Lifestyle

Politics… and Resumes – Corporette.com


women marching in a crowd, holding a yellow protest sign reading "Nasty Women Unite" while other women wear pink hats around them

There’s a trending story in The Washington Post about how Gen Z applicants are “scrubbing campus political activism from their resumes,” and I thought it might make an interesting discussion here. After all, we’ve talked about whether your Greek affiliations should be on your resume, and how long your resume should be, and how to indicate a sabbatical on your resume — but not this. (A side question that might also be worth pondering: Are you rephrasing your resume to better highlight tasks accomplished while working remotely? What kind of phrasing are you using?)

From the article:

After a surge of campus activism during the Trump years, a growing number of Gen Z job seekers are now discovering a downside to their political engagement. While employers say they are eager for diversity and advise applicants to “bring their whole selves” to the job hunt, Mackenzie and some of her peers don’t trust them to look beyond ideology.

“With disclosure comes exposure,” said Kacheyta McClellan, director of diversity, inclusion and belonging at the National Association of Colleges and Employers. He said it has always been an “act of bravery” for job seekers of color to be transparent about community organizing when applying for a job in a different field, even if the skills are transferrable.

For my $.02, I can definitely see a few reasons for keeping political activism off of your resume. One reason might be that certain clubs might, as the kids say, “slap differently” these days. I remember going to a few meetings of both the campus chapter of the ACLU and the campus chapter of The Federalist Society in law school — looking back at my resumes from the time period (I save a new draft with the date every time I update it), the ACLU made it to my resume, but The Federalist Society didn’t.

I was never very involved in either, to be honest, so it’s interesting that one made the cut and one did not. Maybe my perspective has changed (I’ve moved a lot farther to the left, for example), but it feels like saying you joined The Federalist Society in 2021 is very different than saying you joined the same club in 1999 or even 2014.

{related: why you should apply to jobs even when you don’t meet the job “requirements”}

I have also used different resumes for different positions, so I might have listed The Federalist Society if I were applying to a law firm or company that did more conservative work, and omitted it if I were applying to a law firm or company that branded itself as more liberal.

Another reason here might be the idea that “you’re a team player and can work with all sides” — so you may not want to advertise your political views on your resume, whether they skew to the left or the right. After all, the old rule used to be that you didn’t talk politics at the office. Even during our last discussion on how to deal with political talk in the office (light years ago in 2014), a number of commenters noted that they preferred an office that was “more reticent with politics” and that civil discussion with differing views is par for the course.

Readers, let’s discuss — have you ever put political-related clubs, charities, or activities on your resume that had a big, well-known “personality”? Would you be reluctant to put those on your resume today — or would it depend where you were applying and what the work was? If you’re in a position to hire (or even part of the hiring process, such as an interviewer), what would you think if you received a resume that listed a politics-related club or charity?

{related: the easy way to keep your resume updated}

Stock photo via Stencil.





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