You may be following the trend of ‘Instagram-Ready’ resumes being a “thing.” I wasn’t even aware of it until it was brought to my attention by my staff. I recently found myself fascinated by the emergence of ‘Instagram-Ready’ resumes and the intriguing debate around whether this emerging trend is inherently inciting resume bias. To be completely honest, both sides of the debate bring up extremely valid points that directly tie into the Diversity and Inclusion space. So, do ‘Instagram-ready’ resumes incite bias? To be frank, I am conflicted. Let me dive into why.
Why this is happening
With Gen-Z and young Millennials increasingly entering the workplace, we are seeing an increase in emphasis on “attention-grabbing” and “differentiation” as primary tactics being used by young professionals to stand out in a competitive job market. This is most-commonly manifesting in candidates leveraging their tech-savvy design skills to boost the potential appeal of their resumes. But does this take out the objectivity of a hiring process?
Why I support it
Firstly, with two sons who are Millennial/Gen-Z, I feel a certain connection to this issue. Naturally, I want my sons to be set up to compete in their respective job-markets so this topic (regardless of your stance) has a direct impact on them and the millions of young professionals like them.
As it relates to my work in Diversity and Inclusion as a mechanism to empower individuals, and subsequently, teams, I argue this issue also has direct implications. My team always talks about how important it is that we should celebrate individuality and empower people to embrace the best version of themselves. If companies aren’t doing that, they aren’t being ‘inclusive’ of these professional’s individual genius. We also encourage rewarding and recognizing effort and achievement in the workplace. While resumes don’t directly fall under this scope, shouldn’t we reward a well-crafted resume?
Why I am against it
To be frank, these kinds of resumes do objectively open the door to potential hiring bias. If the job application involves someone versed in some aspect of biotech, for example, whether they have mastered the art of presenting a visually appealing resume is highly irrelevant to the essential qualifications of that biotech job and could keep qualified candidates out. I always teach that companies need to be objective in their hiring and that they must work proactively to eliminate any room for bias in every aspect of their culture and processes. When some ask, “why does a headshot matter?”, for example, it’s hard for me to ignore their objections. It clearly does matter because it brings focus to appearance, age, race, and gender, which, at a minimum, is a distraction from the actual “facts” of the person’s competence as set forth in their (hopefully accurate) resume.
All-in-all I feel that as we continue to work to create more inclusive workplaces and a more inclusive world, the impacts of bias will continue to dissipate. It’s hard for me to discourage young professionals from embracing their individuality and going above and beyond in any aspect of their professional lives. Maybe our world needs to catch up to the future in this regard and find ways to encourage this trend while also negating the manifestations of resume bias (and bias of all kinds). Regardless, this debate is fascinating and ongoing.
Workplace diversity and a culture of Inclusion transforms the way companies think and perform. Our ability as organizations and society, to enable professionals to be the best version of themselves will be crucial in dictating success. What are your thoughts? Does this trend incite resume bias? Leave a comment below or join the discussion at one of our live events.