Everyone likes to have a special something that makes their resume more noticeable.
Unfortunately, job seekers sometimes feel they need to be deceptive with the information on their resumes in order not to be passed over. We all are familiar with stories of senior job seekers removing years of work experience from their resumes, or even hiding the year they graduated from college.
Of course, ageism is only one of many forms of discrimination. Job seekers also worry they will be overlooked because of gender, race or even religion.
Studies have shown intense biases towards women as job applicants. In one study from PNAS and Yale, scientists were asked to rate applicants for a lab manager position based on competence, hireability, and mentoring (whether the scientist would take on the lab manager for mentoring). Resumes with identical qualifications were submitted, but with either a male or a female name attached.
The results: The male candidate scored higher in all three categories. It only gets worse from there. When asked about what starting salary they would recommend, the suggested salary for the male applicants was nearly $4,000 greater than that of the female.
A few weeks ago, a post on BuzzFeed surfaced claiming that a job seeker named José sent out numerous job applications, however, he never received any responses until he changed the name on his resume to Joe.
An ABC News report from last year shared a similar story, where a man named Kim never landed an interview until he added Mr. to his resume.
While there are clear biases taking place in the hiring world, there isn’t much you can do in order to eliminate them from recruiters’ minds. So the best you can do is be yourself. No one will ever suggest lying on your resume to land an interview. That can only come back to bite you when you show up to the interview.
Can you doctor the information on your resume? Yes and no. Certainly, you shouldn’t lie. For example, if you are concerned with age being a factor on your resume, remember that it is generally acceptable to only include the most recent 10-15 years of work experience. If you choose to also hide your graduation date, that is a personal decision, however, be sure that you are consistent on both your resume as well as social media profiles.
If you feel that your resume is being unfairly rejected because of things you can’t change, your best strategy is to leverage your network for references. In most situations, a recommendation from a current employee has a better chance of getting you the attention you deserve.