“My mission is to serve the Lord and be His disciple on the earth.” Over recent years I’ve come across CVs with these sorts of comments which had led to some fascinating conversations about the balance between faith and the workplace. Sometimes these conversations lead to students becoming defensive about their faith and their right to proclaim it.
And so we need to take a step back and think about the whole purpose of a CV or application. A CV is not intended to be a whole reflection of your life. It tends not to include personal details about marriage, children, politics or faith. The documents purpose is to provide the employer with sufficient information about your skills and attributes to determine whether to invite you for interview. And nothing else.
But this is clearly a divisive issue for some:
When interviewing, if a potential employee starts to mention anything religious, I stop them in their tracks. There is NO place for discussion of religion in a professional environment.
If I saw their religion mentioned outside of work on their resume they would not make the interview, as it’s clear they don’t understand the basic rules of business.
Having mention of volunteer work in a church would be fine, as long as more information isn’t shoehorned in. I shouldn’t be able to tell from it if you are still practising.
This is a quote from an online forum where Christians debate this very issue. There are some very polarised views:
In short, yes. I believe you should mention it.
I am not ashamed of the gospel. And, at my current job (been there almost two years) my boss knew the importance of my faith from the interview. She is also a militant atheist and still did not discriminate.
When I’ve been disciplined at work, I’ve had the chance to directly share my faith because I confessed that not only were actions lazy, etc. it was contrary to my faith. I could tell she appreciated that.
To me this is very much a question of personal judgement. As a recruiter I would welcome information about a candidate’s faith only so far as it gives me information about their skills and abilities. For example, a CV stating that a candidate volunteers twice a week at their local church is useful; one which randomly says “I have a faith” isn’t. Think like a recruiter – what information do they need and what is the best way for you to present it? Sometimes you need to give a bit more detail about the role you were volunteering in rather than the organisation you are doing it for.
Faith is a protected characteristic and therefore it is generally unlawful to discriminate against somebody based on their religious belief. However it can generate uncertainty, particularly in an increasingly secular society. It might raise, often irrational, questions in the recruiter: Will your faith prevent you from working on specific projects (e.g. armed services) or with some people (e.g. gay colleagues)? If you are raising the issue of faith with an employer, you need to be able to provide absolute reassurances about how you work.
And there is no doubt that having a faith can be an asset in the workplace. It can allow you to think differently, approach problems with alternative solutions. It can also enhance your network, providing opportunities to meet others of faith in the workplace.
- Christian Business Leaders Network
- London Muslim Professionals Meetup
- Sikh Entrepreneur Network
- Jewish Business Network
- Remember the purpose of a CV or Application Form is to get you an interview. It only needs a carefully curated information set to reflect the job role, not your whole life on one page!
- Ensure everything you provide is absolutely relevant.
- Be prepared to provide assurances of your professionalism should your faith be discussed.