How To Write a Resume Objective For a Career Change

Not sure if an objective still belongs on your resume? Here’s how to write an effective resume objective in 2023, with specific advice for career changers.

10 days ago   •   5 min read

By Resume Worded Editorial Team
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Job hunting is never easy, but it’s even harder when you’re changing careers. That’s where a resume objective comes in — it’s a quick, easy way to contextualize your past experience, signal your intent to change careers, and highlight any relevant experience or transferable skills.

If your first question is, “aren’t resume objectives outdated?” then the answer is, they don’t have to be. Here’s how to write a modern, recruiter-friendly resume objective, with specific advice for people aiming to change careers in 2023.

How to write a career change resume objective

  1. Put your resume objective at the top of your resume, just below your contact information.
  2. (Optional) Create a section title like ‘Objective’ or ‘Summary.’
  3. Include the title of the job you’re applying for and the name of the company.
  4. Mention any relevant skills or experience you can bring to the role.
  5. Include any particularly impressive accomplishments you want to highlight.
  6. Keep it brief — a resume objective can take up as little as a single line.
  7. Check whether you’ve hit the mark with our free Targeted Resume tool.

Keep scrolling for more details about what your resume objective should (and shouldn’t) include, tips for making a career change, and examples you can follow.

Do’s and don’ts of writing a resume objective

Writing a resume objective for a career change? Let’s start by taking a look at what to do — and what not to do.

Don’t: Write a traditional resume objective

First, let’s address the elephant in the room: Traditional resume objectives are outdated. There are a lot of reasons why, but they basically boil down to the fact that hiring managers want to know what you can do for them, and resume objectives typically focus on what a company can do for you.

Here’s an example of a fairly typical resume objective that recruiters don’t want to see:

Objective: To use my excellent people skills to obtain a position that will allow me to grow professionally and reach my fullest potential.

Recruiters don’t care about what you want, so don’t focus on that. You should also avoid buzzwords and vague, long-term career aspirations.

Now, let’s examine what you should do instead.

Do: Be concise and specific

Just because most resume objectives are terrible, that doesn’t mean you need to avoid them entirely. A resume objective can still be effective, especially if you’re changing careers.

A good resume objective should focus on your specific, short-term professional goals. It should include:

  • The specific position and company you’re applying for
  • The key skills or experience you will bring to the role

That’s it! There’s no need to dive into who you are as a person, why you need a job right now, or what you want out of life.

Here’s an example of a brief but effective resume objective:

Objective: To become a sales representative at Elite Motors.

If you want to use your resume objective to highlight transferable skills, you can add more to it — but not too much. For example:

Objective: To bring my 5 years of experience in project management to the operations manager role at West Coast Pipeline.

The key is to focus on what rather than why — what job you’re seeking, what company you’re applying at, what you can bring to the table.

Do: Include a summary of your key qualifications

Another way to approach a resume objective is to write it as more of a summary. This should still go at the top of your resume but can be titled ‘summary’ rather than ‘objective’ if you want to keep things fresh.

A summary-style resume objective should:

  • Briefly outline your past experience
  • State any new or relevant qualifications
  • Highlight a few transferable skills or notable accomplishments

Here’s a basic resume summary format you can adapt to fit your own situation:

Ex-[Current Job Title] transitioning into an [Future Job Title] role after [completing X relevant certification] and [relevant accomplishment]. Diverse experience [doing X transferrable skill in new job], [Y transferable skill in new job] and [Z transferable skill in new job]. Over 5 years of experience managing global teams of 5-20 people and working with C-Suite executives. [Describe one significant accomplishment in the format of Action Verb + Accomplishment + Metric].

To be effective, your resume objective needs to highlight relevant experience, quantifiable achievements, and transferable skills. To find out if your resume does just that, upload it to the tool below — it’ll give you a detailed analysis of your career change resume objective and suggestions for improvements.

The benefits of including a resume objective when changing careers

Wondering why you should bother including a resume objective? Here are a few good reasons.

Replace (or accompany) a cover letter

Not all positions ask for (or require) a cover letter. Even if you did write one, including a quick line at the top of your resume clearly stating the role you’re applying for can help ensure that your resume ends up in the right place.

Quickly outline your key skills and experience

Recruiters tend to briefly skim resumes rather than carefully reading each section. That means that you’ll want to put the most important information at the top of your resume where it’s more likely to stand out. Use your resume objective to pull out a few key accomplishments from your resume that you don’t want the hiring manager to miss.

Confirm that you’re deliberately aiming for a career change

If you’re changing careers, sometimes the first hurdle can be explaining that, yes, you do want this job as a software developer, and no, you didn’t accidentally click on ‘apply’ when you meant to look for a job more in line with your digital art background. Even a one-line resume objective can help with this — putting the title of the job you’re applying for in your objective can help your resume get past Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) and signal a deliberate intent to change careers.

Examples of resume objectives for a career change

Ready to start writing your own resume objective? Here are some resume objective examples that are perfect for your next career change.

To become a graphic designer at Kool Grafix, Inc.

A resume objective doesn’t need to be complicated. A single line explaining what role you’re applying for can be enough to bypass ATS and indicate your intent to a hiring manager.

To bring my two years of volunteer experience to the events coordinator role at Inner City Events.

When changing careers, it can be useful to highlight any similar experience or transferable skills upfront with a resume objective.

Ex-Sales Associate transitioning into an Administrative Assistant role. Diverse experience resolving customer inquiries, opening accounts and managing schedules. Over 3 years of experience managing teams of 5-15 people. Exceeded sales target by 95% in 2022, winning the Business Store Award.

A longer summary-style resume objective is ideal for career changers who want a little more space to contextualize past experience and highlight any standout accomplishments.

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