Resume quandary (HR types welcome!)

I’m writing a resume to apply for a job as an event planner, a job for which I am well-qualified. However, some of my experience is in planning events for an on-campus religious group.

Given that mentioning religion is something of a no-no on resumes, should I include that information as experience, or should I leave it off for the sake of preventing discrimination?



If you worked for a religious group, then you worked for a religious group. If you planned events for Catholic Charities, then say “Planned events for Catholic Charities.” (in resume-ese, of course).

What good would leaving the name out for you? Are you possibly anticipating discrimination where none may exist?

My experience comes not as a paid employee, but as a member of that organization, which means that it would automatically disclose my religion.


If that’s where your experience lies, put it on there.

You don’t have to say on the resume under what capacity you did the organizing.

That’s funny you mention this because we just hired a guy who has two listings on his resume (for long-term volunteer work) for two different Jewish organizations, and it didn’t occur to me for even a second until this thread that that might likely mean he is Jewish. I just figured he was volunteering.

I’d just put down what you did and for whom. If they really care, then I, personally, would not want to work for them anyway. If they don’t care, then it wouldn’t matter.

Not sure how else you’d position it to be more neutral. You could say you were the “lead consultant” or something like that, but that really just sounds like you’re trying not to say what you think you’re not supposed to say.

While your event planning experience is still limited enough that this makes up a significant part of it, I recommend going ahead and listing it. An exception would be if for some reason you really anticipated a conflict: Jewish organization/ job in highly Mormon area of Utah, maybe? Evangelical organization, event planning for Planned Parenthood or NOW?

Once you have significant full-time event planning experience, I’d probably drop it. There are just enough people out there who are made uncomfortable by religion that it is a trade-off.

An alternative would be to just describe your general work planning student events on campus. The most significant things to the employer will be number of attendees, budget, and how much responsibility you had for the event, and if you led it the size of the planning team you led. You may be able to get those across with just Volunteer Event Planner, Big U Campus.

I think mentioning religion gratuitously on a resume is a no-no, just like any other personal information that isn’t relevant to the job is a no-no (“I’m 5’6, love pasta, and am a Gemini!”). But your membership in the organization will only be inferred, not stated, and the organization you did the work for certainly is relevant, because the work is relevant. So I’d definitely include it, so long as it is relevant and hasn’t been superceded by more immediate or impressive experience. (Weaker/older experience tends to fall off the resume as stronger/newer experience is added.)

Besides which, do you really want to work for an organization that discriminates? If they can’t deal with you being Jewish/Baptist/Rastafarian/Bahai/whatever, is that the job for you?

Put it on there. It’s what you did, for an organization you cared about. If they don’t like it, fuck 'em.

This is a great point…my company does pro-bono work for various community organizations, including churches and synagogues. Has nothing to do with membership in those organizations, it’s just helping them out. In this context, it’s just business…religious organizations need goods & services just like any other organization.

Another excellent point.

As someone who does a lot of hiring (and just finished winnowing through 330 resumes to find six interview-worthy candidates), I would say mention it if it’s relevant, which it seems to be in this case. Just don’t be ham-handed about the religious part of it. Emphasize the skills, responsibilities and experience, rather than dwelling on the religious particulars. Just avoid coming off like the resumes I read that included, under “Other Interests”: I am blessed to belong to the Higher Dimensions of New Faith Celebration of Praise, where I serve as youth pastor. It feels like someone trying to slip me a wink and secret handshake, when in reality I am legally prohibited from holding that for or against the applicant.

I personally would list it, following OneCentStamp’s advice of course. I think many will assume you a member of that denomination, but if you can present your church-related experience in a professional and religiously-neutral manner, then that will make you look good. As an event planner I assume you will have to deal with these potientially sticky situations, look at this as a way to show that you can handle them gracefully. Definately practice how you will present this experience in an interview, that will be the real test.

And totally agree w/ Jodi et al. If they still don’t like it, fuck 'em.

They tell you not to put stuff on a resume to screen yourself out, but in this case, it sounds like you would be screening yourself in. You can also be less specific; “I have experience planning large events as a volunteer for an on-campus group.” Or, you know, what everyone else here has said. :smiley: