Does putting your religion on a resume help or hurt you?

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  • The Scientist Provo, UT
    July 5, 2014 12:03 p.m.


    Glad I could help.

    I don't believe in the Bible, so quoting moral platitudes from it is meaningless.

  • Seposm Evanston, WY
    July 3, 2014 9:41 a.m.

    As an interesting side note, I have met a couple of FBI recruiters and several agents who told me that the FBI specifically recruits return missionaries. They said they like them because they are usually honest, trustworthy individuals who often times speak a second language fluently. Of course that could be just a myth, but hearing it directly from the recruiter makes me believe it.

  • Patrick Henry West Jordan, UT
    July 2, 2014 9:43 p.m.

    Leave it off your resume. No recruiters care about your personal details, but only about what you can DO for the company.

  • Reasonable Person Layton, UT
    July 1, 2014 7:34 p.m.

    The above comments are thought-provoking and I see everyone's POV.

    BUT no one's mentioned the recent Supreme Court decision. With religion now able to dictate what health coverage you get, it will be increasingly important that the EMPLOYER reveal the "religious bent of the closely-held corporation".

  • Zebra layton, UT
    July 1, 2014 6:23 p.m.

    Wouldn't these statistics vary by state? They did differ from the northern and southern united states in that picture but what about individual states? In Utah I assume that religious employees would be preferred in such an LDS populated state. Also would a religious employee be preferred due to moral values that they may have over a non religious person? I'm not saying non religious people don't have good morals but would an employer prefer a religious person's morals? Or If an employer is a religious person wouldn't they want to employ people of the same religion? In my opinion you shouldn't employ someone based off only their religion but the circumstances change from different jobs and companies.

  • Mister J Salt Lake City, UT
    July 1, 2014 12:03 p.m.

    to CMO Beaver

    And in the words of Groucho Marx, "I would not want to belong to any club that would have me as a member."

  • UT Brit London, England
    July 1, 2014 8:26 a.m.


    I put down my mission on my resume just to show the missing two years. Putting anything religious down on their can cause you problems. Just putting my mission down and having no other information on there about it almost cost me a job. Luckily I knew someone in the company who was able to vouch to the boss for me.
    What a boss does not want is someone coming in trying to preach and convert the rest of the team. Most peoples experience with mormons outside of Utah is missionaries knocking at their doors and frankly they think we are crazy.

  • CMO Beaver Beaver, UT
    June 30, 2014 9:57 a.m.

    only in Utah... only in Utah..

    they know who is in the club, and who is not

  • RBB Sandy, UT
    June 29, 2014 10:57 p.m.

    The Scientist:

    Thank you for rationalizing discrimination. Because some Mormons have discriminated against others, it is o.k. to discriminate against Mormons. Thus, since I have worked at a place which discriminates against Mormons (which I have), it is o.k. for me to discriminate against non-Mormons?

    And since millions of religious people were put jailed or put to death in atheist Russia and China, it is o.k. for all religious people to discriminate against all atheists. After all, they brought it on themselves.

    I love relying on "reason." It leads to such a happy place. An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind.

  • RBB Sandy, UT
    June 29, 2014 10:46 p.m.

    As the hiring partner in a company I would avoid raising religion on a resume unless it relates to the job (i.e. international sales and you spent two years in France). I have noticed that resumes from BYU are much more likely to list missionary service and sound overly religious. (Of course you can also use it to avoid working for a firm which an anti-LDS bias).

    The great irony with religion is that many people who otherwise condemn discrimination are more than happy to discriminate on the basis of religion. Back when I was in grad school I attended a meet and greet with a number of local companies. One was very open about not wanting to hire Mormons. On the way back to school I made a comment about how saying "we do not want to hire Mormons" was a stupid thing to say. To my surprise several of my more liberal friends spoke up defending the company saying that they they had the right to hire whoever they choose. My retort of "so would it be o.k. if they had said Jews instead?" ended the conversation.

  • FanOfTheSith Vernal, UT
    June 29, 2014 3:31 p.m.

    I do not care about the person's religious affiliation, I would concentrate more on his or her education and work credentials and would even do a background check on him or her.

  • karlmalone Syracuse, UT
    June 28, 2014 3:27 p.m.

    I've recruited and placed thousands of people in my career. Remember a resume only gets you an interview, it doesn't get you a job. List a mission on your resume ONLY if you are early in your career and you need to create a logical timeline so you don't have a gap. List it as volunteer service, or something similar, and talk about teaching, leadership, and language and how it applies to the job you are seeking. Inside of Utah it probably isn't a big deal, but outside of Utah, highlighting a mission can be seen as a threat to workplace stability if employers think you are going to come and start proselyting. If you have 5 or more years of experience in your field, you can drop the mission from the resume with no problem. I say this not to detract from a mission, which is a wonderful thing, but to give yourself the best chance to show your skills and not create unnecessary bias. The only time I'd put a mission on the resume is if you are actually applying to work for the LDS Church. They like to see it.

  • rlsintx Plano, TX
    June 28, 2014 9:07 a.m.

    You can list your skills and abilities gained in and associated with your religiously oriented experiences by simply stating they were with a non-profit organization. I lived away from UT for 30 years and saw it all the time on mostly non-LDS and other socially and religiously active people's resumes. No worries to me, and I've hired hundreds of engineering and IT people through the years, and been an interviewer for the hiring of thousands as part of the staff pool.

    It is an impressive achievement to see that someone had contributed 2 years of their lives away from home in volunteer service / teaching on the streets and possibly learned a language to do so. That's leverageable, heady stuff to have in your organization. Mask the denomination, but don't throw out the skills, experience and time commitments; they tell who you are. If the employer doesn't respect who you are, you can do better - and will.

  • Eliyahu Pleasant Grove, UT
    June 28, 2014 8:36 a.m.

    The question isn't whether one need hide his religion during the hiring process, but whether having it on a resume will reduce the chances of getting an interview. Keep in mind that a good resume will be tailored for each job to which you apply. There are places, such as job fairs, where having one or two generic resumes to hand out is okay, but when you're applying to advertised job openings, learn a bit about the company and write the resume to fit. If you're applying to Deseret Publishing or to a company run by your Bishop, by all means include your mission and other church activities, but not if you're trying for a job with General Motors or the Wall Street Journal. Use the space for information that will resonate favorably with the people you want to hire you. And when you get the interview, use good judgment in deciding how much personal information to reveal.

  • Dr. Thom Long Beach, CA
    June 27, 2014 8:46 p.m.

    A colleague worked at an HBCU in East Texas and the last thing they would have put on their resume was their religion (Mormon) since it was a "Christian" college and Mormons are not considered Christian by a majority of the Christian community. But when the history department wanted someone to talk about the Church and the trek West, they asked him to give a lecture. To explain how the Church was reestablished, he just gave the 1st Discussion like they did while serving a mission in New England.

  • d_rolling_kearney Sacramento, CA
    June 27, 2014 5:35 p.m.

    RE: The Apollo Group lawsuit:
    Everyone tends to hire people they either know or relate to, when they can. Mormons who worked for a company knew other Mormons and hired them. Is that wrong? In general, the LDS Church is like a big family. Almost everything you listed also happens when people hire friends and family. If there was bad behavior, I'm not excusing it, but I'm not sure there was. Lastly, AG agreed to pay an out-of-court settlement, they weren't ordered to. Companies do this for many different reasons.

    RE: American "secular government":
    Your assertion is silly. "Of the thousands of citations quoted to support [the Founding Fathers'] ideas, 34% came from one source -- the Bible." (From the article "Early Americans Studied the Bible" on the National Center for Constitutional Studies website, NCCS [dot] net). The quotations on that page, and elsewhere, prove that the Founding Fathers relied on Biblical religion to create the country (and Constitution) and hoped that Americans would remain religious. Their only concern was for ONE RELIGION to rule the country, not religion itself. It had absolutely nothing to do with religion being "divisive," as you assert.

  • The Scientist Provo, UT
    June 27, 2014 1:21 p.m.

    happy2bhere wrote:

    "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."

    And were it not for such favoritism and religious discrimination as I cited in the first place, there would not be so much hatred of religion and the religious.

    You bring it on yourselves.

  • Dennis Harwich, MA
    June 27, 2014 5:16 a.m.

    Be smart enough to know your audience.

  • happy2bhere clearfield, UT
    June 25, 2014 9:49 a.m.

    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.

  • New Yorker Pleasant Grove, UT
    June 24, 2014 7:33 p.m.

    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!

    June 24, 2014 7:14 a.m.

    @ 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".

    June 24, 2014 7:04 a.m.

    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.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    June 24, 2014 6:48 a.m.


    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.

  • Stormwalker Cleveland , OH
    June 24, 2014 6:02 a.m.


    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.

  • No One Of Consequence West Jordan, UT
    June 24, 2014 1:42 a.m.

    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....

  • MuseCat Farmington, UT
    June 23, 2014 8:57 p.m.

    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?

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    June 23, 2014 5:09 p.m.

    @ 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.

  • Stormwalker Cleveland , OH
    June 23, 2014 4:08 p.m.

    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.

  • MuseCat Farmington, UT
    June 23, 2014 3:55 p.m.

    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.

  • Brave Sir Robin San Diego, CA
    June 23, 2014 2:59 p.m.

    @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.

  • ute alumni SLC, UT
    June 23, 2014 1:47 p.m.


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

  • shadowfx rio rancho, NM
    June 23, 2014 12:16 p.m.

    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.

  • Brave Sir Robin San Diego, CA
    June 23, 2014 12:02 p.m.

    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.

  • OHBU Columbus, OH
    June 23, 2014 10:50 a.m.

    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.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    June 23, 2014 9:36 a.m.

    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.”

  • A Scientist Provo, UT
    June 23, 2014 8:12 a.m.

    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.

  • Bob A. Bohey Marlborough, MA
    June 23, 2014 7:48 a.m.

    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?

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    June 23, 2014 7:45 a.m.

    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.