Your Resume’s 4 Audiences: Best of reCareered

May 1 2010 in reCareered Blog, Resumes by Phil Rosenberg

Most job seekers write their resume for the hiring manager. That’s it.

Did you realize that your resume has up to 4 audiences, not just one? Miss what’s important to any one of those audiences and you’ll be passed over for interviews and offers.

Here’s how it works:

Audience #1 – The Resume Database, or Applicant Tracking Systems: How can a database be an audience? Simple…large and midsized companies input all resumes into their database, whether sent via email, hand delivered in paper, sent to a company’s website, or sent by a recruiter. Your resume gets sent to the database even if you’ve met the hiring manager, in most cases.

Companies use a resume database to pre-screen and micro-target candidates, to efficiently find resumes with desired skills. Companies also document hiring practices for the EEOC – How can a company discriminate in hiring, when they search ALL resumes, ranking for keywords? This practice drives most candidates nuts, because they don’t understand why, or how to effectively deal with resume databases.

Most companies get hundreds or thousands of resumes for each position posted. Keyword searches pre-screen to the top 2-3%, who move to audience #2. For more ideas of how to get to the top 2-3% more often, see

Audience #2 – The HR Clerk or Recruiter: Let’s say you used Resume Search Optimization, and your resume earns review by humans. Congratulations! Your resume was ranked in the top 2-3% of resumes submitted!

You’ve graduated to the HR clerk/recruiter, who provides a human screening before passing a group of resumes she’s approved to the hiring manager. To keep things efficient, this is usually assigned to a low level clerk, who’s an HR generalist. This person generally does not have experience in the job that she’s reviewing, unless of course the job is in HR. In a recruiting firm, this position is called a Sourcer, and is usually a rookie position used to train noobies.

This HR clerk’s job is to manually review resumes for lots of jobs for the company, and they look at hundreds of resumes each day. After a while they all start to look the same.

The HR Clerk is manually looking for a list of keywords, to see where they appear, and to see if the computer picked applicants that the Hiring Manager will want to see.

The average time spent reviewing a resume is 15 seconds, and it’s usually reviewed on screen, not printed. The successful job seeker grabs the HR clerk’s attention in 15 seconds (See

Audience#3 – The Hiring Manager: The hiring manager gets 10-15 resumes from HR, and usually ranks them mentally. Out of 15 resumes, there are usually 2-3 that the hiring manager is really excited to see. Smart hiring managers schedule these first. But even if you are the first interview, and the favored candidate, had great rapport, the hiring manager still has to interview the rest (EEOC, remember?). To increase your chances to rank near the top, see

Your resume is your first impression to the hiring manager. In addition, your resume can be used to strategically place information that the hiring manager will question – in an interview. Smart job seekers can use this as an opportunity to “bait” the interviewer to ask questions that will demonstrate strengths (see:

Audience #4 – The Hiring Manager’s Boss: The hiring manager’s boss, team, or peers will often be asked to review top candidate resumes, even if they have never interviewed the candidate. This is often used as a “gut check” or to gain buy-in from other stakeholders and typically look for organizational fit. To learn how you can increase your chances to “fit” see

How can you change your resume to address the needs of all 4 audiences?


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Author: Phil Rosenberg

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