Comments about ‘Does putting your religion on a resume help or hurt you?’

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Published: Monday, June 23 2014 4:20 a.m. MDT

Updated: Monday, July 28 2014 10:54 a.m. MDT

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Karen R.
Houston, TX

This article continues the DN theme of "the religious are being persecuted," but the authors of the study done in the South drew a different conclusion from their results*:

"While religion is central to Southern life and Southerners more openly display their religious beliefs than citizens in other parts of the country, they also embrace the secular notion that there is a proper time and place for religious expression. Thus, even in the Deep South, most employers draw the line against overt expressions of religious belief in the workplace."

There is a proper time and place for religious expression...Interesting.

*The New England study was available only to subscribers.

Bob A. Bohey
Marlborough, MA

One should leave ones religion under their own vine and tree. Just as the very wise forefathers of this country intended. Why is that concept so hard for so many?

A Scientist
Provo, UT

This article is poignantly ironic in light of the fact that Mormon discrimination in the workplace resulted in one of the largest lawsuit settlements ever:

Not long ago, the Apollo Group and the University of Phoenix were ordered to pay nearly $2 million and significant remedial relief to resolve a class religious discrimination lawsuit discriminated against non-Mormon employees, and favored Mormon employees, in several ways, including:

- providing the Mormon employees better leads
- disciplining non-Mormon employees for conduct for which Mormon employees were not disciplined
- promoting lesser-qualified or unqualified Mormons to management positions while repeatedly denying such promotions to non-Mormons
- denying tuition waivers to non-Mormon employees while granting the waivers to Mormon employees

I have seen this kind of religious discrimination here in Utah frequently.

In order to "avoid the appearance of evil", it is prudent to remove religious references from resumes.

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

Our Founding Fathers had the prescient genius to establish the world’s first secular government, complete with a constitution that makes no mention of a deity and only one reference to religion in general. They did this not because they were anti-religion, but because they understood history and knew how religion had torn apart Europe for centuries.
And in a sense they were simply following the wisdom of Jesus (e.g., Matthew 6:5-6 and Mark 12:13-17).

Religion is inherently divisive and when recognized outside of one’s own heart or place of worship it will inevitably lead to strife, factions and the Balkanization of societies. If it is not clear why this is so, the following maxim should be instructive:

“All religions viewed from the inside (i.e., by followers of that religion) are true. All religions viewed from the outside (i.e., by followers of other religions) are false.”

OHBU
Columbus, OH

I believe the authors of this article have drawn conclusions that aren't necessarily in the research. What the researchers said is that employers resist the entrance of religion in the workplace, not that they resist religious people in the workplace. That's an important distinction. Religious diversity can be great, what the employers don't want is someone who is likely to make it an issue at work. If you are part of a student "lobbying" association for your religion--be it Christian, Islamic, of atheism--then you are more likely to "lobby" for that religion at work, a practice that can alienate coworkers and create awkwardness.

I would venture you would find similar results with resumes that displayed active involvement in political lobbying--another divisive issue.

Brave Sir Robin
San Diego, CA

I'm active LDS and I do a lot of hiring, and I will say that putting your LDS mission on your resume is a big turnoff for me. To me, the mission on the resume says that you're inexperienced and looking for filler material. Even someone straight out of college should be able to fill a one-page resume without putting a mission on it. I'd rather see another job on there - even if it was your job flipping burgers when you were 16 - than a mission.

I realize that missions build character. I went on one too. But you didn't get hired to go on a mission. You didn't have to beat out other candidates. Even if all you've got is that menial "first job" to go to, put that on your resume instead of your mission. There's no shame in admitting you packed fries when you were a teenager. It tells me that the manager liked you more than the other applicants. Your mission doesn't tell me that.

shadowfx
rio rancho, NM

Interesting article. Religion in the workplace is an interesting dynamics. Someone places religious background on a resume if they feel it will aid in a positive way. Some southern businesses may want a religious person and will probably seek someone of a southern based religion. Other states, like Utah, will probably look for someone familiar and friendly to the Mormon religion since a vast majority of the workers will be Mormon.

People need to be aware that when placing their religious background on a resume may result in an outcome that was or wasn't expected. They key is to use it when you feel it will give you leverage with a particular company.

Research the company and make sure to include what is needed. Don't get offended if you do not get the call because you decided to place your religion on a resume. There are companies that are anti-religion, pro a specific religion, or just do not want to see your religion.

This is the real world. I am religious and would never place my religion on my resume.

ute alumni
SLC, UT

robin

so a two year gap on a resume is a good thing? prison, rehab, mission.....what? community service/organizer better?

Brave Sir Robin
San Diego, CA

@ute alumni

I take it back - putting a mission on there is OK if not having it would leave a two-year gap. Nobody wants to see a gap and it will raise red flags, so if you put your mission on there as an explanation of why there's a gap, that's OK. But most people don't put pre-mission jobs on their resumes, so there's no gap to be filled...they just put it on there for the heck of it. I don't like that - it smacks of inexperience and small-time.

MuseCat
Farmington, UT

I was point blanked asked about my religion and if I minded working with those that didn't believe the way I did. I said I didn't mind, but I'm pretty sure that my religion was why I didn't get the job. They were pleased with me up to that point because of what was on my resume. But try proving that.

Stormwalker
Cleveland , OH

Over the last few years I have interviewed between 400 and 500 hundred people, hired well over a hundred of those.

I never interviewed anybody with an LDS mission listed. I did interview a good number of folks who listed various religious activities on their resume, ranging from public service to activities or organizations that were clearly connected to proselytizing of some type.

My experience is that those who aggressively showcase religion on a resume or interview had a high chance of being aggressively religious on the job. Not only were they more apt to spend time annoying coworkers about religion, they were often at the center of gossip about the personal lives and activities of coworkers.

Overall, putting religion on your resume is a turn off, and for good reason.

Karen R.
Houston, TX

@ TheProudDuck

"The tribalism of Happy Valley is severe. The tribalism of the NPR-PBS-Whole Foods crowd is ten times worse."

I am really tired of we Americans allowing ourselves to be split into our subgroups. Just who benefits from this anyway? The people? Hardly. This is who benefits:

Media outlets.
People wanting to sell books ranting on about the evils of the other guy.
Politicians who demonize "the other" as a means to ensure their own survival.

Why are we putting up with this? Why are we cooperating with people who don't need the country to do well in order for THEM to do well?

There is one tribe we ALL belong to and things are not going to get better until we remember this again.

MuseCat
Farmington, UT

Stormwalker, I would like to ask you a question? I don't put any of my experiences of my callings with the LDS church on my resume. But when I am asked where I got my experience in certain areas that pertain to the job and it was from years of church calls what would you have me say? As for return missionaries, I'm sure that they get asked where they learned to speak the language and they say they lived in the country for a while. When they ask why they were there what would you have them say? You wouldn't want any of us to lie, would you?

No One Of Consequence
West Jordan, UT

When I was younger I decided to put my mission on the resume to fill the gap as I did have useful job experience before and after to list. I determined that I would not want to work with anyone who was offended by my having served a mission. I was hired by someone who didn't share my beliefs but respected my openness about my church service.

I suppose I could have said that I spent two years in a coma and woke up inexplicably speaking Japanese....

Stormwalker
Cleveland , OH

@MuseCat

Great question. Listing skills or experiences on a resume is different than listing a bunch of church callings. The former shows transferable knowledge; the latter screams church,church, church as if that, in and of itself, should impress me.

When, in the interview, I ask about your listing of skills and where you gained the experience I am listening to your words, listening how you present your stories, looking for what you avoid talking about, weighing how you will fill the job and fit into the team.

This is not just about church related experience, but about everything you tell me you can do. For those things related to a church background I am paying attention to the focus - are you busy trying to impress me with "church" or are you focused on your transferable skills that can make a positive impact?

I have hired many devout people. Some were Christian, some Catholic, and several were practicing pagans. Always, I am looking at who seems likely to contribute to the success of the team, not disrupt or cause conflict. Religion is only one factor.

RanchHand
Huntsville, UT

@MuseCat;

Answering questions is the whole point of the interview. Answer honestly. The same for the two-year mission gap; if asked, explain that you were on an LDS mission, the interviewer will understand and realize that you left the mission off the resume because it wasn't relevant.

FatherOfFour
WEST VALLEY CITY, UT

If you think advertising your religion is a turn off in an interview, tell them you're atheist and watch how fast they run. I avoid all discussion of religion, sex, and politics during an interview. I concentrate on the person's skill set. If they have the skills my business needs, then I want them. Those skills are hard to come by and take years of learning. But they also need to understand that people are going to go out for coffee together and have drinks together. There is no expectation to join in. Everyone else isn't going to change for the new delicate little snowflake.

FatherOfFour
WEST VALLEY CITY, UT

@ No One Of Consequence,

In Utah you are more likely to be hired because of your mission, not in spite of it. There are a lot of Mormon-owned businesses here, especially in the tech sector. More often than not, if they find out you are not LDS (I don't bring it up, but I am honest when asked) they will find someone else that is a "better fit for the team".

New Yorker
Pleasant Grove, UT

A devout disciple of Jesus Christ who has read the New Testament would reasonably expect that life "in the world" is going to be difficult.

Simply turn the other cheek and get on with life. There's no sense trying to fit in where people don't want you to be. Doing that would be just practicing pain.

God has a place for you to serve and mission for you to fill. Find it! Bloom regardless!

happy2bhere
clearfield, UT

Due to all the hatred of the LDS Church in particular and religion in general just shown by people writing here is all the reason not to mention religion unless you know for sure your employer is himself a religious person. Particularly of your own religion. I'd go for honesty and good working habits of an employee over college any day.

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