Your Personal Details Can Paint a Picture
Every detail on your resume can have hidden meaning. Common career advice includes using a local address if you're applying from out of town and to keep mentions of your kids off your resume and cover letter. But those details are really just starting points.
Consider the assumptions that these details can prompt:
- An address that is in a poorer part of town can imply that a candidate hasn't done well at past jobs. Depending on the city, an address can also imply ethnicity or marital status—a home out in the 'burbs, after all, is more likely to be a priority for parents.
- Membership in certain volunteer organizations can hint at religious affiliation.
- Even vocabulary or jargon can say a lot about a candidate's background, up to and including dating when they joined the industry. Given the bias that many tech companies have against older workers, checking even that level of detail can be necessary.
The typical hiring process in the tech industry makes these biases have an even heavier impact on who is chosen for a position than might otherwise be the case. Companies like Google see as many as 50,000 resumes in a single week. In those sorts of cases, the hiring managers reviewing resumes are actively looking for reasons to remove candidates from the running—even if a particular applicant is great, the odds are good that the people still under consideration will be good as well.
At smaller companies, job applicants face better odds, but the high salaries and impressive perks that are associated with joining a startup (or even some of the older tech companies) mean that most job applicants will likely face some competition, even despite the shortage of experienced STEM workers facing U.S. companies.