Here are some of my thoughts:
1. Recruiters/Hiring Managers do not always have the time to review your cover letter. They are under the gun to find good candidates. Or someone left and the void needs to be filled immediately. The objective is what many recruiters look at to see where you are heading and what type of job interests you. This way they are able to make a better match and both you and the hiring manager are on the same page.
Some say they do not think the objective is needed because they are looking for what the manager wants but if it does not match what you both want it could end up being a disaster.
2. You can always change your objective to very specific for a certain position you are applying to or more general for job board postings.
3. To me it is the starting point of your resume and everything should fall in place from the objective. It is like the led in line for a short story … the hook that draws you in.
Really it is an individual choice and if you choose not to have an objective it is not the end of the world but having been on the other side as an HR Manager and Recruiter it was helpful to me.
Please feel free to leave comments … would love to see your thoughts on the subject!