Resume Tip: The Objective Statement

Career tips for students in the Humanities and Social Sciences

By Beverly Ververs

Many of the majors that fall into the humanities and social sciences are not what we would call "career specific," that is, the majors do not prepare the student to enter one particular occupation or field. The skills and knowledge acquired are relevant to a wide array of entry level fields. 

Examples of more career-specific majors are accounting, respiratory therapy, computer programming, etc.

In my experience, I have never had an employer call me and say, "I need an anthropology major or philosophy major or sociology major right away."  What the employer may need, but does not really know how to put it into words, are the "transferable" skill sets that humanities and social science majors possess.

Why your resume needs an "Objective"
This is where the Objective fits into the resume.

When I graduated, fresh with a BA in sociology, my job (besides looking for employment) was to educate the employer about the what kind of work I was seeking; what type of job I was looking for; what skills I had to offer; and what I could contribute to the organization.

Because I did not train for a particular occupation, the employer needed some assistance to see how they could use my abilities and skill sets. I needed to help them understand why my background was relevant to the position(s) he was trying to fill.

"Objective" example
An example of an objective statement is: "To obtain a social service position where I can utilize my customer service skills, bilingual ability and organizational skills."

The remainder of the resume should indicate, either by relevant courses taken or through work experience, where the related skills and abilities were acquired. 

What are these mysterious "transferable skills"?  Take a look at my next career tip for the answer.