After the mid-term elections in the United States, a lot of Democratic staffers are looking for new jobs.
A new study finds that it's better to focus on skills in that new resume, and put the recent experience section farther down the page. For those outside the Washington, D.C. beltway, leave your blog off the resume entirely, according to political scientists from Duke University.
When science academia was more culturally diverse, it was a no-no to discuss politics and religions, just like in broader society. Now it is rather expected. That is why Republicans in academia, all 6 percent of them, keep it quiet until after they get tenure. But is it true that people hire those most like them? Women in science agree, as do minorities. And the lack of diversity for handicapped people and Republicans in the higher levels of science academia certainly make it seem that way.
A paper in Political Behavior finds that it's not really an advantage to be the same as someone else, people just penalize those different from them. Sharing information in line with the majority partisan view didn't give candidates an advantage, but minority partisan view was less likely to receive a callback from an employer.
"Our results showed that individuals may sometimes place themselves at a disadvantage when they include partisan cues on their resumes," said Thomas Gift, a co-author of the study who is a Ph.D. candidate in Duke's Political Science Department, who wanted to test that belief.
Researchers sent resumes to 1,200 help-wanted ads in two counties: Alameda County in the San Francisco Bay Area, described as very liberal, and Collin County, Texas, dubbed very conservative. The assessments were based on voting patterns in the 2008 presidential election.
A third of the resumes contained highly partisan cues in the liberal vein, i.e., worked for "Obama for America," while another third listed conservative political affiliations, such as experience with "Mitt Romney Campaign." The remaining third of the resumes were neutral and did not include any mention of political experience.
Gift, along with co-author and wife Karen Gift, a 2012 graduate of Duke Law School, worked with a team of research assistants to identify jobs through national listings such as Monster.com and Craigslist, and through local newspapers.
They built a set of realistic resumes for entry level, college-educated job hunters. The researchers then registered Gmail accounts for each of the fictitious applicants and set up phone lines using Google Voice.
All six of the applicants had well-known male names -- Daniel, John, Thomas, Robert, Michael, and Mark -- to negate clear racial or gender discrimination. The resumes included similar attributes: academic records, volunteerism, generic work experience and language skills.
The researchers then tailored the resumes so the applicants appeared to be locals who would be familiar with the county and available to interview and start work immediately.
Overall, 13 percent of job candidates received callbacks.
Across the pooled sample of both districts, the authors found that job candidates who shared the majority partisan view of voters in a geographic district were statistically no more likely to receive a callback than the politically neutral candidates. However, candidates who shared the minority partisan view of voters in a geographic district were less likely to receive a callback than individuals with a neutral resume.
"Our study provides evidence that partisanship can play a role in hiring," said Karen Gift. "To our knowledge, we were the first to employ a large-scale, randomized field experiment to investigate the relationship between partisan affiliation and hiring. But there's certainly room for further research that refines our understanding of the link."