talking about Jesus on a resume, I threw my boss under the bus when I quit, and more

It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…

1. Candidate’s resume talks about Jesus

I manage 16 direct reports as well as our internship program and I ran into something that stumped me (honestly many things do). We received a request for an internship from a college student. She seems nice and I know she doesn’t have a ton of work experience. However, she very prominently lists religious-themed work like “helping them take one step closer to Jesus” and “led Bible study.” While this might be fine, we are a government agency that is basically religion-neutral. I’m also atheist so I’m not sure if that is coloring my opinion here. We will be passing on offering her an internship but I’m not sure if I should mention not including Jesus so prominently in a resume to a government office? I’m torn — would it be helpful to her? Or just my own biases clouding my judgment?

“Helping them take one step closer to Jesus” does not belong on a resume for any job, with the possible exception of some clearly religious jobs (and it still wouldn’t be appropriate for a lot of them). I’m less concerned with “led Bible study,” particularly if she contextualized it to show how it’s relevant to the work she’s applying to do, but “helping them take one step closer to Jesus” is one of the most flagrantly out-of-place resume inclusions I’ve ever heard about. (And I have heard about a lot.)

But while it’s a kind impulse to offer advice, I wouldn’t, especially in a government office. There’s too much risk of being (wrongly) accused of rejecting her on the basis of religion.

2. Was it wrong to throw my manager under the bus when I left?

I left my job because of my manager. Was it wrong to throw him under the bus?

Suffice it to say, there were red flags early on after my internal transfer to report to the Infantile Twit (IT hereafter). I ignored them at first, then started documenting these interactions with screenshots of his problematic emails and direct messages. When I reached the point of looking for other jobs to get away from him, I brought up my concerns with his manager, my Übermanager (UM). I used words like “uncomfortable,” “unsettling,” and “demoralizing” when describing my experience reporting to IT. UM seemed unperturbed, but mumbled something about having a word with him.

When I finally gave my notice, I took all of my notes and screenshots and talking points and wrapped them up in a nice little bow, subject “I resign — here’s why” and sent them on to UM’s manager and my HR rep. I cc’d both IT and UM.

I don’t expect there to be much in the way of consequences for either of them — it was nothing truly heinous, and I’m just a disgruntled former employee, after all. Even if there were consequences, I would probably never hear about it anyway.

But is it bad that it felt so good?

Nah. This kind of thing is supposed to feel good; that’s why people do it, at least in part! What’s the point of a big mic drop moment if you don’t get to enjoy it?

Now, was it wise? Maybe not. I can’t say without knowing more about what the problems were. For all I know, you might have been overreacting all along. Or you might not have been. And there are trade-offs to this kind of thing (future references, maybe reputation in some cases). But sometimes you understand the trade-offs and decide you’re okay with them. And if that’s the case, feel free to enjoy the moment.

3. Can I ask for a higher salary my second week on the job?

I recently accepted a job offer and I’ve just completed week one of three weeks of training. I didn’t negotiate when the offer was presented (partly because I was offered the higher position I had originally requested but was forewarned I didn’t quite have the number of years of experience for) and in the midst of my euphoria I didn’t negotiate properly for the salary of the position I was offered.

It is my understanding (based on research online) that I was offered the low end of the base pay. I believe I am short $10,000.

The offer came with a sign on bonus of $5,000 but that only partly covers the gap in year one. Every subsequent year thereafter readjusts me back to an ever widening gap starting at the $10,000 deficit. It is also my expectation that there isn’t a bonus pay structure.

Needless to say, I’m kicking myself for not negotiating. So what now? Do I take the sooner-is-better approach and contact HR (or the manager?) about this during week two of training? Or do I wait until the company annual review and propose a base pay reset of +$10,000 to be included to the yearly 2-4% general bump.

Oh no. Unfortunately, now that you’ve accepted the offer, you can’t go back and renegotiate, just like they can’t come back to you now and say they’ve decided they want to offer you less money. If either side did that, it would rightly look like they were operating in bad faith.

When is the company’s annual review cycle that you mentioned? If you’ll have been there close to a year when that happens, that’s the time to ask for a raise. You can’t really ask much earlier than a year, unless the job changes in some significant way from what you were brought on to do.

(For what it’s worth, online salary sites aren’t always the best at giving accurate salary ranges for a particular position. They tend to be so broad that it’s tricky to apply them directly. If your sense that you’re underpaid is based only on those, I wouldn’t put a lot of weight on it; you’ll get more accurate info from other methods.)

4. Is it better to apply for a job through an outside website or at the company’s own website?

My husband is a successful senior level project manager at a large corporation. He has worked for the same company for 20 years so has little experience applying for jobs but now he’s interested in pursuing other opportunities. I’m helping him with his resume and cover letter because I have experience with that … but I work in nonprofits so some things about the corporate world I have no idea about!

The main question I have is whether it is better to apply through LinkedIn or directly through a company’s website. My husband thinks LinkedIn is just as good as direct … but my experience with posting board positions or similar on LinkedIn is that we get hundreds of unrelated applications and so the good applicants are harder to identify. But maybe this is different for large corporations vs. smaller nonprofits? Which is better?

Applying through the company’s website is nearly always better if it’s an option. Sometimes it makes no difference, but sometimes companies pay more attention to submissions that come to them directly (in part because outside sites can flood them with unqualified applicants, as you note). Outside sites sometimes format submissions in weird ways too, and it can be harder (or impossible, depending on the site) to customize your resume to a specific job. Also, depending on how the company has their resume intake set up, resumes submitted from an outside site might not go to the same place as resumes submitted directly — and if that’s the case, sometimes they might not even check the pile of outside submissions as frequently or at all.

5. Why do so many recruiters contact me right after I start a new job?

It seems that whenever I start a new job, recruiters start contacting me within a month or two of my starting. I’m in an industry where people don’t necessarily stay in the same job for very long, but it still takes months to get up to speed, and it seems odd that people would expect you to change jobs so quickly after starting. Isn’t job-hopping a bad thing? Wouldn’t it speak poorly of a candidate if they were lured away so quickly? Obviously people can find that a job isn’t a great fit before the ramp-up time is finished, but it still seems like a peculiar strategy with pretty long odds.

Yeah, this does seem to be a thing! I’m just speculating, but I think they figure people aren’t always happy in their new roles and if things aren’t going the way you want, maybe you’d jump at a chance to move on. Any recruiters reading want to comment?

{ 499 comments… read them below }

  1. Anne_Not_Carrot*

    Oh boy. I was a pastor for 15 years and when I moved into secular non-profit work I never mentioned Jesus in my resume. Translating church work into corporate speak can be difficult but some of the basics (don’t list an accomplishment like “winning souls to Christ” (also I hate that phrase)) seem pretty basic. But I also agree that you shouldn’t tell her because of the potential discrimination issues.

    1. Snuck*

      I included Street Chaplaincy on a CV in the past… under “Other Interests” (back when it was the norm to do that in my area).

      I’d never say anything that specific, or include the name Jesus on a resume.

      If the girl asks for feedback I’d offer it gently, emphasis on picking someone else for their skills blah blah not the Jesus thing… but then say “oh, but something that struck us as odd, and we dont’ see often… on your resume you mentioned you bring people to Jesus – that’s a very unusual thing to put, and for some people might be off putting for hiring you. I commend you for your passion, it’s great to have that, but unless the job role is specifically looking for that I probably wouldn’t put it down, just as you wouldn’t put Roller Derby down unless you were applying to work with youth or at a roller rink hrm?” And leave it. She’s probably getting junk advice somewhere.

      1. Spencer Hastings*

        I mean, people do put hobbies on their resumes sometimes, depending on the field, and I gather that it’s extremely normal for college students. I think people have put their fingers on what the problem is further down in the comments: she’s talking about religion in a way that *presupposes* that the religion is true, which is off-putting to those with other or no religious beliefs. The norm in the workplace is to talk about religion more neutrally. I don’t know if I’d tell her all that, but I do think the roller derby thing would be misleading.

        1. Name Goes Here*

          Yes. Which is pretty normal for many college students, especially if they’ve been raised around people who share their faith. She needs someone to step in and explain it to her, but it should be a trusted mentor or teacher, not OP.

          1. Momma Bear*

            Yeah, not OP. There’s a lot you can’t say about/to an applicant to avoid appearing biased.

            It is very different to list something like First Church of Somewhere, Youth Leader in volunteer experience than to put “winning souls” in the main body of the resume or under skills. I’m reasonably religious but I find that off-putting and would wonder if she’d be able to work with everyone in our diverse company or not.

            1. EchoGirl*

              I was thinking the same thing. I haven’t done much religious work but there was a time where I included some of my volunteer work on political campaigns on my resume, and one of the things that I was told was that it’s okay to put that there, but to really make a point of documenting it like any other job and to avoid including more than was absolutely necessary regarding the specifics of the campaign. I imagine the same would apply for experience in a religious setting.

            2. Self Employed*

              What her statements said to me is that sooner or later, I would have to ask her to stop badgering her coworkers about religion at work if I hired her. Her qualifications would have to be at least one standard deviation higher than the next best person to subject my organization to that–and hers were not above average for the applicant pool, I take it.

        2. SometimesALurker*

          Yes, I think “She’s talking about religion in a way that *presupposes* that the religion is true, which is off-putting to those with other or no religious beliefs. The norm in the workplace is to talk about religion more neutrally,” is exactly what’s wrong with it!

      2. somanyquestions*

        I would not mention this at all, in any way. I’d want to, definitely, but religion is a protected status. People sue over far less.

        1. Queer Earthling*

          Also, as an ex-vangelical…certain groups (like the ones who are likely to encourage someone to put “winning souls for Christ” on a resume) list this stuff to try to encourage you to call them on it, because it feeds into their persecution complex, which they will often back up with lawyers. Better to just ignore.

          1. Idril Celebrindal*

            Can confirm. You get training on it, both what to say to provoke a reaction, and what words to use to claim persecution/ discrimination.

            1. ampersand*

              Oh wow. It’s disturbing to hear that this is a thing that people are trained on. Yikes.

          2. SometimesALurker*

            That’s a very useful perspective, thank you. As someone without that background, I had read it as “this young person hasn’t been taught how to use language that will come across as neutral, and it doesn’t occur to her that this phrasing isn’t going to sound neutral in an interfaith or secular context.” Her intent might still be benign, but it’s good to remember that the people who taught her resume skills might not have been making an innocent omission.

            1. Snuck*

              Yeah it’s a bit exhausting to think that people are intentionally teaching university students tactics to create conflict. Ugh!

          3. SD*

            My husband, who was an elementary principal, recalls a woman applying for a teaching job who commented that since they had (a white woman from another English speaking country) on staff, all they needed now was her (a woman from a Pacific island). The hiring committee didn’t respond to that gambit and she wasn’t the final candidate. She then repeated a version of that in an interview at another school in town. They took the bait. They also didn’t find her to be the best candidate, hired someone else, and she sued for discrimination.

            Note: This woman had been a substitute teacher at both schools, so they had some experience with her performance. She wasn’t bad, but she wasn’t a star either. Both schools went for a star applicant.

            1. Snuck*

              I’m trying to image how I’d respond to such a load of drivel in an interview?!! Shock would be hard to conceal! “Gosh, that’s an interesting idea, now tell me more about your experience with complex students in non structured times like recess please?” Deflect and distract? Holy sardines I’d be stumped!

              1. I am Jack's Something-or-Other*

                The good news is that every statement doesn’t require (or deserve) a response. No need to acknowledge their comment at all. You could just blankly stare with a moment of silence, followed by, “Tell me more about your experience with complex students…”

                Let them feel the awkwardness. :)

      3. Yorick*

        I think if you wanted to give advice to someone, you could say something like “It was good to include your leadership activities at church, since many of those skills are transferrable to work and you don’t have a lot of work history to demonstrate those with. But the more personal aspects of your religious activities don’t belong on your resume.”

        But I wouldn’t give this feedback in this case, because it’s going to get emotionally wrapped up in the fact that they weren’t selected.

      4. JSPA*

        Besides being a faux pas…besides being problematic for anyone doing hiring…There’s an internal logic flaw that bothers me.

        If one believes one’s credo hard enough to put this on one’s resume, one presumably feels one is promoting the one true path, and that salvation is a thing people thirst for.

        If someone has the one true path to anything…and furthermore, it’s a thing that people thirst for…then being the intermediary in that transaction says basically zilch about you and your sales skills, beyond, “I was present.”

        It’s like, “I successfully handed people gatorade during the marathon.”

        Either one says, “I ran out of relevant skills to list, so here are some irrelevant personal experiences that were memorable and important to me.”

    2. pleaset cheap rolls*

      “Helping them take one step closer to Jesus”

      I read this and thought “I hope that means proselytizing and not murder…..”

      “Winning souls” is better….

      1. Cthulhu’s Librarian*

        *snrk* I love this comment.

        Now, imagine if it was “claiming souls” or “ delivering souls”

      2. INFJedi*

        “Helping them take one step closer to Jesus”

        I read this and thought “I hope that means proselytizing and not murder…..”

        I’m glad that I wasn’t the only one thinking this (speaking as a Christian myself)

      3. CoveredInBees*

        Wait, is this why the pamphlets that proselytizers leave at my door often have death-y symbols on them? That makes things so much worse. It’s already bad enough that they see my Jewishness as a challenge.

        1. CommanderBanana*

          I open the door, glare, point to my mezuzah and then slam the door shut.

          1. Rebecca1*

            The mezuzah is irrelevant to them. They don’t care where someone is coming from, only about their “sales” numbers.

            1. DJ Abbott*

              They may not know what a mezuzah is. I had to look it up. Doesn’t excuse their disrespect though!

          2. DJ Abbott*

            Up to now I suspected you might be someone I know… but she’s not Jewish, she belongs to a religion not so common in the US.
            Isn’t it cool to know there are more like you? :)

      4. Penny Padegimas*

        Pleaset Cheap Rolls…you almost made me spit my peach coconut refresher all over my laptop!

      5. TardyTardis*

        I tell people that I have a gray thumb, helping plants on their way to the next life…

    3. Lilo*

      I think that also “winning souls to Christ” doesn’t translate to a job skill. If she could talk about how she organized and prepared for weekly meetings, that’s a little more relevant.

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        If it involved standing up before the congregation that could be pitched as public speaking: “Gave presentations to a large audience.”

        1. Lilo*

          It totally slipped my mind until just now but as a teen I used to work for our church’s choir director and it used to be on my resume. But it was all about how I managed membership rolls, scheduled the performances, and organized all the music.

          1. Sara without an H*

            Yes, that could definitely be relevant and appropriate for a young person just starting out. Moving people “one step closer to Jesus” isn’t, even for a church job. (And how would she know?)

        2. Anne_Not_Carrot*

          I have “prepared and delivered 20-min persuasive speeches weekly in front of x number of people.” I got a lot of comments that it was an effective way to present sermons and they never thought about the work behind that particular skill before.

      2. Chinook*

        Ditto. As a believer myself, my gut reaction to that phrase is “are you sure it was you an not Jesus that did the work?”

        The leading a Bible study, though, is a task that requires distinct skills but runs the risk of being discriminated against by people like the OP who don’t realize they are doing it. When listing volunteer tasks at church, I go distinctly vague even though it underplays the level of responsibility because leading a local chapter of a national women’s group is different from leading a group of church ladies (because I also feel responsible for souls under my leadership, but my non-church boss doesn’t need to know that).

        But letting the applicant know all this is not the OP’s job (unless the candidate is hired, which shows it wasn’t used againg them) because it could very easily read as unconscious bias and discrimination.

        1. Em*

          “Organized and moderated weekly book club with X number of people. Coordinated refreshment and location rotas, researched discussion questions, and ensured productive discussion of sometimes-contentious themes.”

          Same book every week, but hey!

          1. Em*

            (Actually, having said that, I don’t know if Bible study sessions ARE always the same book. Presumably you’d want to read other books on theology, history, etc. to get context. And different versions of the Bible have different bits in them, which would be interesting to compare and figure out why Judith, for instance, which is a cracking good read, is in this Bible but not that one. Not that this is relevant to OP at all.)

            1. Chinook*

              Depends on how you view the Bible – I was taught it is a collection of books with different authors, literary styles and from different original languages. Studying Song of Songs (which can be read as more erotic) is very different than the sections that give someone’s genealogy or the escape from Egypt. I was taught to approach them differently, which makes for different discussions on different nights. And the Catholic version have a few more books (which includes Judith, I believe)

              As for non-biblical books, you can use them as extra resources (and there are 2,000+ years of Christian biblical scholarship plus the Jewish scholarship on the Torah) but you don’t study them the same way (in fact, that is a completely different type of study group and one I much prefer to lead).

              Leading a Bible Study does require tact and a gentle touch because, above and beyond the usual issues of any group of people meeting to discuss anything, you have the added aspect of managing personal belief systems and possibly shattering world views unintentionally/opposing view points being taken personally. I don’t know how non-Catholic study groups do it because I can at least point to the Catholic Catechism to say why an interpretation is wildly wrong and why and bring us back to a more centralized discussion. For those who lean towards personal interpretation, I can see how it would take a certain type of personality to “herd the cats” such a group can create.

        2. purplehawke*

          I was gonna say, this sounds like something that belongs on the Holy Spirit’s resume, not this person’s.

        1. azvlr*

          The thing that stood out to me is that it’s not phrased in a quantifiable way. What evidence can the candidate provide that x number of souls were put in touch with Jesus because of them. So yeah, if I were to offer any feedback at all (and I wouldn’t touch that with a ten-foot pole as the hiring org), I would suggest they rephrase it to something like you suggested.

            1. Birdie*

              I grew up in an evangelical church, and sales was the first thing that came to mind for me…

      3. BadWolf*

        Indeed. There’s “I creep up on people doing yard work and ask them if they’ve been saved by Jesus” and “I organized and ran a booth of volunteers at a local festival to promote our church.”

      4. Hats Are Great*

        It’s also the sort of thing you should underplay a bit on the resume, and can explain clearly in person in the interview, when the other person can see you’re not an axe murderer for Jesus and that you can appropriately discuss religion in a secular context (which is to say, not trying to evangelize the interviewer). With a little practice, you can both talk about how it was a larger job with more responsibilities than the interviewer might realize, AND use that to show your clear understanding of the separation between church work and secular work.

        This sounds like the kind of kid who, even if she manages to make the resume into bland corporate speak, is going to come into the interview quoting Jeremiah earnestly. She either needs to work at a (her sort of) Christian organization (and probably get disillusioned with it and learn appropriate skills for secular work on her own time), or be told by a trusted mentor not to talk about religion at work at all.

      5. MassMatt*

        Well, it’s inappropriate for a resume, but honestly I’m thinking people that proselytize like this are basically like (very aggressive) salespeople. Perhaps they could do sales, or canvas for a nonprofit or political campaign. Or hawk products on sidewalks or trade shows. If this candidate were thinking (or better advised), she could probably transfer some of those skills.

        That said, I’d put this resume in the “hard no” pile, and I definitely would not offer advice or engage her in explaining why except in the most general terms. Trying to help rejected applicants with advice seems to backfire far more often than not, and as other commenters have mentioned, it’s entirely possible this applicant has been coached to provoke a response in order to make some sort of discrimination claim.

        It’s not the responsibility of people hiring to help applicants better present themselves, their responsibility is to be fair while finding the right people to fill their jobs.

      6. Paulina*

        If I saw “met and exceeded soul acquisition targets” on a resume, I’d wonder which ‘side’ they were working for.

        1. Not Your Sweetheart*

          Somewhere, there must be a fantasy novel where the 2 sides hired sales people. I would probably read that.

      7. lunameow*

        I was thinking similar. Like, don’t volunteer any feedback, but if she did ask, maybe say something like “I see here you have ‘helping them take one step closer to Jesus,’ but that doesn’t really tell us what you did to bring that about. Perhaps use that part to talk about specific skills, such as public speaking, networking, or salesmanship?” She gets her feedback, you get the chance to tell her that the information is completely unhelpful, and without having to even bring up whether it’s appropriate.

    4. MissDisplaced*

      I think there are some thing that could be ok, but there’s a huge difference between “Teaching Sunday School to 5-8 year olds,” and “Does the bookkeeping and fundraising for X-Church,” to “Winning souls for Jesus.”

      1. Baska*

        As someone who works for a church, church jobs are real jobs! There are definitely times where listing “I worked for Religious Institution X” is appropriate on a CV. Just like all other jobs, it’s important to list your accomplishments, transferable skills, etc. So, for example, “Oversaw the migration of the church database to a new content management system for ease of use by staff or volunteers” is fine. “Led a youth retreat for 15 teenagers” is also fine. “Converted 20 people to the love of Christ” is… definitely not-fine.

        1. KayDeeAye*

          Absolutely – church jobs are most definitely real jobs (and there are even volunteer positions that might belong on a resume). But “Soul Gatherer” isn’t one of them. :-)

      2. Tenebrae*

        I’ve done some student hiring. Stuff like ‘volunteered at Sunday school’ or ‘led Bible study’ we generally considered neutral to positive and basically treated it as equivalent to belonging to a student organization- probably less intense than a job but still building some skills and experience.

    5. Dust Bunny*

      Yeah (I’m also an atheist, for the record) I can think of a lot of concrete skills acquired in a church setting that would translate to secular work, but “bringing souls to Jesus” is not among them. I used to do childcare and Sunday school assistant so I guess if I were applying to a daycare assistant’s position or something, I could put that–there are people who could actually give me references on it. But I would never put anything that was . . . I’m not sure how to express this except maybe spirituality-based? on a resume. My religious background is deliberately non-evangelical and we don’t have an equivalent to “bringing souls to Jesus”, and I only ever served in sort of nuts-and-bolts capacities (childcare, library committee), not worshipful ones, so I don’t think I’d have anything that amorphous to even try to put on a resume.

      I do have a bunch of hobbies and have taught workshops and helped organize events for those, and maybe those skills would apply not because of the specific hobbies themselves but because of the event component.

      1. Chinook*

        ” I could put that–there are people who could actually give me references on it.”

        I think you found the line to teach those new to the work world – you can put it on a resume if you could, in theory, have someone give you a reference for your work.

        Sunday School childcare – there would be parents and a supervisor
        Church bookkeeper – you would have a boss
        Raised 2 children – would the children be your reference?
        Converted X souls – who would vouch for those numbers?

      2. Here we go again*

        It’s because you can’t prove it. That’s between an individual and God. Things that go on a resume need have evidence.
        It’s not like organizing church fundraiser, or editing church newsletter. You can prove you did that.

        1. Self Employed*

          And organizing fundraisers or editing newsletters are activities that demonstrate skills whether or not they’re in a church.

    6. Shabang*

      I would ignore the religious part, unless it goes into skills that do have something to do with the job you are hiring for. You do not want to give the impression EVER that someone wasn’t hired because of religious belief.

    7. Artemesia*

      This. It is not the OP’s job to educate the world. Any mention of this resume faux pas will be discussed by the applicant as ‘persecution’ and a law suit is not out of the question. I have observed this pattern in people who try to proselytize at every turn and you should not touch the question of religion but just put her in the ‘no’ pile for her total lack of good sense.

    8. Hats Are Great*

      Yeah, same. And you go into it knowing that some people are going to throw your resume in the trash when they see “Senior Financial Analyst, Chancellory of the Catholic Diocese of Los Angeles” or “Youth Pastor, First Methodist.” On the flip side, when you get into the interview, people always ask about it, and it’s usually a great chance to talk intelligently about how serving as a pastor involves X unique governance and management concerns and processes, and how having been exposed to that illuminates your understanding of governance and management norms in Y industry. It always gave me an excellent way to show that while I was interviewing for an individual contributor role in secular work, I understood how that role fit into the larger picture and had a nuanced understanding of bigger issues in the industry.

    9. ThatOnePlease*

      Yeah, this is a big nope. I’m an observant Jew and proselytizing creeps me out, so I would be super put off by this type of language. Candidates are much better served by translating faith-based work into relevant experience (group facilitation, research and writing, etc.), rather than assuming anyone reading their resume will align with their faith and outlook on religious practices.

    10. Anenemous*

      I wonder if she is a student at a Christian college. Having attended one, it becomes the norm to use language like that all the time for a lot of people don’t realize how they sound to someone who doesn’t share their background. It isn’t professional to use on a resume though and hopefully she learns that as she has more exposure to the world. Even if she was applying to a religious or church job she would probably need to change her language. Leading a Bible study might have some good transferable skills but taking someone one step closer to Christ is just purely subjective. I don’t think you trying to tell her this would be helpful. I totally agree with Allison.

      1. Rebecca1*

        I want to know exactly what “one step closer” means. Does her church have a specific series of steps that they use as a metric? What are they?

        1. Aitch Arr*

          I keep hearing the late Chester Bennington in my head while reading this thread.

          And I’m about to……


    11. tamarack and fireweed*

      Yes, exactly. The problem isn’t that she had these jobs (I’m sure they come with as many transferable skills as others), or that she lists them (of course she shouldn’t hide them), but that she has not understood the difference between in-group terminology and inter-group communication.

      A job that is listed as:
      [date] – [date] — XY Church (part time) — Bible School Leader — Taught denominational youth program according to [XY Federation] curriculum
      … is 100% absolutely fine. Same for any other religion. But you frame it in terms that are part of the general vocabulary. (And if the job title is too obscure, you translate it into terms someone who zero knowledge of how your religion works can be expected to understand.)

      This framing also offers an opening to actually talk about this, at least to cohorts of interns. Because the same applies for an ex military person seeking employment in the civilian sector, an ex teacher looking for private sector work outside education or for someone who spent 5 years in their 20s as an assistant horse trainer in an international-level dressage operation: Don’t use acronyms and terms that your prospective employer would have to look up but instead translate them into terms that are general enough to fit all the industries you’re applying for (eg talk about “national and international level competition” rather than supplying a wall of initialisms, and for heaven’s sake don’t expect your new employer to know what a Prix Saint Georges is if you’re applying outside the world of equestrian sports).

      And if you’re targeting both in-groups and out-group jobs you need two resumes. Just like I have one for academic jobs and one for tech industry jobs.

      Also, don’t use in-group value judgements and related concepts! A teacher would also not talk about inspiring children’s minds and souls, but about graduation rates, particular pedagogic initiatives and other concepts that at least in theory can be measured and understood by non-teachers. It is not only religious jobs in which a certain submission to somewhat transcendental ideological tenets is part and parcel of being in the group, but even if you’re applying inside the group it may be off-putting to some prospective employers.

  2. Cat Tree*

    For #5, I think you get a lot of recruiters because your very updated resume is just more “out there” for recruiters to find. If you started this new job after an intentional search (rather than an opportunity falling in your lap), you polished up your resume and sent it to lots of people so you have high visibility. There is sometimes an information lag, so by the time it works its way to many of these recruiters you have already found and started a new position.

    It’s also pretty common for people to update LinkedIn when they start a new job, which probably has some kind of algorithm to show that your account is active. That probably makes it show up more to recruiters, especially if you don’t use it very often otherwise.

    1. PinaColada*

      I am a recruiter and this is accurate; especially if you uploaded it to some sort of aggregating site where then it gets sold to other sites and then it’s churning through a lot of systems.

      But what Allison said is correct, too: if someone’s a month or two into a job, they are starting to find out if the company/role from the interview matches the company/role in real life.

      Finally, it’s a tight market so a lot of recruiters are just contacting anyone who might be a fit out of desperation. There’s also a lot of recruiters just spamming people.

      1. Quickbeam*

        I’m a nurse with a hot specialty certification. I got probably 6-10 cold calls (email, phone, hard copy) a week. From all over the country. There just aren’t a lot of us. People cast a big net.

        I also thought that the very act of getting hired means someone is hire-able. And that looks good.

        1. NotMyRealName*

          I am not a nurse with a hot specialty certification, but I evidently have the same name as one. My phone number somehow got associated with her and I’ve gotten several calls and texts from recruiters. It’s kind of fun to tell them that I’m an entomologist and probably can’t help them out.

        2. Artemesia*

          Sort of like, you buy a mattress and suddenly your internet feeds are full of mattress ads. We just bought an induction cooktop and we are getting ads for those.

          1. DJ Abbott*

            Yes, how backwards is that? I see it everywhere. Don’t marketers understand if I just bought something yesterday I don’t need another one today?
            Especially something big like a house, a mattress, or a cooktop. Seriously!

        3. Elizabeth West*

          I hate that last one. Not getting hired doesn’t mean you’re not hireable. Ask the 500+ applications I’ve sent out how much I’m not trying.

          I mean, I know it’s a thing; I just hate it.

          1. Quickbeam*

            No offense, I was just referencing the optics. Good luck to you, I really mean it. I’m about to retire and the idea of no more interviews, resumes, selling myself makes me giddy.

      2. SheLooksFamiliar*

        Seconding all of this, especially contacting people 1-2 months into a new job. I can’t count how many people applied or were referred to me shortly after taking a new role, they were so unhappy with their new employer. The role was grossly misrepresented, their manager showed their true colors, a major change took place…all valid reasons for reversing their decision. My sourcers used to tell me they didn’t ignore those folks, either, and for the same reason.

      3. Julia*

        What do you mean by tight market? I’d think since so many people are out of work right now recruiters would have their hands full? But I don’t know anything about that industry.

        1. Hiring Mgr*

          In some areas/industries it’s very tight now. I’m desperately trying to hire several tech sales people in the Boston area and our recruiters can barely even find candidates, let alone a good field of them.

          1. Lars the Real Girl*

            Yea, finance/accounting on the East Coast and we’re STRUGGLING to find candidates. It’s really a problem.

            1. Brender*

              Curious if you’d consider someone with no tech or sales experience, but transferrable skills? Nonprofit fundraising, specifically.

          2. Cat Tree*

            Yeah, it really depends on the field and specialty. I’m in engineering and I noticed upticks in recruitment when I added a new keyword skill to my resume. There may be plenty of other engineers out there, but when burnt at a senior level employers are looking for specific skills and experience. They don’t want to start over with certain training when they are not hiring for an entry-level position.

            It’s a bit of a double edged sword for candidates though. I’m very employable because of my experience, but I’m also sort of type cast. I really like my current career, but if I didn’t it would be hard to change course even within engineering.

          3. Large Hippo*

            @hiringmanager I and several former colleagues have been applying to tech sales jobs in Boston and not getting responses. Our backgrounds are in hospitality sales so our prospects in our market are limited if not non-existent. Any advice on how to tailor our resumes to get tech companies to consider us? Thanks!

            1. Ooh La La*

              Not a recruiter, but I work in tech and collaborate with salespeople at my company. Can you highlight your experience and familiarity with specific tech tools, in addition to sales experience? In my experience as a non-tech person at a tech company, you don’t need to understand the engineering behind the product, but you do have to be very familiar with how the product works and its capabilities, so overall tech-savviness is important.

            2. Wild Iris*

              @Large Hippo the folks I know who broke into tech sales from other industries did so as inside sales reps. Are those the kinds of positions you are applying for? If so, is Franklin close enough to you? I work for Dell, and there are many inside sales teams there. Might be worth keeping an eye on!

          4. TeapotExtraordinaire*

            If you’re a recruiter – I am interested in tech sales jobs in Boston! I wish there was a way to send a private message on this post without having to put my email or phone number here….

        2. SheLooksFamiliar*

          Unemeployment is much lower than a year ago, 6.1% nationally but in some industries and/or functions it might as well be zero. My friends in corporate recruiting don’t get a high volume of applicants in general, and some key roles have none at all. Their sourcers hear ‘no’ a lot and hiring manager personal networks are tapped out. I never worked on the agency side, but I imagine it’s the same for them. My own inbox and voicemail are overflowing with agency outreach, and I am not listed on LinkedIn as open to opportunities.

          Yes, recruiters have their hands full but it’s not because of an abundance of candidates, it’s because they’re working like crazy to find some. Once they do, it takes a lot of behind-the-scenes work to create competitive offers and get approvals, always a time drain. But it’s a necessary one when candidates with in-demand skills and experience who want a job have a job, and their employers pay great salaries and incentives to retain them.

        3. RoseDark*

          I suspect unemployment numbers are skewed by the vast numbers of people leaving the restaurant/food service industry upon realizing they’re being, essentially, financially abused. Those who can are getting better jobs. Those who can’t are riding unemployment as long as they can while either trying to position themselves for a better job or hoping really hard that the industry has improved by the time they’ll have to go back to it.

          For instance, I work for Starbucks. They made us retail employees all go back to work May 2020, while telling corporate/office workers that they’d all work from home until at least October 2021. Which we knew because all of us got the announcement (we were a little disgusted by the tone deafness of that one, to be honest). “We have to give people a sense of normalcyyyy (because we want more money)” was not.. very bracing, to say the least.

        4. MassMatt*

          I know 2 people hiring in biotech and say the market is very tight.

          Even at the height of the pandemic these folks were hiring and really had to search hard for applicants.

          Parents and young folk reading this–look at where job demand is, and is likely to be, and try to plan accordingly!

        5. Minerva*

          There are lot of people out of work, but their skills and experience don’t line up to every job market, especially for non entry level roles where they need someone to hit the ground running.

          Apparently for my skillset the market is tight enough that a recruiter called me about a job posting I’m doing interviews for (based on a couple year old resume, I’ve only been a year at this job).

      4. ThatGirl*

        I have definitely gotten a lot of spammy things from recruiters. I do not mind being contacted by people who have actually read my resume. But if I’m a copywriter in Chicagoland, there is no rational reason to think I would be a good fit for an SAP expert role in Dallas just because I’ve used SAP in my work.

    2. Richard Hershberger*

      All in all, this is akin to buying a new sofa, and for the next month being barraged with internet ads for sofas.

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          LOL I fat-fingered on this site and displayed a dog-food ad…. and now I’m seeing 90% pet-related ads. We do not currently have a pet.

          1. SheLooksFamiliar*

            I looked at a shirt on Old Navy website a week ago, and I’ve been getting ads for that shirt ever since.

            I’d buy it if I thought that would stop the ads…

            1. an infinite number of monkeys*

              About four years ago (when I was planning my wedding), I followed a link from a letter here where a pregnant woman was being harangued by her boss for dressing “unprofessionally” because her tops weren’t tucked in. She posted a link to a maternity clothes site with an example of how she dresses.

              So many ads for maternity wedding dresses after that. So many.

            2. Daisy-dog*

              The ad version of “If you give a mouse a cookie…”: If you sell someone a shirt, they’ll need a pair of pants.

              1. Anonapots*

                I don’t understand. What happens when you give a mouse a cookie? *adorable mental image commencing*

                1. PersephoneUnderground*

                  There’s a whole children’s book with that title- and it is, in fact, as adorable as you imagine.

              2. MassMatt*

                It’s funny also because the cookies stored in your browser’s cache is exactly why you keep seeing ads for something you’ve looked at online.

            3. Richard Hershberger*

              It wouldn’t. Quite the opposite. On the other hand, you are going to get ads for something: If not this, something else. So it doesn’t really matter in the long run.

            4. Artemesia*

              In a friend group someone posted a picture of a hideous tunic made of polyester and a sort of baby blue or pink lame — awful. Her MIL wanted all the women in the family to buy and wear them for the family picture. For at least a year, that hideous shirt kept popping up on my screen in push ads.

            5. PersephoneUnderground*

              Yep, it’s especially annoying to keep getting those ads after already buying the thing. Though I rarely have this problem anymore because adblock plus is the best.

            6. Deejay*

              It doesn’t. A newspaper columnist here in the UK did an article about how he bought a fridge and is now being bombarded with ads for fridges. He asked if they think he’s starting a collection of fridges.

            7. Rusty Shackelford*

              Just to combine a couple of questions in today’s post, I am currently getting ads for Oriental Trading Company’s religious-themed toys.

          2. Cat Tree*

            Ad algorithms are so unintelligent it makes me less worried about a dystopian future where AI robots have taken over.

            A couple years ago, I was pregnant and searched fur maternity clothes online. I then had a miscarriage but kept getting bombarded with ads for baby stuff. I wish there was a button like “you’re barking up the wrong tree here”.

            On a lighter note, I once went down a rabbit hole late at night and stumbled across a weird product that was slightly disturbing in a fascinating way. So I kept looking. It was really jarring to see ads for that same thing in the light of day, and I would never buy one anyway.

            1. Deejay*

              That’s known as “unintentional algorithmic cruelty”. There was a guy who posted on Facebook that his daughter died, with her picture. The large number of responses to the post meant that when Facebook sent him a “You’ve had a great year” post, her picture featured prominently.

              In another case, a woman who miscarried responded to pregnancy related ads with “This isn’t relevant to me”. Facebook took that to mean “Great, you’ve had the baby, let’s send you ads for that instead”. She said there should be a way to quickly and easily tell Facebook “This subject is painful. Please don’t send me anything related to it AT ALL”. As she put it “I don’t mind Facebook using my data to try to sell me things. I do mind Facebook using my data to make me cry”.

              1. Cat Tree*

                I thought I remembered a button for “this isn’t relevant to me”, but I don’t think I’ve seen it in a long time. I’ll have to take a closer look tonight.

    3. Liz T*

      Yeah, when I last switched jobs I got a spurt of outreach from recruiters…who didn’t know that I’d switched jobs. Even though it was on LinkedIn. So bizarre.

      (No I did not take off work at my new job to go in and meet with someone who hadn’t even bothered to look at my public LinkedIn profile.)

    4. PurplePartridge*

      I agree it’s something like this. For LinkedIn specifically, from anecdotal experience I’d swear their search algorithm puts me in front of more recruiters when I’m more active on the site. When I’m not on LinkedIn for a while I’ll get occasional messages from recruiters. But if I have been on LinkedIn more frequently, even just browsing around my timeline and adding some connections, I notice a significant uptick in how many messages I get from recruiters.

      If you’ve recently started a new job, odds are you’ve been on LinkedIn quite a bit. Both from the job hunt that landed you the job or from posting your new position, connecting with new colleagues, etc.

      1. Anon Recruiter*

        Yep, LinkedIn’s algorithms put more active users closer to the top of a candidate search – which makes sense! If you’ve been looking for a new job, you’ve been updating your LinkedIn profile and responding to recruiter messages more often than somebody who has no intention of moving to a new job.

    5. Aitch Arr*

      I recruit on LinkedIn and will only reach out to those who have the “open to work” feature on.

      You’d be surprised how many people who recently started a new job forgot to turn that feature off.

      1. Self Employed*

        I finally turned it off because I realized nobody was using it to find vendors–just salespeople.

  3. many bells down*

    There’s a private Christian school by my house that requires employees to be a “member in good standing of a Bible-focused church” or words to that effect. That’s pretty much the only job outside of an actual church I can think of where that goes on a resume.

    1. AnotherLibrarian*

      Maybe…. But still, know your audience and even then I would only include it if the hiring instructions specifically asked the candidates to make a Witness Statement in their cover letter or write a Statement of Faith. As someone who worked and hired for a very conservative Christian college, we would have balked if we saw that on a resume We told stories for years about the person who put in their cover letter that they “wanted to work somewhere where my Christianity isn’t a liability” as their reason for being interested in working for us. As a colleague put it, “What a troubling way to phrase that concept.”

      1. Felis alwayshungryis*

        Yikes. I’m just thinking of all the things that could have made their Christianity a ‘liability’! There must be a story there. What were they DOING?

        1. allathian*

          Indeed! I wonder if they went around proselytizing at work and annoying everyone else or something…

        2. Richard Hershberger*

          I take it to mean that they were insufferable. The thing is, insufferable is insufferable, even in an explicitly Christian context. It is like in Friday Night Lights, when Julie announces to everyone she knows that she is rededicating her life to Jesus. They all groan, not because they aren’t actively Christian themselves. Everyone there is. They understand that she has just announced that she is going to be insufferable, in a socially protected way.

            1. Richard Hershberger*

              When I see Conspicuous Christians I strongly suspect that their left hand knows exactly what their right is doing. Also, that they have no idea what this is a reference to.

        3. Karo*

          They could also be the type of Christian that thinks the world is against them because people aren’t wishing each other “Merry Christmas.” If you’re in that mindset, you think that being a Christian is a liability anywhere that isn’t explicitly Christian.

          1. Richard*

            There’s a whole narrative out there (with its own social media echo chamber) about how persecuted Christians are. A friend’s mom is in it, and she’ll bring up as examples weird stories about some Christian lady in Buffalo whose coworkers were rude to her or some village in China or India where some missionaries were arrested, and thus she’s basically beset on all sides.

      2. I'd Rather Be Eating Dumplings*

        That reminds me of online dating, where I got a message from a guy who was looking for “a kind-hearted woman who ACTUALLY enjoys intimacy and doesn’t secretly hate all men” (or something to that effect).

        Like — yes, but the fact that you needed to spell it out in that way gives me serious pause.

        1. ceiswyn*

          Yeah… Dude, if all the women you date dislike intimacy and are full of barely-concealed hate, the problem is you.

      3. Moonlight Elantra*

        I’m not sure I should have laughed at that anecdote as much as I did, but thank you for that.

      4. Drago Cucina*

        Yeah, no. The greatest test of faith is to work for a church office, school, etc. It’s like seeing how the sausage is made. When I was a chaplains’ assistant in the Army I got the, “Oh it must be so relaxing because everyone is so nice.” Nah. The entitled bank customer generally carries that attitude with them everywhere else.

        I still tease someone about putting that he wanted to work at the library because he wanted a stress free environment. He was so nice I almost didn’t want to hire him and burst his bubble.

        1. Sara without an H*

          +1. Yeah, I sometimes get, “Oh, it must be so nice to work in a library. You can read all day!”

          1. SweetFancyPancakes*

            I always wonder what library they’ve been in where they saw the staff all sitting around reading. I, too, would like to work there.

      5. Artemesia*

        yeah — the need to feel ‘persecuted’ is strong in some people and even a Christian organization may not want to be populated by people who feel that being a member of the most dominant religion in the country is somehow a cause of discrimination.

      6. RagingADHD*

        Hmmm…a job where Christianity is a liability…

        You mean a liability like getting you crucified?

        I think that young person may need to go read the book a few more times. They seem to have missed some of the key points.

    2. General von Klinkerhoffen*

      In that circumstance, perhaps such statements still don’t belong on the resume, but in the cover letter. I agree that references to eg running Sunday school or a year’s mission could go on the resume, just not the emotive language.

    3. SheLooksFamiliar*

      There are quite a few job families outside a church in which a candidate’s religious belief could be a factor in hiring. In fact, your particular faith could be a bonafide occupational qualification (BFOQ).

      For instance, a bible publisher might need a translator for its religious texts, and a person’s religious beliefs would factor into their ability to produce material that is consistent with their stated tenets. Firms that produce bible study programs for, say, the Luthern Church might need a curriculum developer, and the Synod you follow could become a factor in your ability to produce materials that meet the tenets of that particular faith. A manufacturer or distributor of, say, communionware, robes, vestments, and other supplies might ask about your beliefs, although I can’t think of a reason why a Methodist couldn’t ship choir robes to a Baptist church.

      I’m sure there are more examples but that’s all I can think of right now.

      1. London Lass*

        I can’t see why a job that entails manufacturing and shipping goods would need to inquire about anything other than you actual ability to do the job, unless there was a religious requirement on the receiving end that they be produced and handled only by fellow travellers in that faith.

        1. UKDancer*

          Me neither. The clerical outfitters I regularly walk past in London seems to do robes and such things for people of all different denominations and I don’t know you’d need to believe in the religion to do the job. Given the shortage of good tailors in London I’d be surprised if they care about your religious beliefs as much as your ability to sew a straight hem.

  4. just another anon*

    For context, I am a strongly practicing Christian, and I would absolutely talk about “helping people take one step closer to Jesus” as, say, a goal for a Bible study group I was leading. But I would not list it in that form on a resume even if I was applying for a religious position (church secretary, ministry coordinator). Why? Because it’s not demonstrable or quantifiable. You hope that you’ve helped people grow in their faith—and you might have individual stories from ministry that you’d share in a cover letter or interview, if you were applying to a ministry-related position—but you can’t say “brought 85 parishioners 13% closer to Jesus compared to the average in the presbytery.” There’s no metric.
    For ministry positions on resumes, better to focus on quantifiable achievements like expanding access to programs or allocating funding more effectively or something. Even if those aren’t your main reasons for valuing the work you did.

    1. Willis*

      I agree that it’s a poor accomplishment since it’s not really verifiable, quantifiable, or (for an organization like the OP mentioned) relevant, but I also think the phrasing is off for a secular context. If the applicant said they “led a church group designed to help participants grow in their faith,” I don’t think it would stick out as much. Of course, it still wouldn’t be relevant in most cases but perhaps understandable for a prospective intern trying to show some non-school activities. But the phrasing she used has such strong religious ties that it doesn’t belong on a resume and gives a sense that the applicant can’t tell a difference in what’s appropriate between the two arenas. Similarly, saying “led a Bible study” could work while something like “directed group discussion of God’s Holy Word” wouldn’t.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Yes, totally agree. “Led a church group designed to help participants grow in their faith” is fine. The wording in the letter is more like “led participants toward the one true God.” The framing itself is pushing a religious viewpoint, which is inappropriate in this context.

        1. Czhorat*

          It’s interesting how subtle the word change is, and how easy it is for someone in even a slightly insular community to miss it. There are some people, I’m sure, who see “closer to Jesus” as a synonym for “grow in ones faith” and wouldn’t even think of different faiths.

          That’s part of the reason it’s important to expose ourselves to a diversity of viewpoints, so we can see these things and be more respectful and appropriate in interactions with those who may not share our belief system.

    2. LongtimeLurker*

      “Helped bring 85 parishioners 13% closer to Jesus” literally slayed me. I’m imagining Jesus behind a desk stacked with papers, sporting thick-rimmed glasses and sipping from His “Everybody hates Mondays” mug, glancing over these 85 files and noting the uptick with approval. He pings His grandboss (God) over Slack, and the two start an email chain about possible promotions (Research & Divinity has an opening!).

      Thank you for this visual. :’D

      1. Drag0nfly*

        As a devout Christian myself, I literally laughed out loud at the scenario you painted :)

      2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        I just woke my dog up I was laughing so hard, thank you for that excellent way to start a Friday morning.

      3. Richard Hershberger*

        Many Christians imagine it works pretty much this way. Think of the image where the recently deceased person shows up at the gates of heaven and God (or St. Peter, depending) checks the ledger to determine whether they are allowed in, or down the chute to the other place.

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          St. Peter is on Slack asking someone to cover the reception desk so he can put a kettle on and visit the little boy’s room.

        2. Lora*

          If you haven’t seen the Diane Keaton movie “Heaven,” it’s a documentary of sorts where she asks people of all different ages and backgrounds what they think heaven is like, and intersperses clips of old movies and cartoons about heaven. I thought it was really interesting in terms of how media and imagery shape how we think about something really abstract – kids talk about walking on cotton balls and eating marshmallows. A TV evangelist thinks of it as a massive city bigger than NYC, so that everyone literally gets a mansion.

          1. Richard Hershberger*

            In related news, the popular vision of Hell owes far more to Dante and Milton than it does to the Bible.

            1. Eternal Student (AKA LearnedTheHardWay)*

              Fun fact… there’s very little in the Bible about Hell as a place – vague references to “Weeping and gnashing of teeth” in Matthew and some of the imagery about the apocalypse in Daniel and Revelation, for the most part. But Augustine devoted a whole book of his *City of God* to Hell, and that’s where a lot of the imagery started. :D Dante built on it as a social commentary.

              (Sorry, one of my hobbies is taking classes at a local seminary… and we just covered Hell 2 weeks ago. :D)

              1. anon24*

                A long time ago on an eternally never-ending shift at one of my teen jobs a co-worker and I somehow ended up talking about hell and I said that in my opinion, hell would be working the job you hate for all of eternity, but the customers never stopped coming, it was always 15 minutes from closing, and you were with whatever co-worker you hated the absolute most. I’ll never forget the look of horror on my co-worker’s face :)

              2. Mockingdragon*

                I absolutely love how much of Dante is just “And then this guy I didn’t like was in hell, and me and my best friend Virgil were best friends.”

            2. Drago Cucina*

              Years ago there was a quiz in a magazine (Christianity Today?) that had a “Bible or Dante?” quiz. There are similar ones for Shakespeare.

          2. Elizabeth West*

            This is literally what I did in my book. There’s a strong implication that the afterlife looks the way it does because of the protagonist’s mental imagery.

          1. Brooklyn*

            Look a lot of organizations have a problem with nepotism, let’s not point fingers.

          2. Aisha*

            EmKay, your comments here today have me laughing so hard. When trying to understand the three in one god thing it has been explained to me that trying to understand it is like trying to put the ocean in a paper cup. I like that visual.

            1. EmKay*

              Why thank you, I was feeling particularly comedic this morning :D

              And that is an excellent visual, thank you again!

          3. Ferret*

            I’m not sure we have the space to re-enact the Council of Nicaea in the comments section

            1. Gumby*

              Particularly as it is a work-related blog and physical altercations are not appropriate.

              *It is said that St. Nicholas, yes, that one, slapped Arius at the Council of Nicaea.

          4. Can't Sit Still*

            It’s a very flat org chart. Or possibly it’s a matrix reporting structure.

      4. Eat My Squirrel*

        This is why I read the comments. I was only envisioning a religious job interview where the interviewer asked “tell me about a time when you had to bring people closer to Jesus, and how did you ensure they didn’t go back to their sinful ways?”
        Jesus at work is so much funnier.

      5. Rusty Shackelford*

        sipping from His “Everybody hates Mondays” mug

        While God sips from his “World’s Greatest Dad” mug.

    3. I'd Rather Be Eating Dumplings*

      Yes! I’m not religious but that was actually my first reaction too. It’s not a transferrable accomplishment. I don’t know how you could employ that skill in the context of my work.

      What practical steps did she take to help connect people with Jesus? Counselling? Recruitment? Generating content? All of those things: fine on a resume, even if you did them in a religious context.

      It’s like if someone puts “Helped customers feel satisfied with our company” or “contributed to a collaborative working culture” — those don’t add anything because they don’t indicate HOW you actually contributed to that cause.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        That’s not the reason it’s so inappropriate though. It’s not that it’s not quantifiable or that it doesn’t explain how she did it. It’s that talking about bringing people to Jesus is inappropriate on a resume, full-stop. It wouldn’t be any better if she quantified it.

        1. I'd Rather Be Eating Dumplings*

          Oh, yes. I don’t disagree. But even aside from that, it’s a pretty meaningless statement and I think if she were to consider what practical steps she took to implement it, she probably would have some content she could include on a resume.

      2. meyer lemon*

        The phrasing itself is just going to make people uncomfortable, though. It’s kind of like the difference between saying “Worked as a staffer on a political campaign” and “Squashed the commie liberal agenda.” If you’re not able to see outside of your own viewpoint enough to realize this is going to be a problem for some people, it’s hard to have confidence that you are ready to work in an office with coworkers who may not hold the same beliefs.

        1. A*

          This is a really good comparison. I have several friends that worked as political aides before moving into other lines of work, and they always leave the candidate/party name out unless absolutely necessary. The important part is what role they were in and the nature of their function, not the agenda that was being served (with the exception of one friend that now works for a political organization aligned with his party so he did call out that the campaigns he worked on were in line with that). I assume they might be asked about it in interviews, but definitely not called out on a resume.

        2. Paulina*

          Yes. When they’re already proselytizing in their job application, they’re not going to leave that out of the workplace.

    4. Brender*

      2020 Accomplishments include:
      – Converted 8 souls to the Lord;
      – Brought 12 souls 1 step closer to Jesus and 4 souls 2 steps closer for a total of 20 steps;
      – Led weekly Bible Study via Zoom and increased attendance 37%; surveys indicated a 19% increase in overall satisfaction among Bible Study participants compared to FY19.

      1. ecnaseener*

        That last bullet would actually be fine, measuring attendance and satisfaction with the program.

  5. nnn*

    #1: In addition to the risk of being perceived to have rejected the candidate on the basis of religion, in government hiring, there’s also perceived favouritism if you give one particular candidate advice on how to improve her resume.

    However, if you have a relationship with the colleges that your interns come from, you could mention to your contacts at the schools that they might want to give their students some guidance on what does and doesn’t belong on resumes for different types of internships, citing this as an example of things you’ve “seen some students include”. (It could be useful if you could think of other examples of less-than-ideal things you’ve seen included in resumes as well).

    This would fall more under the category of communicating to schools what your organization is looking for in its interns – thereby benefiting both your organization and all future students – rather than singling out one particular student.

    1. Analyst Editor*

      I agree that “bringing closer to Jesus” does not really belong on a resume.

      However I think the vehemence of the advice is strongly colored by Alison’s personal dislike of religion – and perhaps the LW’s, which leads her to cut less slack to an inexperienced college student putting *that* on a resume than a bunch of other non-religious unnecessary things that a student might put on a resume, and that an awareness of this bias is good to have in deciding whether to take a chance on someone with little experience who might benefit from it.

        1. LPUK*

          and it was hardly a ‘vehement’ response either – your usual measured reply I thought

        2. Chinook*

          I agree. It is the perfect response to aa potential powder keg situation.

          Look, I was that university student who put a reference to church work in an early resume (which was not as blatant, I hope) for a position at the university paper and I will forever wonder if that was why I didn’t get an interview when every other student volunteer did. I worked with the editor after that and he never brought it up but he also treated me with kid gloves for the next few months (probably until her realized I wasn’t a religious nut). He did what Allison recommends now and, in hindsight, it was the perfect move because I did put him in an awkward position, the same as if an applicant came in and declared they are pregnant and going to be needing maternity leave before they even interview. You can’t unknow information that will bias your choices against an individual, so it is best to pretend they don’t exist.

      1. Koalafied*

        It’s not merely unnecessary information. It’s a sensitive topic that people usually understand doesn’t come until the workplace, so including it in a cover letter calls into question whether they understand that.

        The bible study could be demonstrating transferable skills, but the “closer to Jesus” language is so much more purely about religious beliefs that it makes you wonder if they understand that professional boundary.

        In the same way you could put on your resume that you worked for a political campaign, but you would focus on leading a successful signature gathering drive or securing a lot of earned media hits, not phrase it like, “helped a real American hero improve the lives of millions of people.” The latter is veering too much into espousing a political view instead of describing politically-related work.

        1. AnotherLibrarian*

          I have been trying to sort out why I found the phrasing so off putting when I used to hire for a Christian college and got lots of candidate’s with religious work on their resumes. This is exactly why- there’s a proselytizing edge to the phrase that feels deeply inappropriate for a work context.

          1. UKDancer*

            Definitely. I had an application for a post from someone who worked on a 2017 mayoral campaign. The candidate they supported was not the candidate I would have voted for had I lived in that area. That said it was a good example of the skills they’d learnt and it showed them having many of the abilities we needed and they worded it in terms of the skills rather than in terms of praising the candidate. So I was happy to shortlist them.

            I have to say it helped that the candidate in question was from one of the mainstream parties. If they’d been backing the BNP candidate I would not have been willing to have them in for an interview.

        2. Fake Old Converse Shoes (not in the US)*

          I know people who worked in political campaigns who are so out of touch with the real world that would certainly add the last sentence to their resume.
          (If I had to add something positive from that experience it could be “thriving in a challenging environment”, which is… an adequate way to say I exercised my self control so much I should have reached enlightenment)

        3. Aquawoman*

          This is well said. And the other particular issue with that kind of lack of boundary is that if it leads to proselytizing, the manager needs to shut it down so that it doesn’t become a hostile work environment.

      2. Jen!*

        Hasn’t Alison referenced being a practicing Jew? I thought I remember some comments re: religious holidays at work.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          I’m a mostly non-observant Jew. (I celebrate Hanukkah, attend the occasional seder, burn Yahrzeit candles for my dad, and eat matzoh balls whenever possible. I grew up going to synagogue but refused to be bat mitzvahed despite my parents’ efforts.) My family is culturally very Jewish but isn’t religious except for my sister, who is highly, surprisingly religious. I have no beef with organized religion (as long as it’s not being used to harm people, which it sometimes is). When it’s used as a force for good, it’s great. And I feel like I have a strong personal relationship with God and some of the most powerful moments in my life have centered around that connection, although it’s not a relationship I see through a particularly Jewish lens (or religious lens, for that matter). I do like the Jewish emphasis on ethics and compassion and doing what’s right.

          So that’s where I stand spiritually, which I don’t think I’ve ever really talked about here, and I don’t know where the idea of me having a personal dislike of religion would be coming from.

          1. Wehaf*

            A lot of people equate the idea that workplaces should be religiously neutral with a personal stance that religion is bad.

            1. EPLawyer*

              If you don’t think it belongs in the workplace, then you must be against it. Instead of, you know, wanting work to be the place for work, and personal things — religion, sex, etc. — to stay in the personal sphere. Boundaries.

              1. LifeBeforeCorona*

                I’m an atheist and I get “you must hate all religions” No, I just believe in love thy neighbour and let them go about their business.

          2. YetAnotherAnalyst*

            For what it’s worth, Alison, I’ve always found you to be incredibly kind and even-handed about religion in your answers to folks – as you are about pretty much everything.

          3. Anony vas Normandy*

            In my experience (raised Southern Baptist, still live in the south, most colleagues are some flavor of Evangelical), some kinds of Evangelical Christians believe that everyone who isn’t like them is hostile to religion, even if the person in question is deeply religious. That’s particularly true if the target practices a non-Christian religion, but I’ve also seen it deployed against Christians who aren’t Evangelical, or who just aren’t culturally conservative. I’ve heard it said of my department chair, who is a deacon in the local Baptist church, but leans politically to the left.

            It’s obviously not true of all Evangelicals, but I’ve seen it enough to know it’s A Thing.

            1. Elizabeth West*

              Yep, I escaped from a heavily evangelical area. And it does influence people at work. I was careful to check organizations where I applied to make sure they weren’t affiliated with the largest church there, mostly because they preferred to hire members and I didn’t want to waste my time. Plus, various small businesses advertising with Bible quotes, etc. I didn’t want to face any hostility even if they did hire me—they may say it doesn’t matter, but it often does.

              I just applied for something here through a staffing company and the recruiter told me the employer is a religious non-profit. I tensed up until he said it’s an organization affiliated with a synagogue. Sooooo probably not a lot of proselytizing going on, and he said the org doesn’t care if their hire isn’t Jewish.

              1. ecnaseener*

                Probably zero proselytizing, if that makes you feel better! Jews don’t have a belief that Judaism “saves” us or anything, so no moral obligation to “save” others by getting them to convert. The Jewish stance is basically that if your soul was at Mt Sinai you will feel called to convert to Judaism, and if it wasn’t you won’t.
                (I say “probably” zero because, well, there are busybodies in every culture lol)

            2. Ooh La La*

              Agreed. The people who equate wanting to separate religion from work with being anti-religious are typically members of the dominant faith group. It’s absolutely a form of privilege to feel that (your) religion has a rightful place at work. As a religious person from a minority faith, I am 110% in favor of keeping all religion out of the workplace.

          4. Eternal Student (AKA LearnedTheHardWay)*

            I don’t like that you feel you needed to clarify your beliefs, but I’m glad to know more about you in this way! It’s nice to see a little more of the person behind the (very professional) work-mode facade. :)

          5. Momma Bear*

            I don’t get where Analyst Editor is getting that from, either. I thought your response was in line with all your advice.

          6. Jewish-raised Pagan*

            Because “religion” is code for “my Christianity.” And not meekly going along with Christian dominionism is interpreted as “personal dislike.”

            1. ecnaseener*

              Not appreciating being proselytized at = personal dislike of religion [eye roll]

          7. Hrodvitnir*

            I feel like that idea is coming from you speaking out repeatedly against Christianity being somehow uniquely neutral (and Christmas not being religious – I appreciate that so much, as a very much not oppressed atheist), and people using “religious” to mean Christian.

          8. Lizzo*

            This is a very thoughtful response (and sounds very similar to my own personal spirituality). Thanks for sharing!

      3. Anon Former Professional Christian*

        I mean, I’m not only religious but also specifically Christian, and formerly had a job as a professional Christian (think church worker, pastor, etc.). I wouldn’t have put something like that on a resume and would be turned off of reviewing a resume where that was included for a secular job. Others have mentioned some of the issues, like how it doesn’t show transferable skills, etc., but it’s also more likely to be an issue than someone who mentioned a non-religious hobby or who mentioned a religious activity but not one that involved proselytizing (leading a Bible study would be much less concerning in that way).

        1. AcademiaNut*

          It’s the combination that’s particularly problematic. Something that’s not particularly relevant for a job application (non quantifiable), a topic that can be sensitive in the workplace (religion), plus the sort of language that sends off warning signs of a person who doesn’t understand and/or respect good boundaries around the topic.

          If it were just the first two, and somebody was listing Bible study on their resume, and it was someone without much work experience, I wouldn’t be too worried – it’s likely to be an error of inexperience. It’s the last one that puts them in the do not hire pile.

        2. twocents*

          Yes. I also think it’s the way that it’s worded that makes it so off-putting. Like if someone worked for an animal rights org and wrote that their role “advised murderers on the wickedness of their animal cruelty” that’s such charged language that even if you were a vegan you might still balk. It’s not the religion that’s the problem; it’s the language used that suggests the applicant is going to be insufferable.

        3. Anon just here*

          Also a former church employee. When I was writing the resume that got my current job I did include the church job – but in a quantifiable skills manner, tailored to the job I was applying for: customer service (interacting with congregation members as an employee), record keeping, organizing skills, etc.

          The problem for the resume in OP one isn’t the religious aspect – it’s how they phrased what was on their resume.

      4. Not Australian*

        That’s a bit of a stretch, and a pretty unnecessary thing to say IMHO. Finding a particular expression inappropriate in a particular context is very far from finding fault with the thing or action described.

      5. Caroline Bowman*

        I’d say the strong advice came from a place of strongly feeling through many years of observation and work within the field of hiring / management that it’s just a very out-of-place, inappropriate thing to have on a CV. It gives the flavour – and I do see that this might be entirely erroneous – of being just waiting to ”bring people closer to Jesus” and obviously for many, many, many people, this is extremely off-putting. It would deter a lot of prospective employers, it’s going to count against the candidate. There are a lot of applicants for internships, the recruiter has no need to do internal personal moral work on overcoming personal ick for something like this when there are just many others to choose from who are pretty similar in experience.

        1. Green great dragon*

          So in general, I think it is always important for recruiters to do what work they need to consider everyone fairly, however many candidates they have. But I agree entirely with the rest of this comment and I don’t think it is just ‘personal ick’ – it’s not the fact that they are religious, it’s the fact they see their ability to bring people to Jesus as a positive thing in a work situation that would give me pause.

      6. HannahS*

        I have been reading this site almost daily since 2010. I have NEVER seen Alison express a personal dislike for organized religion or personal spirituality. In fact, as a religious Jew myself, I have found that Alison is one of the most sensitive, sensible, and compassionate advice-givers on the internet with regard to religion in the workplace and is especially attuned to the experience of people in minority religions. I’ve occasionally offered my own perspective and experience on this site and found Alison to be very supportive. I have no idea where you got the idea that she has a personal dislike for religion.

        1. Eat My Squirrel*

          I’m a Druid and I always felt like Alison was very inclusive and supportive of all religions, including atheism. There was even that one time I got a little upset about all the “witch” letters being about curses and she backed me up in the comments when I wanted to explain that the vast majority of pagans are more likely to bless you than curse you.

        2. Observer*

          I have to agree. If more employers took Alison’s advice on the matter, lots of religious folks would be a lot happier at work.

        3. Ooh La La*


          Also a religious Jew, and I find Alison to be incredibly sensitive to diverse religious views and practices, especially those that tend to be heavily criticized without much knowledge or context.

      7. Lilo*

        I’m a confirmed member of a Christian church and I would find this off putting. This has nothing to do with an anti religion bias.

      8. Junebug*

        No. That statement essentially screams that the candidate will be harassing colleagues on the basis of religion. Taking a chance she’s open to learning is a a risk the company can’t afford.

        1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          Agreed with this sentiment. It’s not that the resume writer is religious- it’s that this particular statement implies that they think sharing their faith is an all consuming, most important thing. And that’s just not going to work in roughly 98% of all workplaces.

        2. Genny*

          I disagree. It sounds to me like someone who’s lived a pretty privileged life who hasn’t learned how to code switch yet. It’s not OPs job to provide that feedback or to offer her the internship so she can learn, but it also seems overly harsh to assume a college kid who’s likely still figuring out how to be a professional is going to harass colleagues on the basis of religion.

          1. Observer*

            It sounds to me like someone who’s lived a pretty privileged life who hasn’t learned how to code switch yet.

            It’s possible you are right. But if they haven’t learned how to code switch, what makes you think they are going to have learned between the time they submitted the resume to the time they get hired? Code switching is not just about what you put on the resume, but what you say in various contexts. And if this student has not learned that “bringing people to xxx” (could be any deeply felt belief) is not appropriate on their resume, they almost certainly are unaware that it’s totally inappropriate at work.

            1. Genny*

              Agreed, which is why I said it’s not OP’s responsibility to teach her how to code switch or to give her an internship where she can learn professional norms. But there’s a difference between someone who’s unaware that something appropriate in one setting may be inappropriate in another and someone who will harass others due to their religion or lack thereof. It sounds to me like this student is using “Christian-ese” because she doesn’t realize how her community’s jargon comes off to people not in her community. But like you said, the process of learning that is more than OP can reasonably be expected to communicate in one feedback email (even stripping out the potential EEO complications), which is another good reason for the OP to leave it alone.

              1. pancakes*

                The student’s language pretty strongly suggests that if and when they encounter people who aren’t from the same community, they will try to get those people to “take one step closer to Jesus.” And that’s such inappropriate behavior in most workplaces that they wouldn’t have to be very aggressive about it for it to feel like or be seen as harassment.

          2. Minerva*

            I don’t want to subject my muslim coworkers, or my queer and possibly with a sore spot about certain religions coworkers, to someone’s lack of sensitivity so they can learn how to code switch though.

      9. The Prettiest Curse*

        There is a difference between someone’s personal feelings about religion and religious expression and how they think these feelings should be expressed in a workplace. This site focuses on the second topic, not the first. Just because you don’t think that people should espouse their beliefs about the wonders of their preferred deity, deities or lack of belief in such to their colleagues in a secular workplace doesn’t mean that you know their personal feelings about religion.

      10. hbc*

        It’s not just “unnecessary” but shows really poor judgment about what work and religion have to do with each other. Knitting or football fandom and other random hobbies are unnecessary to have on your resume, but I’m not going to ding someone for them unless I’m already overrun by knitting or football enthusiasts. But even then, the downside of hiring someone who thinks football relates to work is pretty small.

        But if I hire someone who thinks converting people is related to the job, they are almost certainly going to create problems in the office. Proselytizers of any type are boring and annoying, but you’re in more legal trouble with religion pushers than yarn pushers. And if they’re trying to show, say, that they can sell people on washing machines just like they sell people on Jesus, I’m offended religiously.

      11. Colette*


        There is no issue with putting something on your resume that mentions your personal religious beliefs (i.e. “Planned and ran Sunday school at Church X for children between 7-9”, “Counsellor at Camp Religion”)

        There is an issue with putting something on your resume that implies you expect other people at work to have the same beliefs, or that you will be encouraging them to take part in religious beliefs or experiences.

      12. Rusty Shackelford*

        However I think the vehemence of the advice is strongly colored by Alison’s personal dislike of religion – and perhaps the LW’s,

        I’m not anti-religion and I still found it very offputting.

      13. justabot*

        I think it calls into question the applicant’s judgment and awareness of what’s appropriate in a professional and/or government workplace setting.

      14. ThatOnePlease*

        I’m an observant Jew and I would be super put off by this type of language. We are anti-proselytizing, so any hint of that leaves a very bad taste in my mouth. Different religions and practices exist! “Bringing people closer to Jesus” is not something that will be seen as a positive by all people in all contexts, and job candidates should have enough awareness to clock that.

      15. Observer*

        However I think the vehemence of the advice is strongly colored by Alison’s personal dislike of religion – and perhaps the LW’s, which leads her to cut less slack to an inexperienced college student putting *that* on a resume than a bunch of other non-religious unnecessary things that a student might put on a resume, and that an awareness of this bias is good to have in deciding whether to take a chance on someone with little experience who might benefit from it.

        I actually happen to be religious, but I am NOT Christian. I’m a practicing Jew who has been the target of active proselytizing. So feel free to dismiss my perspective because I “obviously” dislike Christians. But for anyone else, let me say this.

        This item does NOT belong on a resume. In general, overtly religious items don’t belong on a resume. That’s different from jobs as a religious functionary – those are often relevant and appropriate. But this is overtly religious. So that’s a problem right there.

        What makes it worse is that this is about proselytizing, which is totally inappropriate in most workplaces. That would absolutely be a black mark for any job applicant.

      16. MassMatt*

        I actually think Alison’s response measures up pretty well with other posts about odd, bizarre, or inappropriate content found on resumes. The links in the post had some doozies, and not a religious theme among them.

      17. Pennyworth*

        What a curious comment. I’ve never got the impression that Alison has a personal dislike of religion, or indeed has any religious views that she shares here.

    2. Dragon_Dreamer*

      I’m more concerned that when OP #1’s company does send the rejection, this woman will claim discrimination because she’s Christian. After all, what other reason would OP’s company have to not hire her!?

      1. Religion*

        How can she claim discrimination if they don’t bring it up? She has no experience – as stated in the letter – so she would get nowhere. Especially nowadays when the job application pile is so high.

        1. Aitch Arr*

          Because she brought it up and they ‘obviously’ discriminated against her.
          It’s akin to entrapment.

          1. Religion*

            No it is not if they can easily demonstrate other applicants are better suited to the job. That is what happens, 60 people might apply for 1 role. You can’t claim discrimination just because other people are a better hire than you.

    3. Binderry*

      Perhaps, the LW could suggest the student go to their university’s career center for assistance in reviewing their cover letter. I know people on this website dislike university career centers, but I would think they would help catch something egregious like this and provide the student some advice here without the LW having to try to navigate this.

      1. MsM*

        Unless the student’s attending an evangelical college that isn’t tuned into professional norms itself.

      2. Troutwaxer*

        That’s a great answer. “I don’t recall your resume,* but I would strongly suggest that you ask your university’s career center about how you can improve your resume.”

        * Don’t give the applicant any ammunition to either feel oppressed or launch a lawsuit.

  6. Gone Girl*

    #2 The only thing I might have suggested doing differently would be to bring the receipts to your UM before your resignation. I had a similar IT with whom I had trouble communicating; they would shut down and verbally abuse me when they got particularly stressed out. I kept a running list of receipts from these conversations so when it all finally came to a head and I had to involve my UM, it was with the intent to improve our communication overall (although I’d be lying if I didn’t say, yes, there’s a bit of satisfaction to it as well). And it was pretty amazing how quickly they shaped up after that.

    I have a hunch that perhaps there were other dysfunctions at this job which may have prevented you from wanting to expend the energy improving you and your IT’s relationship. In which case I don’t blame you for holding on to those convos until the end.

    1. Mockingjay*

      OP 2, did you ever propose solutions? From your letter, I can only tell that 1) you obviously resented the transfer and 2) you and new boss IT couldn’t figure out how to communicate.

      When I say solutions, I mean actually talking to IT and figuring out how to get on the same page on at least a couple things. I’m talking big picture work tasks. You don’t have to agree 100% with a boss or be in tune with their personality, but you do have to be able to respond to them and execute the work they assign you.

      Sometimes you have to leave managers, but in my experience, I’ve learned to at least attempt to bridge the manager gap in jobs that I otherwise like, before moving on. Keep that in mind for future jobs; you might be able to salvage a situation.

      1. Bus Driver*

        The work aspects of our relationship were fine. Project and task communication were fairly transparent and I got a lot of good shit done in that job. If it were just personality, I would roll my eyes and ignore the dumb jokes. Without going into too much detail, it was behavior that he would have been called out on a lot sooner if he had not reported up to a straight white guy. (I’m also a straight white guy)

    2. RecoveringSWO*

      “I have a hunch that perhaps there were other dysfunctions at this job which may have prevented you from wanting to expend the energy improving you and your IT’s relationship. In which case I don’t blame you for holding on to those convos until the end.”

      Yeah, I get that feeling too. As long as the LW secured a reference from their previous team (before transferring to IT’s team), I think they’re in the clear to feel joy over their resignation.

    3. Bus Driver*

      Whenever IT did something sketchy or that made me feel uncomfortable, I would mention it to him privately. He typically would shrug it off, or see my constructive criticism as a threat. So I stopped. After that, I brought a couple of things up to UM. Needless to say, nothing seemed to change.

      Reporting to someone who had been promoted to his level of incompetence was just one of a long list of “dysfunctions” that finally broke me.

      1. Again With Feeling*

        I think you can ride off into the sunset with no regrets. You burned a bridge, but it seems like you knew that going in, and the satisfaction is sweet! I was in a similar situation, and I went to the UM begging for help because I loved my job and wanted to stay. The UM essentially blamed me for making problems, and said if I was feeling overwhelmed (because my boss didn’t do their job), I should ask my boss for help managing my workload. I left for a new job a few months later and wrote on my exit form that the reason was poor management. Sayonara!

  7. Sammie*

    #5 I agree with Alison’s comment being the most likely scenario. Other options are also possible for example, sometimes it’s a mistake – when I’m filtering through 100s of LinkedIn profiles to find the best people to reach out to I’ve definitely accidentally misread or included someone I shouldn’t have, I’m human and it happens. Recruiters are also supposed to know everyone in their industry, so if you’ve changed role slightly or moved into a different type of firm they might just be trying to network for the future.

    1. Sammie*

      Oh and also it could be lead generation. If a company has just hired someone, maybe they’re hiring again – so it can be a chance to pull some information about the firm and it’s process to give the recruiter a chance to then go and sell to the manager

  8. Heidi*

    So if we were advising the applicant in Letter 1 and not hiring, what would be the best approach. Should we say that the religious work is not going to be the type of experience hiring managers are looking for with a secular job? Or should it be more about how “helping people take one step closer to Jesus” doesn’t really communicate specific skills? Or would it be more about tailoring your application materials towards potential coworkers and managers who may not be Christian?

    1. Sam*

      It’s almost certainly the second of your options. You don’t have to say anything about Jesus, and it’s not even a work accomplishment.

      I think Alison explained well why mentioning bible study isn’t as bad; that would come across to me as just as appropriate as “Organized long-running book club” in an “other interests” section.

    2. Barbara Eyiuche*

      Helping people get closer to Jesus does not belong on a resume because it is not a job skill. Leading a Bible study group shows transferable skills, at least.

      1. Aggretsuko*

        Yeah, how is that a specific measurable? What if they lose faith or change their minds or embrace Cthulhu instead?

        1. Cthulhu’s Librarian*

          We always have openings! It’s one of the benefits of a non-Euclidean: plenty of room for expansion, and if you make it through one or two nights of the boss being hangry, there will probably be a personal office available.

          1. Eat My Squirrel*

            Now I’m picturing Cthulu at work in opposition to the earlier comment about Jesus at work. Cthulu is running a board meeting, gesturing angrily with his tentacles wrapped around a pointer stick pointing at a graph on the screen showing that last month, 85 people moved 13% closer to Jesus. One of the board members timidly starts to say, “but Master, couldn’t you just… eat those 85 people?”
            Cthulu stops, fixing the board member with a fiery gaze, then suddenly leaps across the room and bites the guy’s head off while the rest of the board shrink back into their chairs. He looks up and growls, “anyone else have a suggestion?”
            The board members all immediately shake their heads, to a resounding chorus of “no sir!”
            “Good,” says Cthulu. “Now someone have Logistics plan me a route to these 85 people’s houses so I can eat them.”

            1. Eat My Squirrel*

              Oh no! My auto-suggest spelled Cthulhu’s name wrong all through that comment! He’s going to be furious! I’m in trouble!

      2. John Smith*

        Depends on how you read it. “Bringing people one step closer to Jesus”, might work if the job is for a euthanasia clinic. I’d run a mile if I saw that phrase on a CV (while wearing a stab vest).

        1. Despachito*

          If the job is for a euthanasia clinic, wouldn’t it be rather “bringing people a million steps farther from Jesus”, given the attitude of Christians towards suicide? ;-)

          Jokes aside, I have always considered religion to be a very intimate thing, and as such, highly inappropriate to talk about at work. And as much as it is rightfully wrong for the employer to discriminate against any employee based on the mere fact they have/do not have a particular faith, the employees also have their part of work to do, which is not to bother anyone at work with their non/belief, as well as they should not bother their coworkers with their political opinions or the details of their sex lives.

          Although all of these can certainly feel deeply satisfactory, they are also very personal, and should be left out of work as much as possible.

          I think that the principal mistake of including Jesus into the resume lies in showing that the employee is likely not to respect these boundaries, which I consider to be a breach of the employee’s part of the (unwritten?) agreement between them and the employer (whose – this time written – part is not to discriminate).

          1. Cj*

            This made me curious about that the Missouri Synod Lutheran Church (in which I was raised, and is very conservative) has to say about assisted suicide for the terminally ill. Their stance is that there is no (physical) pain that can’t be alleviated by modern drugs (very questionable – maybe if you induce a coma?), and that the problem is that doctors under prescribe these drugs. Unintentional death from giving too many of these drugs is not suicide/assisted suicide. So I guess you have an out.

            1. Eternal Student (AKA LearnedTheHardWay)*

              So two books immediately pop into my head. One is Being Mortal by Atul Gawande that talks about end-of-life issues in a very professional way from the mindset of a physician. Two of his biggest takeaways are that 1. Most doctors (especially young ones) almost view their patients’ death from prolonged issues such as cancer or complications from old age as a failure, rather than simply the end of life, and so they’re very willing to recommend all sorts of surgeries and things to prolong life, rather than maturely suggesting ways to alleviate pain and ease suffering as their patients die. 2. We have the technology to prolong life long after natural death would have occurred, but haven’t had the ethics discussions required around this topic because of our (white USA) mindset of fearing death.

              The other is Suffering and Salvation in Ciudad Juarez by Nancy Pineda-Madrid. One of the things that she talks about is this whole idea tied in with the sacrificial atonement theory of salvation that suffering brings us closer to God. Therefore, suffering is good. I’m glad to see that the Missouri Synod encourages the use of drugs to relieve pain in the terminally ill! I think that part of the reason that Christians can push back on this and assisted suicide in general is wrapped up in the idea of suffering bringing us closer to God, but it’s so buried and ingrained an idea that it would be hard to tease it out without reading this book.

              1. KellyKoo*

                OH! I listened to Being Mortal on Audible and I was HOOKED. Such an interesting book, and I’m not in the medical field.

      3. CatCat*

        I wouldn’t even know what to make of “led Bible study.” I have no idea what that entails or what skill that’s supposed to show.

        1. The Prettiest Curse*

          I suppose it could be used to show leadership, organization or teaching skills, depending on the exact role in leading the study group. This is just off the top of my head, as a non-religious person with zero experience of Bible study.

          1. allathian*

            That’s my take on it as well, but it would still be better to list some achievements under it, even if they’re hard to quantify. “Organized materials for and led the discussion in a Bible study group” rather than “brought people closer to Jesus.”

            1. I'd Rather Be Eating Dumplings*

              Weird – got cut off. But just agreeing with you. You wouldn’t just list ‘led bible study’ — just as at a secular job you wouldn’t list ‘led customer complaints meetings’.

              You’d want contextualising info, like how content was generated or how big the group was, how often you met, etc.

              1. UKDancer*

                Definitely. You’d want something like, “organised the group, led discussion and resolved conflict over the wording of the text.” or “Increased attendance from 6 to 12 people by dint of publicising the group more effectively.” There needs to be some kind of link between the activity and the potential benefit for the company.

              2. The Prettiest Curse*

                Oh, I agree that you would need to provide context and go into more detail about the exact nature of the role. It could also be used to show marketing skills if they were publicizing the group in some way. It all depends on how you word it, and how you demonstrate your accomplishments in the role (“Increased attendance at Bible study class by 25% in 3 months” etc.)

                1. Self Employed*

                  I had a resume item from grad school that I tripled attendance at the weekly biology seminars by creating appealing flyers promoting the guest speakers. I don’t recall what the numbers were but I used them on the resume. (I was minoring in Art and this started as a class assignment for Graphic Design.)

          2. Allonge*

            I think it’s like any other job: the CV writer would have to specify what exactly they were doing and how that is relevant.

            Nobody should expect hiring managers to know what all jobs entail, just think of job titles like Advanced Senior Llama Analyst or Happiness Controller.

        2. Nonny*

          Organizational and people skills? Like making sure the discussion stay on topic, making sure no one dominates the discussion, scheduling, preparing and printing materials, things like that.

        3. Beth Jacobs*

          It’s on par with leading a student chess club. If you haven’t got any paid experience, it’s better than nothing, since it shows some basic communication and organisational skills.

    3. Indisch Blau*

      “Helping bring people one step closer to Jesus” = “Mentored young believers / helped students grow in their faith”

      Could also mean “Led / participated in campus evangelism”. In that case specific responsibilities could be included although that might be top much for an activity not related to the application.

      1. Temperance*

        I think “mentored young believers” and “helped students grow in their faith” are just as off-putting and inappropriate as the jesus comment.

        1. Willow*

          I don’t think they’re nearly as bad because it’s not assuming that her religion is the only true one, and it’s not about proselytizing, so it doesn’t give the same impression that she would push her beliefs in the workplace. It would still be better to use language that focuses more on transferable skills though.

    4. Green great dragon*

      The second and third. As Alison and others have said, religious work can show relevant skills. But presenting ‘one step closer to Jesus’ as obviously a good thing in isolation, assuming whoever is reading it will of course see that’s a good thing, would make me worry whether she would also consider that to be a good thing to do in an office enviroment.

      To be clear that is my concern based on her phrasing, not a worry I have in general about religious people

    5. Lilo*

      I’d also say how blunt you can be depends on your relationship with the student. I’d probably go the “this needs to demonstrate your transferreable skills” if, say a student I didn’t know well brought me this resume. If it was a cousin or someone I was close to, I’d also include “the way you worked this is going be off putting”.

    6. Bagpuss*

      Definitely the second. I’m not religious, but someone having relevant transferable skills which they learned or used in a religious context wouldn’t put me off a candidate, whereas someone stating they ‘helped people to come closer to Jesus’ would, because it’s not a relevant or quantifiable skill, it doesn’t suggest that they have a transferable skill, and it does strongly indicate at they have a poor rasp of what is likely to be relevant or appropriate in a work context.

      If advising the candidate, I would be saying to them that they needed to think about what specific skills they used or developed in their church work, and how those skills might relate to the work they would be doing if they got the job, and to tailor their resume to reflect that. I would be saying that while it was fine to give the factual information that the work was done in a church / religious setting, but that personal religious or political beliefs are almost ever going to be appropriate in a resume or cover letter , and that would include beliefs about the spiritual impact their actions may have had on others.

      I don’t think it’s about tailoring it to managers who may not be christian, I think it’s about a more basic understanding that neither you nor the manager should be raising religious matters in a professional work context, so the only parts that belong on your resume are the parts which would be the same if you’d been (say) leading a study group about advanced geometry, or the novels of Jane Austen, or the history of fly-fishing .

    7. FisherCat*

      I think like, 80%, of the knee jerk “why?!” reaction is the loaded language of it all. The resume itself is proselytizing rather than describing. I think any religious work on a resume for a government job might be not-ideal but for students who likely have much less experience, sure no problem if its framed in terms of workplace skills.

    8. Lora*

      Yes? All of them?

      When I was in college I did some work for a religious student group, which received a tiny bit of scholarship funding to support the administrative staff who ran their offices and programming. I organized and ran fundraising events, programming, and was the organization’s treasurer, got t-shirts made, stuff like that. So that was on my resume for my first couple of post-college jobs. But, it was obvious what type of work I had been doing: simple bookkeeping, promotions and marketing, event management, etc. Work stuff, for which I got a very small stipend. It’s remotely possible that someone, somewhere, developed a slight interest in reading a book about religion (we had some semi-famous authors give talks) on my account but I don’t think anyone, least of all any god anywhere, actually cares all that much.

    9. Temperance*

      If this was my intern, I would advise her thusly: your resume is supposed to show the skills that you gained while working that job, and they should be skills that will make you a better candidate for *this* job. Instead of “helping people take one step closer to Jesus”, why not focus on how you helped to grow the size of your club, marketing that you did, or your leadership skills and roles?

    10. Again With Feeling*

      It’s not a job skill, but also, it belies a very narrow view of the world that assumes everyone who may read this resume is Christian/sees Christian proselytizing as a positive thing. I would be extremely concerned about this person fitting into a modern, diverse workplace. (“Fitting in” meaning being respectful of all coworkers and keeping religion out of the office.)

    11. Minerva*

      My old school friend is a Cantor. He runs multiple jewish choirs. This is entirely relevant if he ever wants a side job teaching a community children’s choir. That these choirs draw from his religious community and perform religious music doesn’t matter, it’s still relevant. He might want to explain more about the styles of music they perform if he feels they’d have incorrect assumptions.

      If he added a phrase or peppered in language about helping reconnect youth with their Jewish identity (even though that’s part of the reason for Jewish based activities) on a resume for a secular choirmaster job, it would be at best a sign of bad resume writing, and possibly be taken as a sign that he isn’t interested in a secular position. Even that isn’t as uncomfortable as winning souls for Jesus, because there’s a good assumption that he’s working with kids in his own community, not looking to steal them from the humanist schul down the street.

  9. Annette*

    #3: It sounds like the letter writer is starting low on the base salary band, but they also mention “didn’t quite have the number of years of experience” for the role that they got. Surely the low starting point would be an indication of their level of experience, giving them something to work up to over the coming years as they gain experience?

    1. Fran Fine*

      I was going to comment on the same point. You actually aren’t underpaid, OP, if you got a job that’s above your actual skillset/experience level. They paid you at the floor of the range because you don’t have the experience to merit a mid-range salary just yet. You can ask for the $10k increase at salary review time (Alison is absolutely right that you should not bring this up when you start – that ship has sailed), but I wouldn’t expect to get it unless you come in and really blow this position out the water.

      1. Again With Feeling*

        Yeah…even if they are underpaid (which sucks!), asking for a $10K raise after a year might not come off too well, in terms of OP’s judgment. I would be cautious about this level of ask. Unless your salary is so high that $10K is a small percentage, that’s a very significant jump.

    2. I'd Rather Be Eating Dumplings*

      Agreed. It sounds like it’s possible OP is earning more than she might have in the original position she was being considered for — but given her experience they might think she needs more time to really grow into the role.

      I do think it’s worth asking about at the review, getting a sense of where you are (and who knows, the company could be taking advantage) but typically when we move up a band we expect to start at the low end.

    3. Snow Globe*

      +1. The reason there is a salary range is that there can be a large difference in skills/experience for people working in the role. If you’ve just moved up a level and don’t quite have all of the requirements for the role, then bottom of the range is where you should be. You could need 3-5 years experience before getting to the middle of the range (depending on how wide the range is).

    4. BRR*

      Yeah it sounds like the lw was offered a salary on the lower end because their qualifications were on the lower end. I wouldn’t fault them at all for asking for more when they got the offer, but you can’t really ask for more in your second week. I’m not really sure I’d think of it as being underpaid $10k a year though.

    5. Jack Straw*

      Yes. If you weren’t sure you met their minimum qualifications/years of experience for the role, you *should* be at the low end of the salary range. I think the better ask, at annual review time, is to lay out the years of experience, job performance, etc. to get to that mid-range.

    6. Aquawoman*

      I had the same thought. She could think about it in terms of what the lower level job would have paid her, eg, if it was $15k less than she is making now, she could look at it as being up $15k rather than down $10.

    7. Sara without an H*

      I was just coming to say something similar. OP#3, if you’re starting out in a position with less experience than would normally be required or expected, you can’t reasonably expect them to start you out in the middle or upper end of the salary band. Trying to renegotiate salary while you’re still in your training period will put an asterisk next to your name that you really don’t want.

      What you need to do now is learn the job, dazzle them with outstanding performance, then negotiate when you come up for that annual review. Good luck!

    8. Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain*

      OR “forewarned I didn’t quite have the number of years of experience” is a form of gaslighting they use to keep workers underpaid no matter what their level of experience. It’s pretty common form of “negotiating” to neg a candidate’s experience/skills in order to justify paying them at the bottom; the mistake was accepting that at face value and not pushing back. I agree with Alison that the OP can’t go back and negotiate after the fact though.

      1. Snow globe*

        Possibly-but the OP stated that they applied for a lower level position, and they were offered a this instead. That would indicate that the OP is moving up a level with this job. It’s pretty likely that the OP is, in fact, on the lower end of experience for this job.

  10. ..Kat..*

    Mentioning Jesus on your resume could be very relevant – for example, if you work for the Miami Marlins. But, this would refer to Jesus Aguilar, the first baseman. Not Jesus, the son of God.

    Tee hee. Just couldn’t help myself….

      1. Grizabella the Glamour Cat*

        Hey, it amused me! ;-p

        I think it was pretty funny, and I’ll bet I’m not the only one who will have thst reaction. If you don’t, well, different strokes and all that!

      2. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

        I know as little about baseball as it’s possible after living in the US for 24 years, and I’m amused.

    1. D'Euly*

      “Assisted Isan Diaz in taking one step closer to Jesus to increase successfully handled ground hits by 13%”

    2. Former Teacher*

      Back when I was a middle school teacher, I had a class of about 30 kids that included four named Jesus. I suppose you could say I was helping bring Jesus(es) one step closer to math competency. But I still wouldn’t have phrased it that way in a resume.

      1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

        “Over a 15 year career, brought 35 Jesuses 25% closer to math competency than everyone else in the department” (shamelessly stolen from an above comment with minor alterations)

      2. L.H. Puttgrass*

        I can’t help think of a line from a Dire Straits song: “Two men say they’re Jesus—one of them must be wrong.” I guess Mark Knopfler never taught middle school!

    3. insertusernamehere*

      True story, I worked in football for several years and remember a college player who was filling out some paperwork for an NFL team and in the section to list any employment/jobs, he wrote: “Scoring Touchdowns for Jesus.” (He also had several incidents with the law/assaults/robberies…. but on Saturdays he was scoring touchdowns for Jesus. And he wrote this on essentially a job application! But – vocalizing religious beliefs in the workplace tends to get overlooked if you are super fast and can block…. teams will just write that off as devoted and passionate. I believe he still got drafted. ;)

  11. StellaBella*

    Regarding the resume stating the person brought people closer to Jesus, I worked for a decade in a large software firm with a diverse team of people of religious and non religious persuasians from the UK, US, India, Saudi Arabia, Japan, China, and France. We had one American guy on the team who kept trying to recruit me to his Utah based group, after I, an openly atheist woman, had told him I did not believe. Tho the company had a very clear non solicitation policy, it took 3 complaints in writing to HR explaining his bringing his book to my offIce was unacceptable. He was nearly fired but did shape up.

    1. allathian*

      I’m glad he shaped up, and I’m glad your former company had a non-solicitation policy. I wish more companies had those.

    2. Klio*

      That’s exactly how I would take the statement in that resume. Someone who’ll try to push their religion on their coworkers and clients.

      1. I'd Rather Be Eating Dumplings*

        I do hope someone speaks to her, because if she’s young (and it sounds like an intern position, so I’m guessing she is) someone likely advised her, or perhaps she borrowed language from the church’s own descripition of the work…..and she doesn’t realise what sort of questions it brings up for people.

      2. Virginia Plain*

        That’s the thing isn’t it – anything on a resume carries an implication you would demonstrate that skill in the office (or it shouldn’t be on there). Here is a thing I did and the reason I’m telling you is because I’d do it in this internship.
        So, thinking of non-formal-job stuff that an intern might include, that could be “I organised a student theatre production of the Mikado which sold out” = “at your company I would show organisational skills, dealing with difficult clients and budget management”, or “I coached the blackjack team to the top of the league” = “i would show the ability to lead and communicate with others and have good mathematical skills”. But “I brought people closer to Jesus” implies, I fear “at your company I would be leaving pamphlets on desks, telling people they shouldn’t fornicate outside wedlock and taking the concept of come-to-Jesus talks extremely literally”…

        1. Myrin*

          That’s an excellent way of putting it – even though most people probably understand that concept intuitively (myself included), I don’t think I’ve ever seen it phrased that clearly!

        2. londonedit*

          Absolutely. In my industry and in the UK it’s still seen as broadly OK to have non-work interests listed on your CV (the idea being that the interviewer wants to see a bit of who you are outside of work) but the understanding is that you don’t just put ‘I like baking and watching films’, you use it to show things from your non-work life that are also useful in a work context. So you’d put things like ‘Active member of local badminton club, serving as club treasurer from 2017 until 2020’ or ‘Qualified junior rugby coach leading sessions for under-8s every Saturday morning’. Because those things show community involvement, responsibility and a willingness to get involved, which are all qualities people tend to like in job candidates.

    3. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      This. As someone who was converted by missionaries at age 22, and deeply regrets it now, that statement on a candidate’s resume would give me the hives. I would absolutely read it as “I’m going to try to convert everyone I cross paths with at work”, which I do not take kindly to.

      (It took me 20 years and $15K in annual dues to finally get back out. I was a college student in my home country right after the Iron Curtain fell, the man who converted me was an American(!) college professor(!!), so he came to me from a position of a tremendous authority. It never crossed my 22-year-old mind that he could’ve been wrong. Took at least a decade to even start questioning it.)

  12. I'd Rather Be Eating Dumplings*

    Also, “helping people take one step closer to Jesus” is a very…vague? accomplishment.

    Maybe it carries more meaning to people working in the church, but at least to me, it conveys very little about practically what she did.

      1. Virginia Plain*

        Lol it does a bit!

        “I improved her closeness to god by sending her to meet him”

    1. Fried Eggs*

      Putting myself back in college me’s head, I imagine this is a talking point from whomever supervised her and she felt this sounded more impressive than just listing what she did.

      Like, stacking chairs after the event might sound like menial work, but it actually serves a higher purpose that gives it meaning.

    2. Not my name*

      To me it sounds like she’s involved in some form of new age Pentecostal happy clap church that is more about recruitment than retention ;) They suck in large volumes of young people (in Australia anyway), feed them a diet of religious junk food, and when the youth ask serious questions and want to get deep and theological they churn them back out burnt, gaslit and miserable.

      Fun times!

    3. Janet's Planet*

      Right, she likely didn’t list it because it was helpful in a quantitative sense; she wanted to get a mention of Jesus in there to attract a like-minded hiring manager or repel a hiring manager who didn’t share the same religion and beliefs as her.

    4. Antilles*

      As someone who’s been fairly involved in my church at various points of my life, no, it doesn’t carry any more meaning to me and it still conveys very little about the actual role.
      The phrase has an overall concept of helping people grow or deepen their faith. Sounds simple enough.
      But within the church, I’ve heard it used in all sorts of contexts – running the gamut from a pastor giving a sermon all the way to purely logistical things like “setting up the auditorium isn’t glamorous, but this event wouldn’t happen without us, so we’re still helping provide the opportunity for people grow their faith”.
      So even setting aside the question of whether it belongs on a resume, the phrase itself is kind of meaningless, akin to saying “performed important tasks for the project”.

      1. twocents*

        Lol, my org has apparently received enough annual reviews that basically amount to “twocents excels at doing important things” that, this year, we got 4 pages of extremely detailed objectives to meet.

    5. J3*

      Yes, I think what really stands out to me is that if you set aside the religious aspect and translated it to a more secular context, it would still be a very weak resume point. For example, imagine that the person was leading an anti-racist book group instead of a Bible study and their bullet point said “Helped participants take one step closer to racial equity”. That might be a job description or a goal but it’s too vague to be a relevant accomplishment.

  13. WS*

    I had an applicant who had similar things on her resume but also mentioned in detail her most recent volunteer work, which was on a campaign opposing same-sex marriage. She hand-delivered it to the owner, who is an out lesbian. I still can’t work out if she was actually that clueless (she had previously been working for one of the few evangelical churches in Australia so it’s possible she was in a bubble) or if it was a pointed and nasty statement. Either way, she didn’t get an interview.

    1. MsM*

      You’d be surprised how little research some people do. At my old advocacy job, we’d always get a few cover letters from the wrong end of the policy spectrum because they saw one word in our name (think “liberty”) and just applied their own ideological context to it without so much as reading our mission statement.

    2. Anony vas Normandy*

      Oof. I would have suspected her of looking for an excuse to file a religious discrimination case.

  14. Jwal*

    I managed to merge the descriptions together in my head on first read to say “throwing Jesus under the bus on my resume”, and was a bit disappointed to find that wasn’t the actual letter!

    If I saw a cv talking about bringing people closer to Jesus, I would be worried that the person might start evangelising in the workplace. Of course most religious people wouldn’t, but purposely putting it on a resume it displays a lack of good judgment/apprpropriateness IMO

    1. Aquawoman*

      Volunteered for the Church of Satan, bringing people one step farther from Jesus.

    2. Rusty Shackelford*

      “throwing Jesus under the bus on my resume”

      Reminds me of the comedian (can’t remember his name) talking about sports figures who thank Jesus for their wins. What does the other team say? “We would have won, but Jesus hates our team.”

      1. insertusernamehere*

        Well, there was the Buffalo Bills WR (Stevie Johnson) who sent out a tweet blaming God on Twitter after dropping an overtime game winning pass….

  15. I’m a Christian*

    For LW 1, that’s weird. I’m a devout Christian who, in college, was involved in going door to door talking to people about Jesus. Here’s how I talked about it on my resume
    College activities
    Study abroad semester: Fall (year)
    History Club: start date – end date
    Door to Door ministry: start date – end date

    Didn’t elaborate because it seemed to be inappropriate.

    1. Antilles*

      That seems like a reasonable way to handle it. If/when they ask about it, you can focus on the organization, time commitment, or whatever seems appropriate without really getting into the proselytizing part of it.

    2. MissDisplaced*

      Exactly, this is how to handle that type of experience professionally without getting too deep into the religious aspects.

    3. Macaroni Penguin*

      Yeah, that’s a professional and quantifiable statement to describe your ministry activities.

  16. FashionablyEvil*

    #1 reminds me of when my husband used to interview student job candidates in the south (at a public university no less!) One of the questions was “What do you think sets you apart from other candidates?” and he had multiple candidates say, “My personal relationship with my lord and savior, Jesus Christ.” He also had to explain many, many times that Bible study was not an open and inclusive program despite protestations that of course the Jewish/Muslim/Hindu etc students were welcome at Bible study.

    Definitely a culture shock.

    1. Lilo*

      My Dad (who is an every Sunday attendee) used to say that is someone had that fish on their business card, you know they would rip you off. I’d see that as a similar red flag in interviews.

      1. Sleepless*

        Yep. I’m from the Bible Belt (and went to college in northwest GA where this kind of thing is magnified 10x, so help me) and any time I see a fish on a business card I expect the professionalism to be pretty much nil.

      2. MassMatt*

        Good point, people running scams and cons often seek to highlight ethnic or religious trappings to gain trust from their victims. A variation on the “no true Scotsman” fallacy, I suppose.

    2. LPUK*

      Thank Goodness for the Church of England over here – no evangelicals! Religion is seen as a private thing – only once have I had someone try to ‘bring me closer to Jesus’ and that was at university. I said no thanks. in fact literally they asked ‘ wouldn’t you feel glad knowing that after this life there’s life eternal?’ and I replied that sometimes the only thing that kept me going was the fact there was only another 60 years ahead of me – not the answer they were expecting

      1. Bagpuss*

        Well, a lot fewer evangelicals, at least.
        I’ve twice lived in areas where it was very common to have Jehovah’s Witnesses show up on the doorstep (they stopped coming to my house after I opened the door with a large, bloody knife in one hand, once..) and we used to get the occasional paid of Morman missionaries.

        And of course the kind of people who feel the urge to preach on soap-boxes in the street

        I agree however that in general, public displays of religious belief are much rarer.

        1. UKDancer*

          Definitely. I’d add to that the odd people who used to get on the bus and start preaching at the assembled commuters. My favourite memory of that is going from Brixton (where I lived) with my godmother up to the Methodist central hall at Westminster on the bus for Sunday service. A chap got on and began to hold forth on the impending nature of divine judgment. My godmother (a Methodist local preacher) had to be strongly deterred from getting up to explain to the chap the errors in his theology.

          I had to explain that in London we don’t talk to random proselytising people on buses. We look away and hope they’ll leave at the next stop.

        2. NotRealAnonForThis*

          I’m convinced (USA here) that a lot of our issue with religious extremism as mainstream here has to do with the fact that a large number of the original colonists here had left their home countries because of “persecution for their religious beliefs” (that didn’t line up with the mainstream religious beliefs of their origin countries/areas). Can’t definitively link, but it makes sense in my head.

          1. Lora*

            It’s not only that – in the 19th century a ton of religious groups splintered off into sub-groups and all kinds of new religious groups and cults started. It’s fascinating history to me, the Seventh Day Adventists, LDS church, Amish Mennonite vs Old Order Amish, various Baptist splits, traditional Methodists vs Holiness, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Transcendentalism, Theosophy, all kinds of communes and religious or philosophical communities. It was a really wild era in the US for religion, where we kind of solidified our commitment to letting people believe and do all kinds of wacky things in the name of religion.

        3. MassMatt*

          I knew someone in college whose family left the Jehovah’s Witnesses, he said the local HQ kept a map showing what houses were friendly, likely converts, hostile, etc. And there were “black houses” where missionaries were FORBIDDEN to go, because the occupants actually converted the missionaries OUT of the religion. My roommate at the time was just itching to try to get that black mark!

      2. Magenta*

        We get a fair bit where I live in the UK, various groups have stands in the town centre, Evangelicals, Seventh Day Adventists, JWs, Mormons, Muslim groups (one guy told me I was objectifying myself by showing too much skin, I pointed out that there was only one of us treating me like an object but he didn’t get my point) I live near a big Hari Krishna temple and there are a fair few recruiters about, they have the same evangelical gleam in their eyes as the Christians but at least there is music and dancing! I guess if the CofE tried recruiting there would be tea and cake.

          1. UKDancer*

            Definitely tea, cake and harvest festival, also collecting for the poor and the church roof. I don’t think the Church of England has ever been evangelical in my lifetime. I suppose being an established church they’re just kind of there and people use them or not as it suits them (rather like the library and the municipal leisure centre).

            I grew up Methodist which is also not evangelical but never really believed any of it and am now gently atheist. I think their recruitment material would probably favour tea, cake and rousing hymns. There’s something in me that likes a lot of what Methodism in the UK is about socially, it’s just a shame about the religious parts.

            I think the other thing about both Anglicanism and Methodism in the UK is that it’s very socially liberal and left of centre (prone to criticise the Government over climate change, detaining asylum seekers, sanctioning benefit claimants and failing to help the poor enough) whereas I have a feeling in the US it’s a bit more to the right.

    3. Queer Earthling*

      I went to an evangelical university and you’d be surprised how many people at the very strict Christian college thought that it made them stand out. Like. Dude. We all had to sign a statement of faith and we all have to take enough credits to have a Bible minor, you aren’t special.

      1. FashionablyEvil*

        Right? That was the other part that always baffled me—it’s inappropriate in a work setting, but also just a bad answer to the question.

  17. Elle by the sea*

    #5 That happens a lot. In general, if you have a job and you are excited about it, you get more requests from recruiters than those who are jobless or are unhappy in their jobs. Unfortunately, most recruiters seem to avoid those who desperately need a job and tend to fish for those who are already flying high.

    1. agnes*

      Companies always think those who are currently employed are somehow more desirable than those who aren’t. Their thinking is that the best people already have a job–if the unemployed were more talented, they would already be working. Illogical, but true.

      1. Elle by the sea*

        Yes, that’s the reason behind it, but it’s extremely frustrating. Once, when I was on job search, a recruiter scheduled a rejection call with me and explained to me that it didn’t make sense to hire me, as there were others who did as well as me in the final round plus they were already employed somewhere else, therefore they must be stronger candidates than me. It was one of the most unpleasant conversations I’ve ever had the misfortune to have.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          Yep, apparently not working means I’m lazy. I had two different staffing agencies tell me they couldn’t place me because I have a sizeable gap on my resume. Oh really? What if they got a candidate who has a four-year gap because they had small children or were caring for a family member? They’re not even going to bother?

          I feel that says more about them than it does about me. I have not returned to either of those agencies. FWIW, I have some freelance stuff on there now, but gah.

    2. Skippy*

      You’re absolutely right, but this is one of the most frustrating and illogical aspects of job hunting.

    3. Qwerty*

      I suspect the algos also give preference to people who have activity on their profile. Anytime I make a small formatting change or if my company gets more followers then I see an uptick from recruiters.

  18. agnes*

    I feel sorry for the candidate who has put this accomplishment on their resume. They got some bad advice that will hinder them in a job search–and they might be a good candidate otherwise. But I can say with certainty that I would not provide one word of feedback to the candidate. I don’t want to get an EEO inquiry about potential religious discrimination. It almost smacks of a set up.

    1. LilyP*

      Yeah, my generous reading is that line might be a clumsy attempt to translate a very boring duty (presumably leading bible study) into an “accomplishment” and she doesn’t realize how it comes off. But for someone who’s not a strong candidate anyway, little stuff tips you into the no pile.

  19. Junior Assistant Peon*

    #5 – I got a bad feeling about my last job in the first few days. I was twiddling my thumbs all day until my computer arrived in week 2, and I never saw my boss again after he took me out to lunch and seemed nice on my first day. I was wondering if I should continue to job-hunt, and made the mistake of giving the job a chance to improve. It turned out to be a bad company and bad boss, and I really regret that I didn’t just keep job-hunting, quit in my first few months, and leave the job off my resume.

  20. Seeking Second Childhood*

    If OP1 hires the intern anyway, would that open an opportunity to bring this up for future revisions? I’ve read other comments where someone has held a resume workshop for interns, and that could include a list of things that are not standard on professional resumes.

    1. Bagpuss*

      I think that it could be similar to providing feedback to the college or university –

      A workshop which gave all the interns advice about dos and don’ts, to help them in their search for permenent roles, and which included advice about not including potentially divisive or irrelevant information, and ensuring that they focus on showing what skills they have, and how that is relevant to the job they are seeking, would probably be OK.

      Perhaps based on ‘here are some examples of good and bad ways of presenting things’ rather than looking specifically at the individual’s resume.

      So you could use an example of ‘led bible study group helping to bring participants closer to god’ as against ‘organised and led a bible study group, requiring me to chair and mange meetings to ensure that all participants were heard, that meetings ran to time and that all planned material was covered’ , for instance.

      (But I’m not in the USA so not familiar with the specific legal restrictions so would be interested in the views of those who are)

    2. Temperance*

      Frankly, no. The kind of person who thinks that their personal relationship with their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is resume-worthy is also the kind of person who will file an employment discrimination lawsuit if you tell them to tone it down.

  21. Bubbles*

    Oh yes. When I worked in Georgia we had a young man who went to a very strict (and extreme to outsiders) religious university and expected that to get him any job he wanted regardless of experience. It was bizarre the expectations set up by that. He walked out on lunch the second day because we wouldn’t let him do advanced work yet. He straight up told us that his studies there and work landscaping at the college set him up for anything he desired. It was so weird.

    1. Bubbles*

      Forgot to mention his resume was full of religious references like the young woman in the OP.

    2. Cat Tree*

      I think some places (the college) do this to build a sense of shared difficulties with the members and create a closer in-group identity. These eager but naive young adults are led to believe that success will be easy for them because they have God on their side, and that they deserve it more for the same reason. They’re taught that if they just pray enough, anything will be theirs.

      Then they leave their bubble and find that things don’t generally work that way. For many people, this makes them distrustful of the outside world and they double down on their earlier beliefs. They then realize that their peers have also been wronged by the outside world and they reinforce each other’s beliefs. Instead of learning how to function better in the world by earning incrementally progressive success over time, it creates a tight knit group of people who are resentful about everyone NOT in their group for not playing along with their strategy of praying their way past all the hard parts.

      1. Sled dog mama*

        Yes, it seems this way to me too. It’s so odd to me because there are plenty of examples to counter this.

      2. Richard*

        “Then they leave their bubble and find that things don’t generally work that way. For many people, this makes them distrustful of the outside world and they double down on their earlier beliefs.”
        This can apply to post-college life for so many different students and cultures. These students are on the lucky side since there’s a big economic infrastructure around fundamentalism that they can find shelter in.

    3. Misc*

      By lunch on my second day on the job, I didn’t even have access to the servers to do work yet, let alone be upset that the work I was doing wasn’t advanced enough.

    4. OyHiOh*

      Oh this is definitely a thing. The fundamentalist lutheran high school/college I attended behaved exactly the same way – taught us that strictly because of where we went to school we would get hired anywhere we desired, to do anything we wanted.

      Somewhat to my surprise, as an adult I’ve found that parts of the education I received there were ligitimately very good. For being a church run school, we did learn research methods, strong critical and systems thinking, and we had a top notch required-to-graduate civics class. Science courses were . . . . . far less so.

  22. Jennifer*

    #1 Aw man. I wish someone could help her but I get why Alison gave the advice she did. I suspect that she asked someone at her church for advice with her resume since she has no employment experience and that’s what they suggested. I heard similar advice given to young people when I was that age. I never took it, thank goodness. Hopefully she will wise up when she doesn’t get any responses.

    1. Lilo*

      I have to say. I would never give unsolicited feedback on a resume and I’m pretty cautious about feedback as a hiring official even solicited. It’s just a minefield. Feedback outside of the hiring process much less so.

      1. Fonts matter*

        At an ex-job, we worked with a lot of student interns. One person submitted the cover letter using a wild sans serif font (perhaps Comic Sans?) that was formatted so the letters had shadowing. It was nearly impossible to read. The ED actually called the person and politely explained to them that was unprofessional and said that if they wanted to resubmit using a font like Times New Roman or something, they could.

      2. ako*

        Oh man, this is the hardest part. In my company, we hire a lot of fresh out of college or 2nd job out of college types. I want to be able to be helpful and give them advice on their resumes or interviews, but it’s such a legal risk that I just can’t.

  23. Jennifer*

    #1 Of course, if she did actually work at a church – setting up events, greeting people, getting coffee and treats for guests, basically admin work, she could put that on her resume. That just doesn’t seem to be the case.

    1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      Right. My last two years in church, I taught Sunday school. There was a modicum of teaching involved; textbooks, lesson plans, and so on. You had to be on time, be professional in your interactions with the kids and your fellow teachers, etc. I can see putting it on my resume for a relevant position. It was also an enlightening experience to me, that helped bring me one step closer to my eventual atheism. That would not belong on a resume. That’s my personal stuff.

  24. Engenuity*

    LW #4 Allison’s advice is good as a general rule for job seekers, but if you have connections at the company to which you’re applying and it’s somewhere you really want to work, I’d ask them. At my company, everything is just funnelled into the same HR system – I find it interesting to look at trends of where employees are applying from, but I don’t know any HM that puts weight on that in decision making. What matters far more for us is getting the application in within the first two weeks the posting is open (and if doing it via LinkedIn means you do it sooner, that probably works in your favor). So apply on the website is solid general advice, but if you happen to have access to inside info about a particular company, I’d go with that over a general rule.

    1. Bob's Your Uncle*

      Same here. All applications go to the same system, so for us it matters if 1) another employee gave a recommendation and 2) how soon you send your resume. It’s not a dealbreaker to send it later rather than sooner, but if we already have other good candidates aligned, you have to really stand out for us to add another interview to the process. Otherwise, it’s just more of the same, so to extend the process is just costly and often useless.

    2. EJDM*

      I wrote #4 and appreciate this additional insight! Now I have another question – if the posting has been up for 2 weeks is it better to just not apply and wait for another opening? Or go ahead and apply but just know that you’re less likely to get an interview?

      1. Sara*

        I’m an in-house recruiter and even if a role has been posted for months, you should still always apply if you’re interested in the role. It’s a tight job market and it’s taking longer than ever to fill open roles for a number of reasons–low applicants in general, interviews not going well, declined offers, etc. Don’t let how long something has been posted deter you because there could be any number of things happening on the recruiting end that means you’d still very much be considered if you’re a match!

      2. Engenuity*

        Glad the insight was helpful! Yes, please apply, especially if you’re a solid fit for for the role! If I’m truly not interested in new applications, I’ll ask the recruiter to take the posting down. It’s possible not all HMs are as diligent, but you still never know – the top candidate might decline an offer or someone who seemed like a ringer could bomb an interview.

        The reason it’s harder on average the longer the post is up is because the HM is going to have a sense of the market and be more interested in narrowing things down if they’ve received a lot of strong applications. But you never know, maybe they haven’t or you’re a perfectly qualified candidate so it’s not a lost cause necessarily if you’re late to the game.

        This is probably more important at companies like mine, too, that set aggressive hiring targets with a use it or lose it headcount policy. For a more laid-back company or a team looking for a very specialized role, it may not really matter at all. My advice was more along the lines of (1) try to learn about the hiring process if you can, especially if it’s a top job or company for you, and (2) don’t procrastinate if you know of the job and are able to get your app in sooner rather than later.

      3. Melewen*

        I applied inadvertently applied to a position after the deadline (As an American in Europe, I sometimes read the dates wrong), but they liked my resume and squeezed me in for an interview. The interview went great and I was offered the position. While I wouldn’t’ recommenced applying late, I think this demonstrates that many places review applications during the entire open period.

        1. Melewen*

          If we could edit comments, I’d delete the first “applied” and the second apostrophe…

  25. Lilo*

    For #4 it’s always better to apply directly. Sometimes those third party websites do weird stuff with formatting or send odd stuff. I’d also say always submit an actual resume, never rely on one of those web generated ones that places like Monster do.

    1. I'm just here for the cats*

      YES. +1000!

      I did one of those web-generated resumes on Monster or Indeed. And it was horrible. I was so glad that I looked it over and didn’t just send it off. So many mistakes. Titles were wrong or cut off, dates were wrong, and it didn’t list by duties/ accomplishments correctly. It took more time to fix the mistakes than it would have to just update an old resume.

    2. EJDM*

      Thanks! I wrote #4 and this makes sense. Some of the board applications I’ve gotten were a hot mess, knowing it was probably the website causing the issues makes sense and makes me think a lot of people aren’t aware that is happening. Ugh.

    3. Elizabeth West*

      When I apply through LinkedIn, I combine my cover letter and resume into one PDF document and attach that. It goes through the website, but I don’t have to worry about the formatting. It also sends your profile to them.

      Sometimes the LI apply button will take you to the company’s application portal website, but the quick apply option usually doesn’t. There is no paste-your-cover-letter-here field in LinkedIn like there is with Indeed. In fact, I often do this through them as well, when the employer is only receiving apps through the platform. It just looks neater.

  26. Julia*

    I looked at the last link in the set of out-of-place resume inclusions, which links to a post from 2009… I’m always staggered at how far the AAM comments section has come in 14 years. It used to be so hostile to employers, and full of trolls and angry people and people promoting their own blog. It’s a testament to Alison that she’s managed to build such a positive community over the years.

    #3, seconding the other commenters who say that just because you’re on the low end of the range doesn’t mean you are underpaid, particularly if you don’t quite have all the experience for this role. And particularly if you’re relying on online info rather than talking to people. If you were happy with your salary before, don’t let buyer’s remorse sour this for you. Just keep your head down. And when you ask for a raise after a year, don’t propose a “base pay reset”; that ship has sailed. Just propose an X% raise.

  27. Lilo*

    This is tangentially related to LW1, where I once got a personal statement from a candidate where we asked a pretty standard question about an accomplishment he was proud of and the whole thing was the saga of his divorce, how his wife had tried to ruin him an how he had triumphed in court. I mean even if that was accurate, it showed extremely poor judgment.

    He did not get an interview.

    1. Self Employed*

      I asked a job candidate “Tell me about a problem you solved” or something along those lines, and she started answering about going to marriage counseling. I stopped her and clarified I was asking about situations on the job. She went right back to the story about marriage counseling and I interrupted and said I do not want to know about her personal life and went to the next question.

  28. Big Bird*

    #1–my sister-in-law (who proudly weighs 500+ pounds and has all the health problems that go with it) had “Moderator–National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance Message Boards” on her resume as an example of her community involvement. I begged her to remove it since a) it wasn’t as impressive an accomplishment as she thought it was, and b) it just gave overworked recruiters an excuse to screen her out. She refused, and then could not figure out why she did not get interviews for positions that “had [her] name written all over them.” She is now too disabled to work so it is a moot point, but it pains me to think of all the opportunities she lost due to her stubbornness.

    1. Czhorat*

      The opportunities were also lost due to, quite honestly, bigotry against fat people. I know we don’t do politics here, but in America Christianity is the dominant religion by a wide margin. Fat people are, as a group, still discriminated against. They’re not the same things.

      Now, if you want to argue that “message board moderator” is fluff which doesn’t belong on a resume I’ll agree, but the issue is “message board moderator” not “fat acceptance”.

      (I’ll aside that while tone is hard to grok in text communication, “..all the health problems to go with it” felt judgmental to me. If that’s now how you meant it, be aware you may be sending that message inadvertently. If it is how you meant it, strive for greater kindness).

      1. D3*

        Thank you for calling him out on this, the judgmental tone and fatphobia here is so blatant and he seems to think everyone will OF COURSE agree.
        It’s so off base to think that there is a similarity.

      2. MsM*

        Although even then, there are some jobs where it might be appropriate if you were able to add some metrics (e.g. how big the community was, how many inquiries you fielded, how you managed any other volunteers, etc.).

      3. Observer*

        Unfortunately, I have to agree with you. I wish you were wrong, but you’re not.

      4. Arvolin*

        Being way overweight has all sorts of health implications, mostly bad. This is known through evidence. It may not make sense for any given individual to try to lose weight at any given time, but it’s a strong reason to lose weight if there aren’t other considerations.

      5. Big Bird*

        I agree that discrimination against fat people is the most accepted form of bigotry in America and I hate the fact that it is true, but I felt that having that particular entry on her resume, besides being fluff, was providing people with the perfect excuse to toss her resume in the recycle bin without ever getting to know her and her skills. I always felt that the purpose of a resume was to get the interview–and anything that interferes with that goal should not appear.

        As far as the health issues, she is wheelchair-bound, has BP of 208/100 (very poorly controlled), type 2 diabetes, gallbladder disease, fatty liver disease, breathing difficulties that require an oxygen concentrator, a dissected coronary artery that almost killed her, and she is legally blind because of damage to the optic nerve that is associated with sleep apnea, high blood pressure and diabetes. (I know that association is not causation.) And other conditions she has which are not considered obesity-related are difficult to treat because of difficulty getting imaging, difficulty starting IVs, and the fear of the consequences of general anaesthesia in someone of her size and general physical condition. I recognize that I sound judgmental, but it is incredibly painful to see someone you care about suffer such pain with so little relief. I guess I just needed to vent.

    2. fish*

      I have to say, as a lesbian who is lucky enough to be able to be picky about jobs, this actually strikes me as brilliant. If you know you may catch some discrimination, I strongly prefer to be totally up-front. That way, if they do have a problem with you, you won’t even have to be bothered by them.

      But, it’s not really professionally acceptable to write “I am fat!!” or “I am gay!!” in your cover letter, so this is a great way to put it out there in a professional way.

      1. fish*

        And I think it hardly needs to be said, but I know lots of people active in the fat acceptance movement who would be brilliant hires.

      2. Jennifer*

        Of course, but not everyone is able to be picky about jobs. The commenter said that this person didn’t get any responses to their resume. What if she really needed a job at that time?

        I have tried to be as vague as possible about certain things like race during the application process.

        If you can afford to be picky, go for it, but the advice given was realistic, even if made in a judgmental way.

        1. Big Bird*

          She very much needed the job at the time, and now that she is disabled she was told that she does not qualify for Social Security Disability benefits because she has not earned any Social Security credits in the past ten years. It is really heartbreaking.

  29. DJ Abbott*

    #5, I had this happen when I was at a data entry temp job. Several recruiters sent me messages about other data entry temp jobs.
    1. I did *not* want more temp jobs that were way below my skill level and paid minimum wage!
    2. If they had read my résumé they would have known what kind of job I was looking for, and it wasn’t that.
    I don’t think they read resumes at all. I think they do a search for a specific term like data entry and then just blast their position out to all the results.

  30. JA*

    In response to #2, I did something similar when I left my last job. My boss was a manipulative micromanager who used policy to bully me when she realized she had absolutely no reason to fire me other than she needed to get competent people out of her way. After about a year of this, I had no qualms about filing a complaint and dumping copies of her emails into HR’s lap. Sure, that wasn’t the nicest, cleanest way to leave. But what she did to me was far from nice and clean.

  31. Czhorat*

    For #2 – I get it. We’ve all been there, and it totally feels good to douse your desk with gasoline (though I wouldn’t waste it in these times!) and light a match on your way out.

    I’ve always resisted the urge because of exactly what Allison said; Ubermanager’s manager might read this as an overreaction on your part. A highly edited word might get around to the rest of the team. Unless the behavior you’re calling out was truly heinous (sexism, racism, bullying, or abusive), then other people will see you as a disgruntled employee taking a cheap-shot on your way out. That’s not good for your reputation, even if you ARE right.

    Even with people you’re glad to be rid of, it’s probably best not to burn bridges.

    I DO understand the appeal though, and am glad it brought you pleasure.

    1. NYC Taxi*

      Dumping and running feels satisfying, but by doing that there’s no conversation – UM can manage the narrative by painting you as a reactive disgruntled employee, and there’s no counterpoint. Plus depending on the size of your industry you never know when you’re going to come across UM or your coworkers in the future at another job.

      1. Czhorat*

        Yeah, part of my bias is that I’m in a small industry (small enough that I probably should use caution with what I say here, as I’m of the few using my real name on AAM). I can’t tell you how many people I’ve encountered multiple times under multiple roles; my world is one in which bridge-building is very much a poor idea

        1. NYC Taxi*

          Haha me too. I’m currently working with three former coworkers from 3 different jobs, luckily we all work well together!

    2. Bus Driver*

      I hear you. I said my goodbyes to the rest of the team in private messages, and most of us have had backchannel conversations about IT and his shenanigans in the past – most of which were during our team stand-ups and status calls, so I’m not too worried about their opinions being skewed.

      If there’s no action or even further conversation about my complaints taken by the rest of management, then they’re not the sort of people I’ll want to be working with or for ever again.

    3. MassMatt*

      I’d also say if you’ve done this, OK, but don’t carry on this feud and badmouth your former employer when looking for future jobs. No one wants to hire someone they suspect might be difficult to work with or carries on grudges. Employers will naturally wonder whether they will be the lucky recipients of this kind of vitriol after you leave.

  32. JohannaCabal*

    #4 I always apply through the company website even if I find the job posting somewhere else. But I always mention in the cover letter where I learned about the job, usually in the first paragraph. As someone who has hired in the past, it’s good information for determining where most of your candidates are finding out about your company’s jobs.

  33. Elizabeth West*

    #1–Besides being inappropriate, Jesus Intern’s resume item doesn’t actually provide any tangible, job-related information. Even if she were applying to work in a religious organization affiliated with her religion, she would still need to specify WHAT she did, not WHY she did it.

    Let’s say she volunteered or worked in a shelter. She should focus on the actual tasks she did and skills or accomplishments other than the broad theme—organizing meal distribution, or making PowerPoint slideshows, for example. The context doesn’t matter; it just shows that she has that skill.

    #5–Haha, this is like dating. A couple of weeks after I started seeing my ex, a previous BF called me wanting to get back together. During our relationship, I also met two people I could have dated had we all not been in relationships. Before that, zippo/zilch/nada.

    By the same token, barely anyone talked to me when I was job hunting but my first week at Exjob, I got two calls out of the blue from companies from which I’d heard nothing. It was kind of nice to say “Sorry, I’ve accepted another position!”

  34. CW*

    #2 – Happened to me 4.5 years ago, but I was short paid $20,000. Unfortunately, the only way out other than to wait a year is to switch jobs. Now, my salary was insultingly low. Think $30,000 vs. $50,ooo – that was the ballpark of my salary vs. the market rate. It (really) set me back financially, so much that that $20,000 was the difference between moving out and staying with my aunt (yes, I had to stay with my aunt). I was miffed.

    I can’t say the same for you, but if it doesn’t work out and they lowball you, pretty soon it will sour your attitude towards your employer and it will likely negatively affect your performance. Give it a shot first, but if at the end it gets so bad you cannot even sugarcoat it, start looking for another job that is willing to pay what you are worth. You deserve to be happy and paid fairly.

  35. fhqwhgads*

    #3 if you didn’t quite have the years of experience, but they offered you the higher role anyway, then it probably makes sense they offered you the lower end of the payband for that role. So I wouldn’t kick yourself too much about not negotiating. It sounds entirely plausible it made sense in context.

  36. Pink Geek*

    #4 We’re hiring right now and the quality of the applicants we got through LinkedIn were mostly terrible. To save our sanity we’re prioritizing direct applicants.

    But also, we would rather hire someone interested in our company and if they’ve been on our website they’ve demonstrated at least a little interest.

  37. Don Quitote*

    We need another compilation of quitting mic drops. No, they’re almost never a good idea from a career standpoint, but reading about them is so satisfying.

  38. Sam*

    My main “real job” work since graduating college has been for two different religious organizations and I’m hyper-aware of the fact that it’ll likely make it harder to find secular employment down the road if I decide to go there. And it’s (largely) thanks to people like the one LW1 worked with!

    Neither of the orgs I work for would talk about “winning souls for Jesus”, even the one that’s explicitly focused on evangelism. Because we work with willing and interested people! They’re not objects to collect! Both companies are very professional organizations whose work ethics and values match those I found in previous work with governments and universities.

    It sucks that people who don’t understand obvious boundaries (like “don’t talk about your religion when applying for a government job where neutrality is crucial”) can ruin things for everyone else.

  39. My Brain Is Exploding*

    After reading some of the comments I just wanted to note that not everyone who works at or for a church is a member of that church, or even any church.

  40. Liz T*

    That’s not what it means to “throw someone under the bus,” so no.

    Throwing someone under the bus is foisting all the blame onto someone who deserves only partial blame (or no blame at all) because you yourself deserve some of that blame.

    From your telling, your boss deserved this blame and you deserved none. He went and camped out in the bus lane of his own accord, no one pushed him. I guess in this analogy you were the bus driver? Or maybe you were on the sidewalk and somehow summoned the bus? But you didn’t throw him there, not if he was guilty.

  41. Alexis Rosay*

    #1, I hire a lot of interns who get their ‘work’ start at church, but they have unfailing emphasized the transferable skills they learned, not the religious ones! Some of the successful candidates have organized trips, youth conferences, written newsletters, raised money, and done social media for their churches and these skills have turned out to be very relevant.

  42. Bookworm*

    #2: I’m not sure if that was throwing a manager under a bus but I can totally relate to why you did that, even if it’s not something I would do myself.

    #4: Thanks for asking. I’ve wondered this myself. I usually try to look through the job post to see if they specify (some do and some don’t). I’ve found it useful to apply via LinkedIn because it tells if they looked at your application or not but thus far I haven’t had significant success (interviews yes but that’s as far as it has gone).

    #5: Thanks for asking. That happened to me with my current job and I always thought that was weird, even though I hadn’t changed my profile or anything on LinkedIn.

  43. Canadian Valkyrie*

    #1 so I actually have a masters degree in theology and I am a practicing Jew and involved with my local synagogue. Some of the work I am hoping to do at the synagogue is actually relevant to my career (I don’t work in anything religious despite what my education suggests)… but I certainly had classmates who are EXTREMELY religious — like believe in the end days kind of religious and like to talk about how current world stuff is a sign of the end days, which is cool I’m not here to talk smack about anyone’s practices or beliefs, I’m merely stating this to highlight that there are certainly different approaches and I think I’ve seen a tendency of people to periodically become misguided and not understand what information or topic is appropriate and when.

    This person may have thought that by saying I do a Bible study and help people come closer to Jesus was sort of like saying “I write reports for X reason” where someone just doesn’t know boy to describe duties but should instead focus on skills and accomplishments. I respect that it’s alarming to write a *religious* note on the resume this way, but I’m wondering if this person is (a) misguided about when to bring up religion and (b) is writing a resume duties on it vs skills. It doesn’t necessarily mean they’d bring up religion on the job and/or that some light coaching wouldn’t resolve that.

  44. KellyKoo*

    I *literally* choked on my coffee while reading “helped people take on step closer to Jesus.” That could be interpreted in so many ways. Was she putting arsenic in their breakfast cereal?

  45. ArtK*

    LW #5 (tongue-in-cheek response): They use the same algorithms that Amazon does. I can’t count the number of times that I’ve bought something from Amazon and immediately started getting ads from them for the same or very similar products. Dear Jeff B.: I probably don’t need more than one indoor thermometer/hygrometer, but thanks for thinking of me.

    1. Mental Lentil*

      Yes, this happens to me all the time as well. I mean honestly, how many toasters do I need in my life?

  46. CommanderBanana*

    Yeah no. Language like “leading someone one step closer to Jesus” would be a non-starter for me if I saw that on a resume. I’d just foresee that person proselytizing or stomping over boundaries at the office.

  47. llamaswithouthats*

    Managers totally deserve to be thrown under the bus. Just don’t do it at a significant cost to you.

  48. Lobsterman*

    LW 1: zero contact, run far away. Just way too big a chance for some kind of awry response. Other comments here are 100% right. Don’t assume good faith; there are people who use language like this to sort for the kinds of folks who are easy to scam. Not worth the risk.

  49. radiant peach*

    #1 omg, I was hiring student ambassadors for a higher ed-related organization and I received an email from a college student where the signature was
    Lauren X”
    and I just had no clue whether or not to acknowledge it. We were not a religious organization and she attended a public university (albeit one in the fairly rural South).

  50. not always right*

    Number 5. I’m retired now, but a couple of years ago I went to Zip Recruiters and posted my resume. Most of my experience was Credit Manager and Commercial Credit and Collections. Well Zip Recruiter glommed on to the word Collections. They sent me SO many leads for a career in Garbage Collections. It’s a noble job and I am grateful for those who do the work, but it was just so not what I was looking for. LOL Oh yes, they also glommed on the word Commercial, so I got a lot of leads for working in advertisement, too. Needless to say, I deleted my resume post haste

  51. Goldenrod*

    Why is Satan getting such short shrift on resumes? Considering how many bosses are from Hell, you think more applicants would work that angle.

  52. PumpkinSpice4Ever*

    #4: Just one data point here, but I’d 100% recommend applying directly through the company. At my current position, I applied for the job in March via LinkedIn, which I normally didn’t do (still not sure why I did so.) Crickets in response. Saw the same job advertisement in August and decided to apply again, this time through the company site. I was contacted a few days later, and within 2 weeks or so, I had a job offer. During one of the interviews, the HR rep mentioned how well I matched up with the criteria, and I mentioned that I’d applied in March via LinkedIn and had no response. Reader, she never saw the application. She told me that the LinkedIn applications were often glitchy and sometimes didn’t make it through to her. I could’ve potentially gotten the job almost 6 months earlier if I’d just applied directly with the employer. Given that I’d been unemployed/marginally employed for over a year? Yeah, that ate me up a bit for a while.

    TL;DR – apply directly with the employer!!

  53. Pam*

    Proselytizing is not the only issue. If a co-worker believes religion is central to their every interaction–religious interjections in conversation is abusing a “captive audience.”

  54. ElleKay*

    Yes- apparently this is an issue! I’m on the scholarship review board for a local charity, spent the last couple weeks reading through 50+ applications and was shocked at the number of students whose resumes and/or application letters went *in depth* into their personal relationship with Jesus!

    I don’t have the authority to respond to the individual applicants but all of them came off worse in comparison to the other students. As Alison said, some talked about the context of teaching Bible School and what kind of professional benefits that gave but a shocking number didn’t give any context beyond the kind of “closer to Jesus” language you mentioned.

  55. ElleKay*

    LW #2- I’ve done this too! And it felt great :)
    The key is, as Alison alludes to, whether it’s going to have an impact on your future or not. Years ago I worked for a nonprofit in a major NE city which was pretty good. Long hours and low pay but mission-driven and I was right out of college. After my contract was up I left but reapplied for a new position when they were opening a new location in FL. It was a disaster & I lasted about 6 weeks (which was the point where my grad school admission letter came and I could say I was heading back home to save money for school.)

    Before I left the Big Boss asked me to come in for a debrief and I totally threw our managers under the bus. Big Boss seemed to have had no idea of the issues and I even ended up on a conference call with her Boss in HQ. I knew this wasn’t a job or industry I was going back to and that I’d be spending the next 2 years on the other side of the world for grad school so I held nothing back.

    The nice part is that I stayed in touch with a couple of my co-workers and things did improve! Apparently my sudden departure, extreme dissatisfaction, and forthright under the bus throwing got through and everyone else had a better year after that! So it felt great and actually made a difference!

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