Resume Objective for a College Student

It’s time to ditch resume objectives—here’s what to do instead to make your resume stand out.

Resume Objective for a College Student

Learn to write a resume objective for a college student.

Jobs for college students are some of the most sought-after positions in the workforce. To help your application stand out from the crowd, you’ll need to put together a solid resume that showcases your unique skills and accomplishments. One section you might want to leave off? Your resume objective—a short, pointed statement about the value you can bring to a job.

Resume objectives used to be very popular, and for good reason: A well-written resume objective helps clarify your skills and goals for a hiring manager. It focuses on exactly what your skills and experiences are and how they will benefit the company. But these days, objectives are about as dated as submitting your application via mail. Find out why resume objectives are a thing of the past and why you should replace yours with a personal summary.

Why Were Resume Objectives Popular?

When you're a college student, it's likely that you don't have much professional experience in the field you're interested in, but a college student resume objective helped to show that you still have the skills needed to perform the job.

Resume objectives were all the rage for decades because they were typically tailored to the skills and requirements of each specific job—using a standard objective statement for every resume you sent out could look amateurish. Before writing a resume objective, applicants would check out the job description to get clues on what a company was looking for in an employee. The perfect objective targeted the job and the company you wanted to work for. Tailoring an objective would help hiring managers see you as more than just your job history (or lack thereof).

Keep this advice about tailoring in mind—it’s definitely still applicable to the personal summaries of today’s resumes.

What Are Good College Student Resume Objectives?

If a company specifies that they want you to include an objective, it’s important to know how to write a good one. A good college student resume objective focuses on the benefits you bring to the company. In addition, it should target both the job and the company itself. The perfect objective should be no longer than a sentence or two, at most. Keep it short and sweet, while keeping it relevant. Check out these examples:

  • To use my attention to detail and extensive experience with Excel, NetSuite, and QuickBooks to maintain the accounts for Rock Creative, helping to increase revenue and decrease expenditures.

This objective statement shows that you have experience in the specific programs an accountant within this company would use. It targets the company and the specific job itself. On top of this, it shows that you understand the role of an accountant is not only to put in the numbers, but to help the overall money management of the company.

  • Hardworking business management student with proven organizational, interpersonal communication, and leadership skills seeks to help improve the team relations and solve problems relating to customer service for Company X.

If you don't have much work experience, you can use an objective similar to the one above to show that you understand the requirements of a customer service manager.

Swap Your Resume Objective for a Personal Summary

Resume objectives had a time and place, but most hiring managers now prefer career summaries. A personal summary, also known as a career summary or a professional summary, serves a similar purpose as a resume objective: It introduces you to the hiring manager.

So, what’s the difference between a resume objective and a career summary? A resume summary provides a dense, rich overview of what you bring to the table, while a resume objective is leaner and focuses on your personal career goals. Generally, hiring managers are more interested in what you can do for them than in what they can do for you.

A well-written personal summary is engaging and leaves hiring managers wanting to read on. It’s also a good way to weed out candidates who don’t have the necessary skillset, saving hiring managers a lot of time and energy when they’re poring over 105 applications for a single position.

How to Turn Your Resume Objective Into a Personal Summary

Don’t backspace your resume objective out of existence just yet. It’s easy to turn it into a more substantial resume summary statement that will impress hiring managers and help you to land your first job out of college.

Let’s take one of the previous college grad resume objectives:

  • To use my attention to detail and extensive experience with Excel, NetSuite, and QuickBooks to maintain the accounts for Rock Creative, helping to increase revenue and decrease expenditures.

Add a bit of detail and color to transform it into a personal summary:

  • Detail-oriented and numbers-driven accountant with expertise in asset, liability, and capital accounts; P&Ls and balance sheets; and data analysis and modeling. Extensive experience with Excel, NetSuite, and QuckBooks. Strategic thinker who proposes data-driven solutions to financial challenges, increasing revenue and decreasing expenditures for mid- to large-sized companies.

Write Your Own Resume Summary

Just graduated? Impress potential employers by submitting an impressive resume. Monster can walk you through the whole process: We’ll help you to translate the skills you’re gained from extracurricular activities, part-time jobs, and internships into a top-notch resume summary statement for college students. Check out Monster’s grad site to get started.