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Commentary > Wastler's Wanderings
Objection to objectives
Human resource preferences aside, it's time to get the silly 'objective' out of resumes.
September 22, 2004: 1:55 PM EDT

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NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Can we get rid of the whole "objective" thing at the top of resumes? Please?

I say this after a couple of weeks of wading through job applications. Yes, in a sign that the job market really is improving, we've got a couple of openings here at But while the economy may be improving, the bulk of resumes are not.

And it all starts at that silly, silly "objective." Take these from the pile on my desk:

"Objective: A full-time position that will allow me to grow personally and professionally." Well, duh.

"Objective: To work in an environment conducive to utilizing my written, oral and interpersonal communication skills." Well, double-duh.

When you think about it, the objective is pretty obvious the moment you hand over the resume. Writing it out is an exercise in redundancy. Unless, of course, you just need it to psyche yourself up.

"Objective: To defy all the odds by finding a job that I love and that will further my career in a lethargic job market--and have fun doing it!!"

Or to show off your vocabulary skills.

"Objective: An interactive position in the realm of public relations which will utilize my working knowledge of systems management in concatenation with acute writing and problem solving skills."

I can't even pronounce that word.

"Yes, they are pretty silly sometimes," said Brenda Greene, who surveyed various Fortune 500 companies about resume errors for her book, "Get the Interview Every Time," from publisher Dearborn Trade. "But most people in HR like to see an objective or summary that sums up an applicant's skills."

"HR" and "silly" often go together in my mind, but that's just me.

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According to Greene, I share a lot of other gripes with Fortune 500 resume-shuffling pros. Like basic spelling, grammar and math errors. Or hype: "Experience: Citron 47 Restaurant and Lounge -- public liaison for food and liquor deliveries."

Waiter, eh?

"When resumes come in, especially in this market, hiring managers aren't looking to find someone ... they are looking to disqualify someone," said Greene. "Errors and hype do that."

You betcha. I toss a lot that way.

I've always kept an "objective" off my resume and relied on the cover letter to let people know I'm interested in working for them. And in all fairness, some of the applications I've received have gone this route ... if a little tersely.

"If you want to consider me for this position, I am willing to consider performing this job for your organization."

Well, it's better than just wanting to grow personally and professionally, I guess.  Top of page

Allen Wastler is Managing Editor of CNN/Money and a commentator on CNNfn and CNN. He can be emailed at

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