How to Focus Your Resume

We keep hearing how important it is to have a ‘focused resume’, and that generic or unfocused resumes do not make it past the initial screening. But how do you actually focus a resume?

An employer or hiring manager wants to quickly see if an applicant for a job meets the key requirements necessary to do the job. This means that your resume must be focused on showing that you meet these “key requirements”.

To do this, you must firstly do some research to identify the “key requirements” for the job or jobs you are targeting. What qualifications, skills, and experience are required to be able to do this job well? These are what an employer will look for in a candidate, and these are what provide focus to your resume.

Identifying the “key requirements” for your job target is the single most important task in the whole job search process. This can’t be overstated – they are what provide the focus for a resume, and they also what an interview is about (in an interview, an employer wants to know can this person do the job? The way they find out is asking about the key requirements). Spending time on identifying these pays huge dividends in the job search process.

There are a couple of ways of going about this research, and ideally you should do more than one!

Do a Google or LinkedIn search for previous job advertisements for the role – if you can’t find current ones, you will probably still find historical advertisements going back a year or two and these are fine. Aim for at least four of them. What do these advertisements list as the requirements for the job?

You could also look at a labour / jobs database such as O*Net at:

When you have found a number of advertisements (and possibly information from O*Net), you will have a long list of requirements – compile them into one file. Then look for the items that were common to all the advertisements – these are most likely ‘key requirements’ as a number of employers list them as a requirement. From your own knowledge and experience, what you think are the most important requirements (in terms of qualifications, skills, and experience) to be able do this job well? You should aim to have a concise list of 6 to 8 key requirements.

Additionally (or alternatively!), you could talk to a few people already doing this job – if you don’t already know anybody who is in this type of job, you could search for them on LinkedIn or Google – or maybe there is a professional body that you and/or they are members of. Ask them what they think are the “key” requirements to do this job well.

When you have the list of “key requirements” for your target job in terms of qualifications, skills, and experience, you need to match yourself against these. Describe the way that you possess these qualifications, skills, and experience, and place them in your summary or profile, as well as in your list of skills.

A hiring manager or employer will then be able to clearly see that you meet the requirements for the job because your resume is now focused!

The Single Most Important Task in Your Job Search

You need to show that you meet the requirement of the job
You need to show that you meet the requirements of the job

Career advisors are often asked what is the single most important task in the job search process. The answer is undoubtedly the identification of the key requirements for the targeted job.

There is an assumption underlying this statement which is that a resume is to be specifically targeted at one particular job and not used ‘generically’ for a wide range of job applications. However, the identification of the key requirements for a particular job is not only to be used for focusing a resume, but it is also of the utmost importance in preparing for interview too, as we shall see.

Firstly, let us consider the importance of the key requirements when crafting a new resume. All career advisors agree that one must have a very focused resume to get called for interview for one’s targeted job. So how do you focus a resume?

To get called for an interview, the applicant or candidate needs to specifically demonstrate in their resume that they meet all or most of the selection criteria for the particular job. The selection criteria roughly equates to the main or ‘key’ requirements to perform in the job reasonably well. These ‘key’ requirements will be a mixture of skills, qualifications and experience.

The task of identifying the ‘key’ requirements is easier for a publicly advertised position because the ad usually lists both the responsibilities of the job and the main requirements needed to do it well. However, it is wise to check that the advertised requirements is complete by doing some research – see below.

When a position comes from the “hidden” job market – that is, through networking where candidates hear about the job through ‘word of mouth’, there usually isn’t a job description or person specification to go with it. In such cases, the job applicant has to do some research themselves. To start, search the internet for previous advertisements of the same or similar roles – what requirements were listed for these? Then talk to people who are already doing that job – or to their immediate supervisor. Ask for their opinion on what the key requirements for the job are. Thirdly, you could also search an occupational database such as O*Net ( that will provide data on the tasks, responsibilities and requirements for a huge range of jobs.

The above research will uncover quite a lot of information and you will need to distill this down to a manageable number. As you need to demonstrate in your resume that you match the requirements of the job, you need to identify and determine just the 6 to 8 “key” requirements for the specific position. Print off this list and have it in front of you as you write your resume. The Summary or Profile and the Key Skills sections of your resume need to reflect these 6 to 8 “key” requirements. In wondering what to include and what to leave out – if something is relevant to the key requirements it should be included, if not, leave it out. In this way your resume will have greater impact as it is focused on showing that you meet the main requirements for the job. And because it does, you will be called for interview.

As stated above, knowing the 6 to 8 “key” requirements for the position also guides your preparation for the interview. As you prepare answers to commonly asked questions, the answers should be focused on demonstrating how you meet the requirements. After all, from the interviewer’s perspective, the interview is about discovering if you can do the job and showing that you meet the requirements meets this objective.

Therefore, for these reasons, identifying the 6 to 8 “key” requirements for the job is the single most important task in the job search process.

How to Identify Your Skills and Strengths

Identify Your Skills and Strengths

To properly prepare for a job interview or to craft a more impactful résumé, at some point you need to identify your skills and strengths. As in previous articles, a ‘strength’ is a skill that you are both good at and enjoy doing. Everybody has skills they are good at but don’t really like doing, so it is better to focus on those that you do enjoy – work using your strengths leads to job satisfaction, fulfilment, and happiness at work.

So, how should you go about compiling your skills and strengths? Firstly, look at your current job – what skills do you use everyday, regularly, and infrequently? Open a file on your computer and start listing these skills. You need to reflect on your job – on what you actually do to meet your objectives. As you list your skills, make a separate list of those you are good at and those you enjoy doing – i.e. your strengths.

Then examine what you did in your previous job and list the skills you used for that. There is no need to repeat any skills you have already listed. You will probably find that there is a large overlap between the skills you use in your current position and those you used in your last job, but make sure to identify those that you no longer use.

Move on to the next job, and then the next, and so on until you have listed all the skills you have used in every position you have held to-date. Depending on your age and experience, identifying and listing your skills can be a tedious task, so perhaps do it over a few days. Doing it this way will not only prevent becoming overwhelmed by the task, but will also result in a more complete list of your skills as your subconscious mind will still be working on identifying your skills even when you are not consciously doing so!

When you have listed all of the skills you have used in your work, both current and past, write a list of all the achievements you are proud of in your life. These achievements will be from both your work life and non-work life, and may include events such as getting a degree, getting married, becoming captain of a sports team, etc. When you have listed the achievements you are proud of, ask yourself what these say about you. For example, getting a degree might say you are studious and disciplined, while passing your driving test at the sixth attempt might say you are determined, motivated and resilient. Then identify the skills you used in these achievements. Since you are proud of these achievements, you most likely used skills you are both good at and enjoy doing – i.e. strengths.

The next step is to identify skills you use outside of work – these are important too. For each of your leisure activities and hobbies, list the skills you use in each. If you are in a leadership position related to any of these, note the skills associated with that role. Some people realise that they have finance ‘strengths’ they use as treasurer of a club, or organising skills they use as secretary of a group. Others identify counselling related skills from voluntary work they do with their faith group or from their involvement in a local youth club or elderly befriending group. List all these skills as some will be strengths and many may well be transferrable skills that an employer might be interested in.

This exercise of identifying your skills and strengths may be a tedious task, but it is also very revealing about yourself. Most people are not aware of all the skills they possess, nor of their strengths, and the process of identifying them is great for their self-esteem. One of the rewards of completing this task is that you will feel better about yourself afterwards. You will also have a realistic list of your skills for updating your résumé, and won’t have to think too hard when you are asked to discuss your strengths at an interview.

What to Write in a Cover Letter

A cover letter or cover e-mail should entice the recipient to read the attached resume

A commonly asked question of career coaches and counsellors is what to write in a cover letter or cover e-mail. [For simplicity, I’ll just use the phrase ‘cover letter’ to refer to both the written letter form and a cover e-mail.] Some people struggle about what to write and reduce the impact of their resume by sending it with a poor cover letter.

First, let us look at the purpose of a cover letter. It is intended to get the recipient to read the enclosed or attached resume – as such it is the first step in attaining a job in the job search process (the purpose of a resume is to get an interview, and the purpose of the interview is for you to show how you match the requirements for the job and thus secure it). Given its purpose then, a cover letter should entice the reader to pay great attention to the attached resume.

The following format is one you can use to persuade the recipient to just that:

Firstly, the cover letter should be addressed to a specific person in the company, preferably the appropriate hiring manager, but if you can’t find out who that is, then the HR manager in charge of recruitment. This is more personal than a “Dear Sir / Madam” and is more likely to be favourably read. If also makes it easier to follow up later. Of course, this involves a little research and sometimes a little detective work to find the name of the appropriate person, but doing so is well worth the effort.

The letter or e-mail should start by stating the specific position you are applying for and mention where you saw the job advertised. If a particular person told you about the vacancy and especially if that person works in the company, mention who ‘recommended’ that you apply. Similarly, even if the person who told you is from outside of the company but it might still be valuable or worthwhile to mention their name and/or position, make sure to do so.

The next paragraph should briefly indicate how you meet the requirements for the job applied for, and this should be done in such a way that the reader will want to see more and will therefore read the resume as well. This is the most important part of the cover letter and you must spend some time on getting the balance right between showing that you are the person for the job and becoming too long-winded! Being concise is what is required here.

You can either continue in the same paragraph or start a new one if the previous one was in any way long, by highlighting some key or relevant positions you have held. For the positions mentioned, you should select one or two very relevant responsibilities and achievements – very relevant here means that they are specifically related to one or more of the key requirements for the job. Again, you need to be very brief and concise.

To finalise, you should tell the reader how to best contact you and when.

The cover letter (or e-mail) should be no longer than one page in length – if it is longer, you need to edit it. An overly long letter or e-mail won’t be read.

The Reality about Resume Length

A resume needs to cater for the personality type of all hiring managers

The Debate

There is a forever ongoing debate about whether a resume should be just one page or as many pages as it takes to demonstrate a person’s candidacy for a position. The reality is that both opinions are correct – the truth is in the eye of the beholder!

It is the preference of individual hiring managers that matters, and if you ask a group of them, some will say they prefer a one page resume while others will say they want to see a lot more detail. This is down to their ‘personality type’ and in particular, how they prefer to take in or perceive information.

The Theory

You probably have heard of Jung’s theory of personality that is the basis for the Myer Briggs Type Indicator (the MBTI). According to the theory, some people like to take in information through their senses – they like facts, figures and details. They are practical and realistic, and need the detail of a situation before they can see the ‘big picture’. These are called “Sensing” types. In the MBTI four letter designation, these are an “S”.

The opposite preference to Sensing types are people who take in information through “Intuition” or an almost “sixth sense”. In the MBTI four letter designation, these are an “N”. They are future-focused and see possibilities, and prefer to see the ‘big picture’ first, before being able to focus on the detail and facts of a situation.

The Implications

It is safe to assume that approximately half of all hiring managers will be an MBTI “Sensing” preference, and the other half will have an “Intuition” preference. So what are the implications of this information and how should resumes be constructed to meet the preferences of both types of hiring managers? The Sensing types will want to see the details, so they will be interesting in the list of positions you’ve held, the responsibilities involved, and what you achieved in each position. The Intuitive types will want a ‘snapshot’ of where you’ve been, what you have done, and what you can probably do for them. Once the Intuitive has grasped the ‘big picture’ about you, and if interested in what they see, then and only then will they want to see the detail.

Now you can see why the debate about a one page resume or a multiple page detailed one is a forever ongoing one, because both positions are correct depending on the personality type of those discussing the matter. So a resume needs to provide a brief, concise snapshot, followed by the detail. Hence the importance of the first half of the first page of a resume – this should provide the overview of your career and what your strengths are, but focused on a particular job so that the hiring manager reading it can quickly determine if you are what they are looking for. This satisfies the preference of the Intuitive types.

To satisfy the preference of the Sensing type of hiring manager, your resume then needs to provide the detail of what was briefly mentioned in the ‘snapshot’ – the responsibilities and associated achievements of each position held. Again though, these need to be focused on the requirements of a particular job.

How to Focus Your Resume

A resume must be focused to get past the gatekeepers

How do I focus my resume?” is one of the main questions that career coaches get asked. Most job seekers have already heard that they must have a focused resume to get past either the software or human gatekeeper – an ATS (Applicant Tracking System) or the person tasked with screening the resumes received. What these ‘gatekeepers’ are looking for is that applicants meet most of the requirements to do the job – these will also probably be the selection criteria used at interview.

So here are some ways that you can ensure that your resume is focused on the requirements of the job.

Firstly and most importantly, read the advertisement for the position you are applying for. This will contain a job description and a section usually called ‘Required’. The ‘required’ section may be divided into ‘essential’ and ‘desirable’ qualities. You need to go through that job description and required qualities and mark or highlight all the keywords used. In particular, you are looking for the keywords used to describe skills, experience and education or qualifications. You should also do this for the desirable qualities.

Type this list of keywords and keep it in front of you. These keywords must appear in your resume for it to be ‘focused’ and to get passed the gatekeeper.

Determine the more important keywords and use these in your profile / summary and in your key strengths sections. If possible, use some of the other keywords here too. When writing your experience section, use as many of the keywords as you can when describing your responsibilities. If an educational or other qualification is required, make sure you list that too. Your aim is to show that you meet at least 80% of the requirements – less than that and you probably won’t be called for interview – more than 80% almost guarantees that you will.

But what if the job wasn’t officially advertised and there isn’t a job description with requirements? This can happen when you hear about a job through networking – somebody tells you about a vacant position and asks you to send in your resume to the hiring manager. Don’t worry – you still have a couple of options.

The US Department of Labour (Labor) maintains a huge database of jobs that includes the requirements for each job. This database can be freely accessed at – just type in the job title and you will have a [usually] long list of job requirements. You will need to do some guesswork here and reduce this list to a manageable number of key requirements to work with to focus your resume.

Another option is to use the job title in a Google search and look for previous advertisements for similar jobs. You can also do this in a LinkedIn search. Use a few previous advertisements and see which are the common requirements mentioned in each. These are likely to be the key requirements for the job you are targeting too, and the keywords you need to use in your resume.

You could also use LinkedIn search to identify specific people in a similar role – you might even be lucky enough to find the previous holder of the position you are going to apply for! Look at their profiles and again note the similarities in their skills (especially the ones they have listed as key skills), experience and education / qualifications. Again, these are likely to be the key requirements for those positions that must be used as keywords to focus your resume.

Focusing your resume in this way with keywords that reflect the key requirements of your targeted job should ensure that you get more interviews.

How to be an ideal candidate for the job

An ideal candidate is an informed candidate

One of the more annoying aspects of the recruitment process for hiring managers are uninformed candidates. This manifests itself in generic resumes been received which are a complete waste of time for busy managers – they spend less than thirty seconds on them before they are thrown into the garbage bin.

Another manifestation of uninformed candidates are those who get invited to interview because their resume was somewhat focused and relevant, but turn out not to know much, if anything, about the company, its structure, its vision and plans, etc. Worse still are those candidates with completely unrealistic expectations of salary, benefits and working conditions. These candidates didn’t do their research and come to the interview uninformed. The majority of hiring managers admit that they will not consider an uninformed candidate even when their qualifications are a match for the job.

So what, you might ask, is an ideal candidate? From what I’ve written above you can already guess that an ideal is an informed candidate – but informed in what way?

Firstly, an ideal candidate’s cover letter will be addressed to the correct person and will briefly and concisely explain how the applicant meets the requirements of the job (which mostly will form the selection criteria for the job). Hiring managers love such cover letters because this entices them to read the attached resume – where the second mark of an ideal candidate should be.

A resume must be focused on the requirements of the job (or the selection criteria if you can discover them – try asking HR for them!). Anything that is not focused on these requirements is fluff and irrelevant. The resume of an ideal candidate will demonstrate how they match against the requirements of the job in terms of experience, skills / competencies and qualifications. For each such resume, the hiring manager will say: “Great! Let’s have a chat with this one.” They know that such a candidate has done their research and is informed.

The third mark of an ideal candidate is that, at interview, they can relate their skills and experience to the requirements of the job, and do so in such a way that they provide appropriate examples of using those skills. Being able to do this is especially important for competency-based or behaviour-based interviews which are becoming more common. Furthermore, the ideal candidate will ask pertinent questions and exhibit knowledge of the company’s culture, values and public strategy while they talk. In short, they demonstrate that they are informed during the interview.

Hiring managers’ view informed candidates as being more reliable and more likely to stay with the company because they know about it from their research. Informed candidates are also seen to be more likely to settle into the job quicker and be productive because they know about the actual job.

So demonstrate that you are informed about the company, the job and its key requirements. You will then be seen by hiring managers as an “ideal” candidate.

Why your resume might be ignored

Unfocused resumes go into the bin

One of the main complaints from job hunters is that they send out dozens and dozens of resumes, but rarely hear anything back! Does that sound familiar? Perhaps you too have sent out lots of resumes and applications, but are not called for interview. That is not only frustrating for job hunters, but demoralising too.

Having spent a lot of time and effort in preparing a resume that you think is great – and sometimes spending money on resume writers – nothing happens when you e-mail or post it to a company for a job you want. But there is a reason this happens – you are sending out a generic resume!

When most people have finished all the ’donkey work’ in preparing and crafting their resume, not only are they relieved that they have finally ‘completed’ it, but they believe that they can send it out for any job they are interested in. Most people don’t realise that when they have ‘finalised’ their resume, what they have is merely a “master copy” – at this stage, at best, it is a generic resume. At this stage, the resume is about themselves. To get noticed, a resume must be about the company you are targeting for that particular job and that job itself!

Understanding what happens when a person submits a resume or job application will help clarify the situation. When a job is advertised, it states most or all of the responsibilities of that job and also states some of the requirements for the job. Even when a person ‘hears’ about a job from their network or networking, usually also mentioned is certain skills that are required to do it. Sending a ‘generic’ or ‘master copy’ version of their resume doesn’t demonstrate that they will be able to do that job well – it merely tells the story of that persons work life up until that point of time.

To be noticed, a resume should show how the applicant fits the job specification and the requirements for the job – sometimes called the ‘person specification’. Unless it does this, it gets rejected because it is a generic resume. It does not get past the gatekeeper.

The gatekeeper can either be a computer software application or a human person. Either way, they are both scanning the resume for key words – words that relate to the requirements for the job. If they are not there, the resume gets rejected. When a human person is scanning resumes, usually they only spend about 30 seconds doing so – a software application does this in even less time! So if a person’s resume is not focused on the specific job in a particular company, it is a generic resume and is not going to get past the gatekeeper.

Furthermore, even if it is read, a generic or unfocused resume indicates to the hiring manager that the applicant didn’t do their homework – they didn’t research the company or the actual job. This is a glaring admission that they are ‘uniformed’, and all hiring managers admit that they won’t hire an uniformed candidate.

So people need to stop sending out the same resume for different jobs – it is a waste of time and effort because it is not focused – it is generic. And generic resumes get rejected!

The Need to Focus Your Résumé

Resumes need to be focused

People spend a lot of time and effort in crafting their résumé. The general thinking is that the more effort they put in, the better the résumé will be (provided they know what they are doing and adhere to the basic principles). However, this should not be the end product they send out when applying for jobs – at this stage it is but a generic résumé. Using this to apply for jobs will have a very low success rate

To understand why such a generic resume might have such a low success rate, you need to understand what happens to a résumé when it is received. Whether it is in an online application or a hard-copy sent through the post, each résumé is screened by a ‘gatekeeper’. This gatekeeper can be either a software package for online résumés, or a human being sorting through the hard copies. The software package version searches for specific keywords – usually these are to be found in the requirements for the position, or more specifically, where given, in the selection criteria. The human version is basically the same process usually performed by a junior employee from the HR department or the hiring manager’s office, and this person is told to screen by a given set of criteria. It is reported that this process takes less than 30 seconds per résumé.

To be successful, a résumé must help and facilitate this process.

So, avoid sending out a doomed generic résumé. Rather, you should look at your completed generic résumé as a ‘master copy’ – this ‘master copy’ forms the basis of a focused version but needs to be specifically aimed at the particular job being applied for. Find out the specific requirements for the job – even for the same type of job, these requirements will probably differ in some ways from company to company. Your ‘focused’ résumé must show how you match these requirements.

To take it a step further, focus your resume on the selection criteria for the position. Even where these are not supplied (you can try asking the HR department for them – there is nothing to be lost by asking!), you can spend some time in creating what they might be. Review the job description and job requirements – what skills are required? What type of attitude is required for the job? What knowledge or qualifications are needed to do that job? In short, what type of person is needed to do this job? The answers to these questions will provide the selection criteria.

The generic version of your résumé is not focused on these requirements or selection criteria – that is why it would probably end up in the trash can or recycle bin. To have a better chance of success, for each separate job you apply for, and for the same type of job but in different companies, spend time focusing your résumé on the specific requirements and selection criteria for that position in that particular company. Doing so will give you a better chance of getting that interview.

4 online tools to prepare and spruce up your resume

online resume tools

Whether you’re looking to prepare a resume from scratch or improve on your existing document, here are four great tools to make the process easier.

ResumUp makes it possible to use the information from your LinkedIn and Facebook profiles, to create an infographic. This will consist of your achievements, skills, your key values, and work history.

The tool also has a feature to include a bit about your personality type.

You are then able to share the information and graphics with potential employers by downloading it in PNG or PDF form.

Creddle is a free site that can be used to create your resume.

A document is created from your personal information that is either synced from your LinkedIn profile or entered manually.

They offer 9 different templates which provide a choice of header, lets you add color, and change the order of your resume sections at will.

Once complete, it can be downloaded as a PDF or DOCX file, embedded on your personal website, or printed.

Creddle may also be used to create a cover letter to support your resume.

By using, you are able to use the data within your LinkedIn profile to create a unique visualization displaying your personal achievements.

You are given a selection of 6 different style themes and several color schemes and fonts to create your resume. You can highlight years of experience and other numbers by using the “My Stats” section. is free and can be shared as a link, or downloaded in PDF or PNG form.

Similar to the other sites, VisualCV is a service that builds your resume through the data contained in your LinkedIn profile.

You then select a design, add presentations or other multimedia, such as embedded videos or images, and the tool allows you to publish to a public URL, export a PDF, or share via a link.

Cover letter blunders you should steer clear of

cover letter mistakes how to write

Cover letters are a tricky part of the application material process.

Studies have shown that the vast majority of employers/recruiters (~90%) claim they don’t read them most of the time.

At the same time, many of them say they like candidates who include a cover letter (~50%).

What this means is that while your cover letter has a positive impact, the chances of it not getting read are high

Despite this inconsistency, knowing how to properly format, present, and construct a cover letter is a valuable skill that every job hunter must pursue to perfect.

To help you get started in your journey toward that awesome new position, I’ve put together a list of common cover letter blunders to avoid.

By sidestepping these potential pitfalls, your cover letter will stand a higher chance of being read/acknowledged.

Including the Cover Letter as a Separate Attachment

One goal of the cover letter is to get people to open your resume.

So where possible, don’t include the cover letter as an attachment in addition to your resume.

That makes the employer’s job harder and reduces the chances of your documents being read. It is also ignored by application tracking systems often.

For example, if you are sending an email application, then include the cover letter text in the email body itself.

Using General/Overused Words, Without Being Specific

Comments about “being the ideal match,” or “being a results oriented,” often result in the recruiter rolling their eyes.

If you really want to impress the recruiter, your examples of such qualifications need to be specific, and genuine.

Typos and Formatting Errors

It has been shown that 70% of recruiters will automatically dismiss any applicant with typos or formatting errors present in their cover letter.

Before sending in material to a company, always check a few times, to make sure it is devoid of any issues.

Talking too Much About Yourself

Knowing your audience is half the battle when trying to impress a recruiter/employer.

Once you know what they’re looking for, use the cover letter to explain what you can do for them.

It’s about them. Not you.

Too Much Duplication

Nobody wants to read the same material twice.

If you simply use your cover letter to repeat your resume, the recruiter will become bored, and become more dismissive of your candidacy.

Writing a Novel

Similar to typos, most recruiters/employers prefer brief cover letters.

In fact, a cover letter that is a half-page or less is often considered the strongest.

Avoid novelistic writing, and keep your application material strong, short, and attractive.

Going Overboard with Praise

Don’t be hyperbolic about your love or admiration of the company.

If you do this, it will make you look unprofessional, and possibly disingenuous.

Flattery is welcome; just keep your compliments reasonable and keep the focus on what you can do for them.

Using the Same Cover Letter for All Jobs

While your cover letters might follow the same structure for most applications, as far as possible, try to tailor them for different roles. Generic and one-size-fits all letters, will have a lower success rate.

Should you include a photo on your resume?

Should I include a photo on your resume

Many people wonder about whether or not to include a photo with a professional resume.

One recent study provides some interesting answers to this question.

The study which was published in the Economist took a look at what happens when people include a photo on their resumes.

Depending on the sex and attractiveness of the person being analyzed, the results differed significantly.

For men, attractive candidates had a much larger success rate of being called in for an interview, while attractive women had a more difficult time gaining an interview.

So the question is then presented: why is this happening?

In the case of this study, it was found that a full 93% of the recruiters/employers who looked at the submitted applications were female. (HR departments often have more women than men).

Researchers hypothesized that a sense of jealousy was key in the rejection of the female candidates.

Although these results could not be concretely proven, the results lead to the researchers recommending that people discontinue the practice of including photos with resumes altogether. In addition to biases based on physical attractiveness, photograph can lead to other biases and discrimination (e.g. racial) as well, both conscious and unconscious.

However, if you are required to include a photo on your resume, or if you don’t really care since you know that in today’s world employers can easily see your picture on Facebook or LinkedIn, follow these tips on getting the perfect resume/profile picture, to help your chances at successfully gaining an interview.

Good luck with your job search!