific position you are applying for, along with your areas of interest.
The other type of objective consists of a flowery statement that says something general, such as “Looking for a position where I can utilize all of my skills and abilities to deliver excellent patient care.”
This statement is vague, general and virtually meaningless.
So what’s the point? Remember that you have anywhere from 3-20 seconds to grab the interest and attention of the reader. Since the first few lines on your resume are the first things readers are likely to see, you want them to be strong, energizing and interesting.
If attending a career fair or facility open house, where a cover letter is not customarily used, you can mention to the recruiter if you have a particular preference of position or department.
A good alternative to the objective is the summary. This is a short paragraph made up of two or three powerful, punchy sentences that represent the best you have to offer. The first sentence should give an overview of your experience. The second and third sentences should convey strong personality traits, one or two exceptional skills or abilities and other desirable attributes.
Here’s an example: “RN with unique background combining both healthcare and business experience. Possesses excellent teaching and training skills. Detail-oriented, energetic and a creative problem solver.”
This type of summary serves as an introduction to you. The summary example is high-energy and grabs the reader’s attention. It draws the reader in, gives that person a good feeling about the candidate, and makes an employer want to read more and hopefully learn more about you. While some may criticize the use of clichés such as “team player” and “self starter,” the truth is these phrases are still commonly used by employers and recruiters in classified ads, job descriptions and interviews, and elicit a positive response.
You’ll find many more examples of resume summaries, including entire resume samples, in The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses.