How to Write a Resume that will Beat Unconscious Bias

Australian businesses are ramping up their diversity and inclusion efforts in a big, big way, and it’s working.  Businesses that harness diversity reap tangible rewards such as enhanced innovation, creativity, improved retention and heightened financial performance.

That said, there is scientific evidence to suggest that unconscious bias, as much as we all hate to admit it still exists in Australian workplaces.  Our brains are wired to view patterns of similarity and we unconsciously perceive stereotypes on a daily basis.  This is also true for Talent Acquisition Teams who are tasked with the tough mission of dwindling down thousands of resumes and applications to only a select few for interview.

When writing a resume, it’s fundamental to view your application from a Recruiter lens before you hit send, eliminating any potential red flags or unconscious biases that may see you ruled out at the CV screening round.

What should I avoid including on my resume so I do not fall victim to unconscious bias?

The age old question
Age is a tricky topic, and although different age groups form Millennials to Baby Boomers are embraced with open arms as excellent candidates, the recruiter or hiring manager may have an unconscious, pre-conceived perception of the ideal age range for the candidate they are looking to hire. Eliminating this means they focus on your skills, not your generation.

Listing individual short-term contracts
The contingent workforce is booming in our fast-paced, innovative, tech-obsessed environments.  Contractors are invaluable for business innovation and success. However, there are still recruiters who may unconsciously be scared off by the perception of ‘job-hopping’.  If you are with one consultancy but working on site with various clients over the course of a few years, list the roles under the one employer, or alternatively use a functional resume format to highlight your experience as opposed to your tenure.

Filling in the blanks
There comes a time for many of us, where we will find ourselves with a gap in our resumes.  It could be due to a re-location, a redundancy, maternity or paternity leave, travel or even a career break.  Unfortunately, even though the reasons can be easily explained, leaving a gap may raise some unconscious red-flags with the recruiter.  If you can, include any freelance work or projects that were undertaken in this time.  This would also be an opportune time to utilise a functional resume format to help beat that resume bias.  It will enable the recruiter to focus on the experience you have that makes you an employable candidate, as opposed to why there is a gap in your resume.


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