A question we often get at NeW from college students and young professionals alike is, “Should I include my involvement with NeW on my resume?” Or more broadly, “How can I include work I’ve done in the conservative movement?”
Navigating political topics while job searching can be a tricky thing—especially when you’re in a field outside of the political sphere—but that doesn’t mean that you should avoid including this experience altogether. Serving as a chapter leader with NeW or working on a local congressional race after graduating are both great experiences where you gain several sought after and transferable skills. It would be doing yourself a disservice to leave experiences like these unmentioned.
In general, focusing on highlighting specific skills gained and emphasizing accomplishments you achieved in neutral bullet points is the best way to approach including these experiences on your resume. Keeping your skills front and center and showing how they are relevant to the jobs you are seeking is paramount. Below are examples of how this can be put into action.
Chapter President—Network of enlightened Women
- Developed a recruitment strategy to build our membership base and reach a new audience which resulted in a 33% increase in member sign ups.
- Planned and executed 5 educational and professional development events per semester for our chapter’s 45 members, including hosting our local congresswoman for a networking reception.
- Fostered a chapter environment that supported women and encouraged a free exchange of ideas
Field Organizer—U.S. Congressional Race
- Developed the campaign’s successful grassroots strategy by analyzing demographic data and implementing a targeted canvassing approach for the district
- Coordinated community organizing efforts including door knocking and phone banking that resulted in 127,000 voter touches—a number that surpassed our goal by 17%—during the general election cycle
- Managed a team of 20 volunteer leaders and 5 campaign interns
My rule of thumb with resumes, though, is that it’s always better to put your full self forward. Job searching is a two-way street and seeing how a prospective employer reacts to different parts of your experience can be very telling of the work environment you may be entering. Take some time to consider whether or not you’d like to work for a company that would make a hiring decision based on your past political involvement.
When it comes down to it, each job is different and the level of detail you choose to include about your past experiences during an application process can vary. The best thing you can do is be ready to discuss your experience in a calm and productive manner and be able to speak to how these skills make you an asset for the company.
Have a specific question about including past experience on your resume or can’t quite get that bullet on your time with NeW right? The NeW staff is always here to help our members throughout their job search process. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to get connected with someone from our team who can help.
This blog was written by Marisa Brand, Professional Network Coordinator.