I’m not sure anyone really knows how to make the perfect CV. One thing we’ve learned is to exclude anything personal and focus on our professional experiences. However, research done by two Vanderbilt University Law School economists suggests that you should in fact, include personal information to clarify the gaps in her resume.
Amy Wolf wrote for Research News at Vanderbilt about how this convention is doing us more harm than good. Joni Hersch, professor of law and economics at Vanderbilt Law School said, “Our study provides the first-ever evidence that women who conceal personal information dramatically lower their hiring prospects.”
Vanderbilt co-author Jennifer Bennett Shinall added that, “Employers overwhelmingly preferred to hire candidates who provided information to explain a resume gap, regardless of content. Any information that could flesh out a woman’s job history and qualifications improved employment prospects relative to no explanation for an otherwise identical job candidate.”
The study included 3,022 participants as “potential employers” to choose between two resumes that were very similar. The distinguished point of difference between these two resumes was the level of openness about the 10-year job gap in the timeline. Where explained, the reasoning was either “taking time off to raise children or a recent divorce.” In the other resumes, there was no information given.
Those candidates who gave personal information increased the chance of being hired by 30%-40%. “I was shocked by the results,” said Hersch. “The personal information gave no indication whether the woman would be a more or less productive employee. This was entirely neutral information. Yet the number of people who preferred the woman who explained her resume gap was staggering… Individuals prefer known risks over unknown risks.”