Candidates; Do you "KIS" your resume to your "Audience"? | CareerAlley

Failure lies concealed in every success, and success in every failure.” – Eckhart Tolle

Author Byline: Ron Cottick, Author
Author Website:

Candidates; Do you “KIS” your resume to your “Audience”?

I have been around the business of recruiting for a long time. Having worked in both agencies and the corporate recruiting world, in varying capacities, I have seen resumes of many different sorts. The two most common types of resumes are the functional and the chronological, however, there is little commonality between them. More on that later!

Resumes have been very fluid over the years. Candidates put their resume together as best they can. Some get advice from experts in the industry. Some are told that functional resumes are the best, others the chronological is best. For every expert you ask you could almost bet on getting a different answer from each of them. It often would appear that the expert would suggest it be fluffed up here, dressed up there and made prettier to attract the right attention. Who is all the fluff, dress up and pretty for? Did anyone ever think to ask what the audience wants? Doubtful! Your audience, you know, is the Human Resource person who reviews your resume and the Hiring Manager you hope to interview with.

I will not get into philosophy of resume writing here, at least not at this time. What I will address though is the “functional” versus “chronological” resume and two key elements of the resume that are seldom considered when writing it. Those elements are often overlooked or not addressed by professional resume writers. Those two elements are the “KIS” (Keep it Simple) and the “audience”.

Chronological versus Functional:

· Functional, chronological, functional, chronological, that is the question

  • Definition of the chronological resume, simply put;
    • The chronological resume is the one most candidates are familiar with
    • Typically it lists an Objective, Skills Summary, Work History and Education
    • It is laid out with employers, dates, job titles and scope of responsibility/experience for each position held
  • Definition of the functional resume, simply put;
    • The functional resume is one where there would less likely be an Objective, experience would be listed in paragraph format as a Skills Summary and scope of responsibility for positions held would be highlighted in separate paragraph format such as Production Supervision and/or Projection Management
    • Employers would be listed with or without titles at each place of employment and usually not have dates on employment
  • Which one to use
    • There is no absolute right way here but you should have one or the other that is factual, informative and straight to the point
    • Chronological is preferred because more and more employers want to see where you worked, when you worked there (more and more want month and year), and what you did when you were there
    • Chronological does that and I have never seen anyone object to a chronological resume, however, I have seen Hiring Managers request functional resume be replaced with a chronological resume
    • Additionally, I find that chronological resumes lend themselves better to technical positions and Hiring Managers tend to prefer chronological resumes because they can be more fact based and to the point as many technical people are
    • If you are going to use a functional resume I suggest using it for non-technical positions

I have seen resumes in all shapes, sizes and fashion. Many times they are not focused, have too much irrelevant information and say things they should not. They just do not look right for presentation and need working over. In many cases, dramatic working over. Here are some suggestions on the most common elements I have seen that need reworking to create the KIS resume.

Addressing the KIS, targeting your Audience:

· The application that the resume is written in is important in that most resume databases employers use today accept only Word Doc resumes and/or work easier with Word Docs

  • PDF, TEXT and others are generally not as user friendly as the old standby Word Doc, so, KIS that resume as a Word Doc resume
  • Do not use some of the formatted resume templates that are out there for writing resumes because they also can be problematic with some databases; simply type out the resume in a Word Doc format
  • Do not expect someone in Human Resources to try and reformat your resume to fit it into their database if need be, it likely will not happen and if it does, it will not be the first thing they do

· Put “ALL” contact information on the resume and not in a header or footer

  • Many resumes are looked at on a computer screen and no one I know wants to go to print preview to see the contact information; if the resume is not presented in hard copy, this becomes an unfriendly step that does not win friends or influence people

· Do not go outside the box when it comes to resumes with pictures, personal information, fancy resume borders; they do not attract the right kind of attention

  • Although the picture may be pretty and personal information interesting, it is likely that it is not relevant and Hiring Managers really don’t care; they are mostly interested in what you can do for them
  • An exception could be a sales, marketing or some sort of position where a person would have to be in front of others to do business, however, it should not be a qualifier and I would not go there; you can not go wrong by not having it on a resume
  • Fancy resume borders can not address a candidates qualifications for a job and usually come across as unimpressive; would not do this

There is more to the resume that gets the attention of the Hiring Manager than I have brought up here. If the resume is not an easy read and does not get attention early in the read, nothing else will probably matter. Aside from these tips I always suggest you keep in mind your audience and what the position is you are applying for. The resume should speak to both and attempt to sell the Hiring Manager on wanting to set up an interview. If you can not get to the interview you will not be getting anywhere.

I do not want to imply here that the resume should do all the talking but it is the first impression you make and you do want to make the best first impression. You want a resume that is easy to read, understandable and gets the attention you are looking for. That would be the difference between a not so good resume as compared to a focused, targeted and excellent resume. A resume, KIS’d as described above, gives you a much greater chance to get the right kind of attention and move forward to an interview. When you KIS with the resume you can more readily expect to KIS your way to the interview.

Article courtesy of the Recruiting Blogswap, a content exchange service sponsored by, a leading site for college students looking for internships and recent graduates searching for entry level jobs and other career opportunities.

Good luck in your search.

Posted via web from AndyWergedal