What Message Is Your Resume Sending?

By Amber Crow (Queer Career Blog)

Many members of the queer community are seeking opportunities to get involved in action groups and political campaigns in order to affect change at a higher level. We often find ourselves dedicating our time and energy to causes that we believe in and volunteering our time to work with Queer Organizations. Some of us are active in religious affiliations and get involved in our communities this way.

While these affiliations may be very dear to us and may be something that we are very proud to have worked on, by listing them on a resume, we open ourselves up to discrimination.

Some of you may be wondering why you would even list volunteer work or political and religious affiliations on a resume. The answer lies in the fact that these experiences provide us with valuable, relevant skills such as team-building, communication, and leadership. Often, employees who are coming out of college with limited work experience will use these other opportunities to show where they’ve developed skills necessary for the job that they are applying for. Others want to show companies that they are well-rounded individuals outside of the office.

So, should you list these organizations on your resume or not?

The answer to this is going to be personal to each job applicant.

There are basically two schools of thought. The first is “Is this work so important to you and your identity, that you wouldn’t want to work somewhere that would find it ‘controversial’?”  This can be a great way for an applicant to test a potential employer’s level of acceptance. It can weed out companies that are not supportive and save you time in researching how you would fit in to the company.

The second thought on including “controversial” topics on your resume is “Do you want to be the one who ultimately makes the decision about where you work?” If the answer is yes, and you want to be more in control of your hiring process and finding the right fit for yourself, then you may consider leaving any “controversial” topics off of your resume and sussing out the culture for yourself.

If any of these experiences falling under your work history and you are not able to decide whether or not it belongs on your resume, you should focus instead on the skills and competencies that you developed in this position and the results that you produced in your role without getting too specific.

I’ll end this by noting that discrimination in any form is illegal and inappropriate in the workplace, but it is also extremely difficult to prove. One hiring manager who disagrees with you can be the difference between you being moved on to the next round of interviews. Be careful and pay attention to the companies that you are applying for and what they stand for.

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