Blog > To Include or Not to Include, that is the Question?

To Include or Not to Include, that is the Question?

by Jamie Noakes, Co-op Coordinator and Career Advisor at Thompson Rivers University, posted on July 24, 2018

I’ve always viewed space on a resume as a city planner would view commercial property on a downtown area map.  What type of commercial development is going to yield the best ROI?  What do locals want?  What businesses will be interested? The bottom line: space is valuable. When it comes to space on a resume, each section should be calculated and organized in a fashion that grabs the reader’s attention and create desire to call a candidate in for an interview. Of course we all know this. But how we execute this plan is up for debate.

A discussion point, during student appointments over the last few years has been whether or not to include an objective. Back in 2014, during a BC HRMA (now CHRP) panel talk this topic came up.  The panel almost completely agreed that the resume objective should be removed.  The majority of panelists felt the objective could be easily stated in a cover letter or as part of the email when submitting an application, in essence, save the space for what matters.  One disagreed and felt the objective is like a topic sentence that introduces the reader to the document.  Que an audience discussion and it was clear opinions were divided in what appears to be an “old school” verse “new school” school of thought.  Over the next 4 years I’ve continually asked colleagues and employers of their thoughts on the resume objective, only to find a mixed bag of thoughts on the topic. Based on these discussions I’ve compiled a list of opinions collected over the years for you to ponder:

  1. Having an objective is industry specific. Some industries prefer an objective, and some don’t. (I’ve been able to nail down a list of specific industry …. As that’s a whole other bag of worms)
  2. Depends on the length of the resume and the experience of the candidate. If space is tight take it out.
  3. Depends on where the candidate is in their career. Part time job search = include it; Beginning of career = state it; Mid-career = skip it; career transition = include it.
  4. Type of resume matters. Is the resume for part time work or full time career?
  5. Level of experience and variation of experiential learning opportunities utilized. How many sections are on the resume and are there other sections that are more valuable than an objective?
  6. Wealth/depth of experience. Essentially, if the candidate has very little work and volunteer experience = use an objective to utilize space more. Lots of experience and volunteer experience = remove objective.
  7. Most objectives are poorly written, not updated, vague, full of pointless information. Don’t use one unless it’s clear, has a purpose and related to the employer/job you are applying to.
  8. Use an objective to outline the purpose for obtaining a part time job and provide availability to assist hiring manager with interviewing candidates that’s schedules align with store needs.
  9. Use a well written objective to hook the employer into reading more and scheduling an interview.

In addition to these opinions, an interesting viewpoint to consider is to google “should you have an objective on your resume”. Google has an answer for you, that is worth reading.  For now I hope this short opinion piece has encouraged you to revisit the concept of an objective.