According to Indeed, on average hiring managers look at your resume for six seconds. Knowing this it’s important to create a resume that, in six seconds, increases your chances of getting that job interview while at the same time avoiding unconscious gender and other biases that may be present in the hiring manager. While we can’t always control these biases, we can write our resumes in a way that avoids the common mistakes women make that prevent their resumes from ending up at the top of the pile.
Read on for the best way to write a resume to minimize gender and other biases.
Don’t Include a Headshot
That beautiful headshot you have? Leave it out. If you include a photo, it will be the very first thing the hiring manager looks at. Remember that hiring managers are people and we all have unconscious biases such as age, race, ethnicity, gender, and more. Before those biases kick in because of your headshot, let your experience and education be the focus. They can find out what you look like during the interview.
Don’t Include Graduation Dates
By all means, include all your educational achievements relevant to the position you are seeking. But, avoid including your graduation dates as again, age discrimination could come into play here. Things that could immediately be of concern for the hiring manager include your salary expectations (if you’re mid-career), your knowledge of technology, your “culture fit” if the organization skews young, and so on. Don’t give them a chance to pre-judge you. Let them decide during the interview whether or not your education and skills are a fit for the company.
Don’t Undersell Yourself
Many women are afraid they will appear narcissistic, self-serving, arrogant, etc by clearly stating their achievements and success, and there is a real social backlash for women when they come across as overconfident. Remember though, the male applicants for these same positions are most likely selling their achievements and success very clearly, even possibly overselling them. Now is the time to claim your leadership skills, your experience, and your capabilities. Remember too that AI (artificial intelligence) might be scanning your resume before it even reaches a person, and if you are minimizing your accomplishments your resume might not even make it to a person.
Don’t Use Weak Language
Women typically don’t use the same strong language in their resumes as their male peers do use. While men will include words such as “led,” “founded,” “directed,” “executed,” women often use words such as “helped,” “aided,” “assisted,” “was part of a team that,” and so on. This minimized language can make the hiring manager feel as though you aren’t as strong of a candidate as your male peers with the exact same experience and education. Remove these weak statements from your resume, even if it makes you cringe. Use language that creates the perception of strength.
Do Be Concise and Use Formatting to Your Advantage
Those six seconds a hiring manager is scanning your resume? Make sure they can clearly see your skills, education, and experience without having to read a wall of text. Remove unnecessary details and make your resume easy to read with formatting, bullets, and headers. Use blocks of color and vary your font size for emphasis. Also, resist the urge to explain all your prior jobs in excruciating detail. Keep it simple and clear.
Pro tip: You can use a tool like Canva.com to create a beautifully formatted resume with little to no design skills. The free version is good, but the pro version contains access to more options, graphics, and templates you may want to use.
Do Talk About Your Impact
After you’ve removed the weak language and formatted your resume so that it’s easy to read, go back and include data and numbers to showcase the impact you had on the business in your previous jobs. How did you help the business with its goals? You ran an advertising campaign? Great! What was the increase in sales you achieved? You led a team for an important project? What was the impact of that project on the business? Now is the time to align your resume with what hiring managers care about. Results.
Do Tailor Your Resume to the Job You Are Seeking
Many businesses are using AI to scan resumes before they ever reach a person. Make sure to tailor your resume to the job you are seeking by using the same words they use in the posted job description. Both the AI and the hiring manager will perceive you as a better fit if you use the same language they used when they created the description of the position.
Pro tip: Use a tool like Jobscan.co to scan and optimize your resume rather than trying to go it alone.
Selling yourself with confidence and strong language is critical to getting your resume at the top of the stack. Avoid these pitfalls if you want to write your resume in a way that minimizes gender and other biases.
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