When I applied to work for Hanzo nearly five years ago, I had to decide what to put on my resume. It was already a very busy document, and not everything could be included. When I applied, I had been involved with LGBTQ activism on and off for 15 years. The most far-reaching step I took was to found the LGBT group at the international physics laboratory, CERN. It was not an easy task, and it changed the culture at CERN in a positive way, not just for LGBTQ+ people, but for everyone. Creating that group is a great source of personal pride for me (no pun intended) and it required a wide skill set to achieve.
"The world has changed a lot in the past five years, but we must remain vigilant, because there are always people with regressive views, looking to undo the progress that has been made."
So when it came to writing my resume, the question was whether to include the founding and running of the group. For some people, this would be a difficult decision. It might seem like a fringe activity or alienate potential employers. For me it was a no-brainer, I had to include it. I would not want to work for a company where the staff raised an eyebrow or gave me a hard time pursuing an equal rights cause. Including this extracurricular project on my resume helped both me and Hanzo decide if we were right for each other. They could see that I was not just a list of qualifications and that I had a skill set necessary to navigate difficult and new areas of discussion. At the same time, I was reassured that Hanzo saw me as a complete person with interests outside of work and that the working environment would be welcoming for me.
Hanzo is a small company, and as a technology-based company, we are male-dominated. I am not going to pretend that a welcoming attitude is all it takes to overcome all the biases we face in the industry. Instead, we need to find the areas where we can make improvements. It takes a consistent and steady effort to make changes, and the effects are felt over the course of years, not weeks. The world has changed a lot in the past five years, but we must remain vigilant, because there are always people with regressive views, looking to undo the progress that has been made.
The “resume test” is a good test for both applicants and companies. If you feel the need to remove an item from your resume because of the effect it might have on your application, do you really want to work at that company? If you feel an applicant has included an activity on their resume that you do not feel is relevant to the job, are you missing out on an opportunity if you think it counts against them? The “resume test” is a good test for both applicants and companies.
Applicants and companies need to work together to make connections beyond the simple employer-employee relationship if they want to reach their full potential.
Hanzo is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I). We actively navigate this journey together and invest time, resources, and effort into an intentional culture of collaboration where everyone belongs and feels comfortable to share their diverse perspectives. Have a great Pride Month, and don’t forget to look for the untapped opportunities that are out there, just waiting to be discovered!