In an ideal world, there would be no bias or discrimination when it comes to reviewing resumes or hiring candidates. However, we live in an imperfect world, and try as they might, recruiters and hiring managers may still have inadvertent or subconscious biases. The best thing that job seekers can do is remove any information that could be a trigger from the start. So what does this include?
- Political Affiliations
Unless you are applying for a job in politics, leave any references off of your resume. You don’t need to include that you were a member of the Young Republicans in college or campaigned for a Democratic candidate. Carefully weigh your options and decide whether or not this information is truly integral to your resume or provides solid value. If not – or if you are not 100% sure of the company’s stance – leave it off. Focus on other accomplishments, leadership positions, and successes in your career.
- Religious Affiliations
Along the same lines, leave off anything related to religion unless it directly applies to the position you are targeting. If you’re looking to work for a church or a Jesuit college, by all means include your volunteering or committee experience. However, for most people, any work done with churches or synagogues probably has no bearing on your ability to do the job you are applying for. Don’t include these ties simply for the sake of showing you were a member. Only include them if they are relevant or you have achieved highly notable success; even then, weigh the pros and cons. Could you make a similar impression by highlighting another aspect of your career?
This one is a little trickier. While age discrimination is illegal, it doesn’t mean it never happens. To cut back on the potential for ageism, remove graduation years from your education, limit how far you go back in your job history, ensure core competencies include current (not outdated) skills, and use an email address that does not contain any indications of when you were born.
When it comes to anything controversial, you want to keep your resume as neutral as possible. Plus, a lot of this information does not need to be included anyway or can be avoided. Don’t add information simply to add it – make sure that it serves a clear purpose and brings value to your resume. Have someone else read through your resume and see if they notice any red flags. Be honest when it comes to your resume, but also strategic. Focus on the skills, accomplishments, and experiences that truly exemplify your abilities and why you would be a strong fit for the role.