The ‘Identity Transparency’ Conundrum

By, Ashley Crimaldi

As I was applying for summer internships this past spring, I had a lot of difficulty determining what to include on my resume. My first thought? Everything! But on second thought, I wondered if including everything I’m involved with might have cost me an opportunity. I call this ‘Identity Transparency’.

As a woman heavily involved in many social justice issues on my campus, advocacy, awareness raising and diversity groups, I’m pretty clearly marked, dare I say, with a ‘Feminist’, ideology. I theorized that such activities would exude a passionate drive to make the world a better place to potential employers. I’m the type of college student who cares about her community, right? Well, maybe.

After absent calls from several business and journalistic entities I’d applied to, I realized listing, ‘Feminist Student Union President’ and ‘The Vagina Monologues Performance’ on my resume may not have been such great idea. Of course, the progressive non-profit publication I work for currently saw those activities as an asset to their team, but apparently not everyone had the same reaction.

Depending on the company, it may be better to appear a bit ‘apolitical’ or ‘uninformed’ (sad right?). According to advice I’ve been given by a PR professional, only list activities and leadership positions that are directly relevant to the position in which you are applying to, and be ready to discuss how so in an interview.

I’m not suggesting that you leave your identity or political interests at the door- but do be mindful of what you are including on a resume, and how it may appear to potential employers. In the end (if you got an interview), if they like you and you’re good at your job what you do in your free time shouldn’t matter. However, in industries like journalism, it’s ideal to appear as ‘objective’ as possible. For some people hiding your identity would be merely impossible in an Internet age. Personally, my feminist identity is one that I can’t hide, and if someone doesn’t want to hire me because of that, I probably wouldn’t want to work there anyway.

What do you think of ‘identity transparency’? Have you ever experienced a similar situation? How have you handled keeping work on the side separate from your day job? Tell us what you think!

Ms. Career Girl

Ms. Career Girl was started in 2008 to help ambitious young professional women figure out who they are, what they want and how to get it.

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