Politics – Helpful or Hurtful?

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Twice in the last week the topic of whether or not your involvement in politics should be disclosed – in one instance on a resume, the other as part of a scholarship application.
I was fortunate to be a part of #MentoringMonday, a national event coordinated by Business Journals across the country.  The question was asked by a soon-to-graduate senior who had most recently done an internship at one of Arizona’s elected officials’ campaign headquarters.  She wondered if having the internship listed on her resume would somehow impact her opportunities.  If a potential employer disagreed with the politics of that particular elected official, would they hold that against her?  On the flipside, she isn’t interested in pursuing a career in political communications but found the experience valuable and is proud of the work she did there.
The other instance was a question posed on a friend’s Facebook page – she wondered if incorporating politics into your answers on a scholarship application was a good idea.  Not knowing who the scholarship reviewers would be, is it smart to share such information.
My answer to the graduating senior was yes, keep it on your resume.  I told her to highlight what her accomplishments were and use the cover letter to provide additional insight into the experience and what she learned.
As for the scholarship application, I feel it would depend on why the applicant felt it was important to include. Does it demonstrate a point of view or is it used to discuss a specific way of thinking that is relevant to the application? I have no problem with it and am all for differing opinions as long as they are clearly articulated and not argumentative.
But I am curious to know what others think.  Would seeing involvement in politics, whether the same party as yours or not, impact your hiring decision? Would it make a difference to you whether you awarded a scholarship or not?

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at Apr 7, 2017

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