It may be part of who you are, but it won’t help you win over employers.
By Catherine Conlan
Monster Contributing Writer
Your goal in writing a resume is to create a concise document that demonstrates your value to prospective employers and makes them want to bring you in for an interview to learn more. But sometimes the information you include can work against that goal. For example, researchers have found that resumes that include information about a candidate’s political ideology can cause prospective employers to distrust that candidate.
Including your political allegiances in your resume — whether explicitly or in subtler ways that are easily deduced — can inspire a level of animosity stronger than including information about your race, according to “Fear and Loathing Across Party Lines: New Evidence on Group Polarization,” a recent research paper by Shanto Iyengar, Chandler Chair of Communication and professor of political science at Stanford University and Sean Westwood, a post-doctoral researcher at Princeton University.
“Our evidence indicates that political party cues are off-putting,” Iyengar says. As part of the study, 1,000 people looked at resumes of high-school seniors who were competing for scholarships. Some resumes had racial hints, like “secretary of the Asian American Student Union” while others had political hints, like “chair of Student Democrats.”
Even when applicants from the other party had stronger qualifications, both Republicans and Democrats chose the same-party scholarship applicant about 80 percent of the time.
When it comes to looking for jobs, Iyengar says, “unless the job search is in the political domain, I would not include references to partisanship or political activity on the resume.”
What if it’s hard to avoid?
That can be tricky in some circumstances, says Joseph Terach, CEO of Resume Deli. “If, for example, you're an event planner, and you've spent five straight years as the senior events coordinator for the Democratic Party, covering two national conventions, it's super-relevant experience. Unfortunately it can be divisive,” he says. “Doing your homework and knowing your audience can help you decide whether it stays or goes.”
Ask yourself whether leaving the information off will affect how a potential employer might evaluate your qualifications for the position you’re seeking, says Alyssa Gelbard of Resume Strategists. Is it enough that they might take an equally qualified candidate instead of you?
What else should you leave off?
Personal information such as age, marital status and number of children is unnecessary, says Moran Barnea, co-founder of ResumeBoost. “In addition, many job applicants add hobbies — which can be great for certain roles — but can be completely irrelevant to others,” Barnea says. “One of the first tips we give our clients is to personalize the resume to the specific role, and the same goes for personal information — will it add value to your resume and increase your chances to land an interview?”
Any time you have questions about whether to include certain information, ask yourself if it adds value from an employer’s perspective, Gelbard says. “Information can be left off a resume if it's not vital to your career advancement, doesn't show dimension to you as a candidate that would otherwise not be present and isn't relevant to the position you're seeking.”