Despite having “loads of relevant experience, lots of personality, and even pedigree educations,” there’s a good chance that your most brilliant, overachieving friends and acquaintances are those who have suffered the longest periods of unemployment, says Maurice Ewing, PhD, chief executive and founder of Conquer, in a recent LinkedIn post.
Seems illogical, right?
Well, according to an article Ewing once read, smart people are actually more apt to incorrectly trust their gut instincts when making decisions; they typically make more mistakes of reasoning than the rest of us; and, they tend to see bias more easily in others than in themselves (also known as “bias blind spots”).
“When I reflected on how this finding might have some bearing on the plight of my very smart friends and their job seeking challenges, a light bulb turned on,” Ewing says. He thought: “Could it be possible that my friends’ presentations of themselves to would-be employers reflected these bias blind spots? Could it be that their intelligence actually stood as a hurdle to their professional progress?”
So, he decided to take a closer look at his smart friends’ resumes and profiles — and found that their intelligence actually can be detrimental to their job search.
1. Smart people often have profiles that are too lengthy and detailed.
“One of the by-products of high intelligence is the ability to do more activities in shorter amounts of time than most other people,” Ewing explains. As a result, it’s not uncommon to see a smart person’s resume spanning 10 years look like that of an average person’s with 20, or even 30 years under their belt. “The problem, however, is in the presentation.”
If and when the smart person tries to go into detail about each and every experience, the hiring manager is likely to feel overloaded with information, and may overlook the relevant experience. Plus, submitting an extremely lengthy resume may look like you’re trying too hard. “It would be better to get to the point, highlight the relevant experience, skills, tools, and pedigree in a logical format,” he says.
2. Smart people typically prefer to express themselves in terms of results.
Smart people, who are often over-achievers, tend to speak more loudly with their performance than with their mouths, Ewing says. “Yet, while no one disputes that one of the most important elements in a hiring situation is that the person being hired can do the job, candidates need to first get to the interview stage before they can demonstrate those accomplishments.”
To do that, they need to learn how to express their accomplishments, talents, and skills in succinct ways that speak directly to how they can help an employer, he says. “They cannot rest on the knowledge of having once done a great job somewhere else or on the expectation that, in relation to the previous point, someone will have wade through their lengthy resumes to marvel at what they did.”
Click here to read the full LinkedIn post.
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