How to Keep Politics Out of Your Job Search

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Even though it's hard not to have an opinion - on candidates, campaigns, and issues - it makes good sense to keep those opinions to yourself when job searching.

Don't Share Your Political Opinions

The reason is that, in most cases, you don't have a clue about the political persuasions of the person who is interviewing you or of the management and/or owners of the company that might be interested in hiring you.

They might have a completely different opinion than you do and your advocating for your candidate of choice may hurt, instead of help, your chances of being hired.

Unless you are applying for a job with a politician or a non-profit organization that is politically oriented, there is no need for politics to be involved. Coming from a family that's a mix of Democrats, Republicans, Conservatives, and a lone Independent, I know full well that political discussions can be tough enough when you know the people involved well. We've had more than a few heated discussions at the dinner table. There's no need to go there with strangers unless your political opinions are going to be part of your job description.

How best to keep politics out of your job search? Here are a few tips:

  • Do not advertise your political affiliation unless it will benefit you. If you are applying for a job at your local town hall, which is staunchly democrat, don't mention that you're a conservative. If you are applying for a job with your local Congressman and you're both from the same political party, by all means mention it.
  • Don't walk into an interview wearing a donkey pin. Even if the company isn't political, the interviewer might be. And if s/he is a staunch Republican, you may not get past the screening interview. Same goes for any other jewelry, shirts, scarves, what-have-you, that clearly indicates your party affiliation.
  • Do you have a personal website or blog that shouts your viewpoints to the world? Don't bring it up during an interview. If you are really radical (in either direction) you might want to consider using only your first name or a different last name on the site, depending on what type of jobs you are applying for. Radical politics and the corporate world often don't mix.
  • If you have volunteered for a political campaign, you may not (and don't have to) include it on your resume. What you do on your own time is your business, and potential employers have no need to know.
  • What if you are asked which party you belong to or which candidate you support in an interview? In the United States, it isn't legal to ask what political party you are affiliated with. However, just because it isn't legal doesn't mean that you won't be asked. You can opt not to answer the question or diplomatically say that you haven't decided yet.

When it can benefit you, use your politics to your advantage. Otherwise, be discreet when you job search and keep politics out of the process.

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