We all know women hold just a fraction of technical jobs. While it’s understood the ‘brogrammer’ culture and unconscious bias are sources of the gender gap in technology, Kieran Snyder, CEO of Textio, went further to assess if CV style contributed. She did the research after looking over a female friend’s resume which was impressive – but still failed to make her want to hire her. After subjecting over 1000 CV’s, from technologists at various stages of their careers into text analysis, she found statistical difference between the genders.
As detailed in her commentary for Fortune women led with their credentials and include more personal background, such as professional prizes, awards and academic distinctions, and they were more likely to detail their entire career – rather than just the last few jobs. Both men and women were equally likely to include information on ‘other interests’ – but again women’s extended to 3 versus one line favoured by men.
Women’s CV’s were also twice as long as men’s, averaging 717 words to his 414 words. Women were also more likely to include a summary and much less likely to use a specific, verb-heavy bullet list to summarise past roles. The problem is that men’s preferred writing style is obviously preferred by the men hiring people in such a male dominated industry. As explained in Quartz this approach fits better with Google hiring chief Laszlo Bock’s favourite piece of resume advice….to describe all wins by ‘accomplished X by doing Y as measured by Z’
Fortunately, Snyder didn’t use this as an opportunity to suggest women write more like men in order to get noticed, but called on employers to value the difference. She said ‘The men and women in this study have similar backgrounds. The resume gap reflects differences in how they present themselves, not in their experience or credentials. The women tend to tell their stories in summary, while the men let the facts speak for themselves. Both resume styles reflect skill sets that teams need. If you want to ship products, you need people who focus on the precise execution of concrete goals. But if you want to ship products that people will buy, you also need people who turn a varied set of features into a cohesive user narrative. Here’s the problem, though: The tech industry, which is not coincidentally heavily male-dominated, is far more equipped to appreciate precise execution. This is not because it is the only valuable skill set, but because it is easier to quantify and more well-understood.’