November 2018

IZA DP No. 11971: Work Hard or Play Hard? Degree Class, Student Leadership and Employment Opportunities

We investigated the impact on first hiring outcomes of two main curriculum vitae (CV) characteristics by which graduates with a tertiary education degree distinguish themselves from their peers: degree class and extra-curricular activities. These characteristics were randomly assigned to 2,800 fictitious job applications that were sent to real vacancies in Belgium. Academic performance and extra-curricular engagement both enhanced job interview rates by about 7%. The effect of a higher degree class was driven by female (versus male) candidates and candidates with a master's (versus a bachelor's) degree. We did not find evidence for these CV characteristics to be substitutes or to reinforce each other's effect.