A few years ago I subscribed to the belief that an objective statement on the résumé was an outdated practice and served no real purpose other than wasting (precious) space. The logic behind that belief was that employers didn’t care about what a job seeker wanted; they only wanted to know what the job seeker could offer them in terms of experience, knowledge and skills.
Well, I have had a significant change of heart since then. I now believe that an objective statement — a well-written one — is an integral part of your résumé and should be included. The objective statement should be given at the top of your résumé and should be just a concise and clear sentence, such as "To find a position in quant finance that leverages my strong background in computational mathematics" or "To find a challenging quant position that puts to work my knowledge of quantitative finance and my interest in delivering profitable solutions."
Why this change of heart? Simple: at every interview where I was the interviewee, I was asked by the interviewer "What do you want?" The question could be alluding to the position at hand, or my long-term career goals, or my idea of an "ideal" job. As an interviewer, I did the same to candidates. I think most interviewers do want to know what you, the candidate, want, because they want to be sure you know what you want. One sure sign of a "loser" is not having a career goal, short-term or long-term.
The interviewer may not be truly interested in your career objectives for their own intrinsic meanings, but he or she does want to know that you have an inkling as to what you want to do. Hiring managers, in particular, are interested in people willing to commit themselves to a career track, rather than just finding a job that "pays well." Including an objective statement on your résumé not only makes it stand out from other résumés, but offers some reassurance to the reader that you know what you want, and what you want is in line with what they’re looking for.
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