Does a résumé have to be nonpartisan these days?
Q: I’m afraid the current political climate may interfere with my getting a job. After spending many years in government, I would like to find a position in the private sector. However, most of my experience has been partisan in nature, working either on national campaigns or in the White House many years ago.
Given the deep political divisions today, I worry that people with opposing views will automatically reject my résumé. I have considered using vague terms to describe my work, but that might look as though I’m lying. What would you suggest?
A: Crafting a completely nonpartisan description of your background could render your résumé meaningless. However, emphasizing positions instead of politics might make it appear more neutral.
For example, if you list “communications director” with the White House as your employer, the dates will obviously reveal which party was in power. But if you describe your responsibilities without using political terms, a prospective employer may disregard your party affiliation.
Also, you might be overestimating your obstacles. While a quarter of the population may reject you out of hand, folks on the other end of the spectrum will consider your politics a plus. And those who are uncommitted will primarily be concerned with your qualifications.