Here in DC, we know better than most about the divided nature of our political, cultural, and religious landscape. Given this reality, when it seems every element of a person’s life is put under a microscope and judged faster than you can say TMZ, you might be asking yourself whether or not you should include your experience working or volunteering for a cause, candidate, or religious organization on your resume.

Here’s a few things to consider:


Ask yourself: Just how important is this experience to my identity? If, for example, you’ve spent the last four years working tirelessly for a group working to combat climate change and the idea of working for an organization that isn’t “green” is unfathomable to you, then you should likely include it on your resume. Simply put, would you want to work for an organization that would discriminate against you because of something you feel so passionately about? If, however, the answer to this question is a half-hearted “meh,” it might be wise to this experience off.


As you fine-tune your resume, ask yourself another question: Would I be comfortable discussing my experience with an organization during an interview with a hiring manager? Interviews are stressful to begin with. So, if you the answer is a clear “no,” you may want to think twice about including your affiliation with that group from your resume.


Did you help organize and carry off a large-scale event? Raise significant amount of money your operating budget? Bring a national thought leader to campus? Design your group’s website? If you can honestly answer yes to these or other questions that show off a marketable or technical skill– particularly one that is relevant to the job you’re applying for – then it’s a good idea to include this experience on your resume. Focus on your accomplishments. On the flipside, be honest with yourself. If you just showed up for the pizza or because your crush was on the board and you have little to show for your time, it’s likely smart to not include this on your resume.


In some states there are no legal protections for certain classes of people. Laws against employment discrimination based on sexual orientation, for example, exists in DC (and 12 states) but not Texas where it is perfectly legal for potential employers to ask if you’re gay, and then hire or fire applicants/employees based on their answers. Know what legal protections you do or don’t have depending on where the job you are applying for is located. Consider this fact when including experience with relevant organizations/groups.