Presenting My Involvement in a Diversity Network: Ask the Expert

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How should your resume or CV treat your involvement in a corporate gay and lesbian network? To start, keep it in the context of your job search.

During my years at a U.S. investment bank, I played an active role in the firm's gay and lesbian diversity network. In searching for new employment opportunities, should I mention that involvement in my CV? I don't want to be disadvantaged by recruiters or employers thinking either I won't be 100-percent committed to a new position, or that because of my orientation, I won't be a "good fit" for the new team.

I always recommend that people maximize the content of their resumes or CVs to ensure they clearly demonstrate that their qualifications match a job's requirements. Any information that doesn't bolster your credentials or distracts the employer from identifying qualifications is clutter. The less clutter on a resume, the greater your chances of making a strong impression.

It's important to assess all facets of your experience, skills and expertise in a way that determines what makes you a more viable candidate. As a rule of thumb, evaluate each facet individually. If it makes you a stronger candidate, include it. If it doesn't, eliminate it.

There's more at issue here than credentials and career strengths. It's important for your resume or CV to place your candidacy on solid footing, and for nothing to provide employers with the opportunity to discriminate even before they meet you. In the U.S., many laws are designed to protect you from discrimination, and it's usually in your best interest to avoid providing information that relates to ethnicity, sex, religion, marital or family status, medical conditions, age or disability.

Some individuals communicate that they don't care if an employer discriminates against them based on, let's say, religion or orientation: They wouldn't be comfortable working in an environment that doesn't support their lifestyle or values. So, bottom line, it's really up to you on whether you include this information and how you present your credentials. You have just two pages, and how you fill those pages is truly your choice.

Resumes and CVs aren't set in stone. As we work through the interview process, we revise them as we identify which credentials are the most desirable. So, at the outset choose one way to proceed. If you find you're not getting the response you want, change it. And keep changing it until you find the best and most authentic way to present yourself.

Robbie Miller Kaplan, a nationally-recognized expert on career communications, is the author of "How to Say It In Your Job Search" and "How to Say It When You Don't Know What to Say: The Right Words for Difficult Times," published by Prentice Hall Press.

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