There’s a big difference in how men and women write tech resumes

The gender gap in the technology industry is enormous and entrenched. Diversity stats revealed by Google then a series of other companies showed that women make up only a tiny fraction of the workforce.

There are plenty of possible reasons, including unconscious bias and the smaller pipeline of female computer science graduates. But a textual analysis by a linguistics PhD published at Fortune points to another reason that some women might not get in the front door.

Kieran Snyder, the CEO of machine learning company Textio, collected 1,100 resumes of technology workers with varying levels of experience— half from men, half from women. Snyder found some pretty extreme differences in style. For one, women wrote much longer resumes—745 words compared to 414 for men.

They also tended to organize them differently. Women were much more likely to include an executive summary, and far less likely to present their experience in past jobs in a series of specific, verb-heavy bulleted lists. Women instead tended to summarize work at greater distance:

While it’s tough to draw too many conclusions without knowing more about these applicants, the reality of the enormous gap in the industry suggests that men are having a bit more luck with their style of resume. It also fits better with Google hiring chief Laszlo Bock’s favorite piece of resume advice, which is to suggest that all accomplishments be described, concisely, in the format “accomplished X by doing Y as measured by Z.”

Being concise and focusing on facts over longer summaries might tend to appeal more to technically-minded recruiters, who are often sorting through very large piles of resumes for a few specific things.


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