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How to Eloquently State Your Career Objectives

by Ellie Williams

If you want to impress prospective employers, it helps if you can distill your career goals into a succinct sentence or two. Interviewers often ask about this when they meet with you and might also expect to see a career objective on your resume or application. Create an objective that reflects your skills and ambitions and that matches the type of job you’re applying for.

Be Specific

Even if you’re interested in multiple aspects of your profession, limit your career objective to just one. If you portray yourself as a jack-of-all-trades, employers might think you lack in-depth knowledge or strong skills in any one area. They might also fear you lack focus and that you’re not committed to your current career path. In addition, if your objective is vague or consists primarily of cliches, employers might doubt your qualifications. For example, saying you’re seeking “a challenging and interesting opportunity” says little about you and could describe nearly every applicant.

Keep It Brief

To create an eloquent career objective, keep it short and simple. One or two sentences usually suffice, both for resumes and for interviews. Offering too much information dilutes your message and can confuse the reader or listener. A concise objective, on the other hand, makes a strong statement and depicts you as decisive and confident. If you want to offer more information, use your cover letter or the interview to mention specific examples or elaborate on the points made in your objective.

Tailor It to the Position

Your objective should mirror the function and duties of the job you’re applying for. If it doesn’t, employers might wonder why you’re pursuing the position and why you’re interested in their company. For example, if you’re applying for a public relations opening at a nonprofit agency, don’t just list your objective as a “Job in public relations." Instead, state that you’re seeking “A public relations position with a nonprofit community service organization in the Minneapolis area” or “A position allowing me to use my public relations training to give back to my community.”

Describe Your Goals

Employers sometimes use your objective to analyze your thinking and planning skills. They’re looking for signs that you’ve carefully considered your long-term goals and the most effective way to reach them. To demonstrate this, use a short-term/long-term format. If you’re applying for an internship, state that you’re seeking “A summer internship offering hands-on experience in advertising that could lead to full-time employment.” For an entry-level position, you might describe your objective as “An entry-level position in laboratory science that will prepare me for hands-on and leadership opportunities."

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