Recent Resume Experiment Reveals Religious Discrimination

IMG_2085Might your faith cost you your next job?

Religious discrimination may be growing in America.  The number of complaints considered by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) increased from 1,709 in 1997 to 3,721 in 2013.

To shed light on this issue, social researcher Bradley Wright at the University of Connecticut sent 9600 resumes to 2400 job postings.  Half of the resumes included just one more additional word, such as, Catholic, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Pagan, Atheist.  The other half went with no reference to religion.*

Resumes with religion got 40% fewer responses!  The workplace climate can be cantankerous as it relates to personal faith beliefs, identity and activities.  Both employers and employees need to be thoughtful about religion at work.

Religion in Your Resume?

It depends on several factors.

  • Your experience, education and expertise.  If you do or did work for a church or ministry, graduate from a Christian school or have special knowledge, skills or expertise about religious activities, education or denomination, then “it is what it is.”  Relate what you got to what they need.
  • If the potential employing organization or person is Christian, then no need to hide your light.  Again, do your best to highlight your gifts, passion and calling as it relates to the job that needs to be done.
  • If the job is with a government agency, educational institution, business enterprise or other non-faith-based organization, then it might be wise to not reference anything religious.  Do emphasize your qualifications, qualities and accomplishments that relate directly the employer and the job.

One other resume tip to consider…

  • Approach an employer through a personal referral, not a resume.  Seek to meet the hiring manager to discover what they need, and talk with them about what you can offer.  Then, follow up with a resume tailored to exactly what you learned in-person, including church or ministry activities if appropriate.

God Prepared Work

You want your resume to be your best expression of how you are God’s masterpiece.  Relate who you are and what you do to the good works you can accomplish for the employer.  Think, pray and seek counsel about whether a particular job or employer is something to explore as work God prepared.

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* “Your Faith Might Cost You Your Next Job,” by Bradley R.E. Wright in Christianity Today Magazine June 2014 Pages 57-59.   See also at http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2014/june/workplace-employment-religious-discrimination-research.html

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