When do workers tailor their resumes in job-search? | Work in Progress Seminar with Santiago Campero

When and Where

Wednesday, February 24, 2021 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm


Santiago Campero
Olenka Kacperczyk


The seminar will run on Bb Collaborate.

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Job-seekers can adapt their self-presentation during job search by tailoring their resumes. Doing so can have a number of benefits, such as improving perceptions of person-job fit, highlighting accomplishments that are in line with occupational norms, and reducing the effect of stigmatized characteristics. However, extant research has largely focused on how and when workers from disadvantaged groups conceal their stigmatized characteristics and we understand comparatively less about the determinants of resume tailoring among job-seekers generally.  In this study, we develop a framework to theorize how job-seekers adapt their self-presentation (by tailoring their resumes) along dimensions likely to be relevant to employers. We argue that job-seekers who are more socially-proximate to individuals in the industry and/or firm pursued have a positional advantage that allows them to tailor their resumes in ways that increase their chances of hire. Using data on the job search of a sample of job-seekers in the US high-tech industry, we find evidence consistent with this argument. Among non-white job-seekers, ethnic groups that are better represented in the industry (i.e., Asians) are more likely to tailor their resume in favorable ways than ethnic groups that are less well-represented (i.e., blacks). Further, job-seekers are more likely to tailor their resumes in favorable ways when they: (a) are graduates of universities whose alumni are better-represented in the industry and (b) are more socially-proximate to the target firm (e.g., they reach the firm via a network referral). Overall, our study unveils a novel mechanism perpetuating inequality job search outcomes: advantageous resume tailoring through positional advantage.