Backroads

Would you list a mission on a resume?

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It's a complicated question. Obviously like pretty much everyone knows, I'm a convert and I never served a mission. 

When you think about it, a mission teaches you many skills that most employers would want. How to deal with rejection, how to talk to all sorts of people, how to show up on time, discipline, etc. So at first, you might want to put it on a resume. 

However, there are drawbacks. The biggest is that while those skills are helpful, they aren't very specific. Next, a mission doesn't teach you any technical skills that are needed in most jobs. Also, the blunt truth is that outside of Utah, very few people even know what an LDS mission is. In fact for some employers, it might be a turn off because they don't want you preaching during work. (I'm not saying you will do that, just that some employers might get that impression). So it has both positives and negatives.   

Edited by MormonGator

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1 hour ago, Backroads said:

Those of you who served missions, have you/would you?

Yes.
It is who you are.
Pros laid out correctly should overshadow any misguided cons they might have.
Depending on your age, it explains where you have been for the past 1.5-2 years and why you were not employed. 

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12 hours ago, Backroads said:

Trouble sleeping, found this. Wife not sure if Husband should include mission on resume. (#4 on advice column)

Got me curious. Those of you who served missions, have you/would you?

I have included my mission service on every resume or college application I've ever sent out. I do this for a few reasons. 

A. I believe it shows my level of committment by demonstrating that I volantarily left home for 2 years to do something difficult.

B. It shows I'm used to interacting with people about potentially difficult to talk about subjects, which actually went a long way to getting me my current job. 

C. It let's my employers know a little bit more about me without them having to ask. If they are going to have a problem with me being a Latter-day Saint I'd rather they find out and not hire me, then have them give me grief later.

 

Edited by Midwest LDS

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If you are within 2 - 3 years of returning from missionary service and are looking for employment, you may include it under a section for civic affiliations and service.  Do not list it in your employment history.  The only thing you need it for is to explain what was happening in those two years. Even then, it may come with some risks (see below)

If you returned more than 5 years ago and have no work/education gaps in that period, do not put it on the resume at all.  Putting a mission on your resume doesn't add to your work experience, and when it's more than five years ago, doesn't say much about your employable skills or commitment to anything.  For instance, having a mission on the resume doesn't speak to commitment if you've held 5 jobs in the past two years.  Your recent (past ten years) history carries much more weight.  

Worse, putting anything religiously affiliated puts the employer in an awkward spot almost immediately. In the U.S., religion cannot be a factor in employment decisions. By putting a mission on the resume, you have tossed your religion into the arena and the employer may now feel the bind of making employment decisions carefully.  Congratulations, your first impression is to make life a little more stressful for your hiring manager. It's usually best to just leave it off.

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It depends. It’s like any experience you would put on a resume. My dad has worked in the insurances industry for his entire life so putting his mission on his resume is a waste of space and would take the spot of one of his many important and related jobs.

In Utah or Idaho I imagine it is completely fine. New Hampshire? Mmm... probably, but be a little more generic in your description.

I have never considered what @MarginOfError has said above. Don’t know that I wholly agree or disagree.

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Resumes have only one purpose - get someone interested enough in you to schedule an interview.  Anything that detracts from that purpose doesn't belong on a resume.

In fact, resumes are really crappy ways to get jobs in the first place.  Networks and human contact are how you get jobs.  Resumes are best used as an afterthought. 

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I think the timeline is important.  If it was in the last 5-8 years and there's room, I'd consider including it.  For me, I've been home over 15 years so I've got other things that are more recent and relevant. 

I have a section I use on some of my resumes ( I change it up depending on the organization I'm sending it to) for volunteer work.  Having been a ward clerk and a financial clerk is relevant to the types of jobs I'm looking for, so I add brief descriptions of what I did in those roles. 

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Like @mirkwood, I had to list it on my background check/work history forms when I applied for the bar; and I’ve applied to a few government jobs where I had to account for my entire adult work history.  In those cases I’ve listed the mission to account for that period of my life.

Otherwise—I don’t think I had it on any resume I’ve done since graduating law school.  The closest I’ve come is something along the lines of “Portuguese proficient (resided in Northern Brazil, 1999-2001)”.  

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I served both a mission and time in the army - I list both on my resume.  Besides my work history, I list my service and obligations.  I also listed some of my church callings - such as Scoutmaster.  In addition I list my hobbies (skiing, cycling and white water rafting).  When I was applying for a position - I wanted them to heir me for who I am and not just because I have a background in science and engineering.  I admit that I am at a stage in life where resumes are not part of my work goals - but in the past I never received a negative response to my other that work items and in many cases I was told that such thing both created greater interest or convinced that I should receive an offer - or a better offer than initially considered.

 

The Traveler

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In a perfect world, sure you'd list it. Why not? It's a significant experience that plays into any possible job, indirectly at least. You spent two years (or a year and a half, or however long) dealing directly with people, helping out, setting up service and teaching appointments and opportunities, possibly speaking a foreign language, and so forth. Experientially, that's gold. Even 20 years later, it would be worth mentioning because it's a formative and transformative experience.

But in the real world, especially in the US, Canada, and western European nations, religion has become such a touchy and discriminatory topic that any such mention of a mission risks being misinterpreted as a weird irrelevance that must signal that the candidate is out to convert people to his narrow-minded viewpoint. (Funny how a mention of handing out condoms in Bora Bora doesn't merit the same discriminatory analysis.) Stupid? Very. Unfair? You bet. Bottom line, Buttercup:

Image result for suck it up buttercup powerpuff

On the balance, I lean toward leaving missionary service off your resume unless needed to explain time gaps. Seems more trouble than it's worth.

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Funny, having only ever applied for a job in Utah, it seems to be a disadvantage to NOT put it on your resume. The idea of it being a problem elsewhere never crossed my mind. But it makes sense.

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Some people make a valid point about it being a touchy subject.  But I'm not so concerned about that.  To me it is the more practical reason of relevancy.

Fresh out of school, it was relevant for me.  As noted by others, they wanted to know why it took me 6 years between high school graduation and college graduation.  Inserting mission dates would have covered that.  Also fresh out of school, they don't have much to go on other than the degree, GPA and extracurriculars.  So put whatever you can on it.

After your first few years or possibly first two jobs out of school, no one cares about that stuff.  The advisor in the linked article was correct.  It takes up valuable space on a resume that should be pointing out more applicable experience.

If your job is related (like sales) then, heck yeah!!  That is absolutely applicable.  Some sales companies would jump all over that.  But accounting???  Trust me, not applicable.  No one cares about people skills.  However there are many accountants who transition into trades, purchases, and sales.  And they make beaucoup bucks -- a lot more than your average accountant.  And something like a mission should be prominent.  They need people skills, math skills for money and tax laws, and they need someone with the ability to sell.  An accountant with a mission in his background is the trifecta.

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I would list it as volunteer experience and, depending on the job sought, tailor the description of the religious nature of the work to fit the employer. In other words, without deceit, emphasize the skills learned and developed. Some are "soft skills," but in many entry level positions, those are important. Even in my later years, if I were to seek secular employment with an agency that valued diversity and equity, I would mention my overseas experience, and how I learned the difficulties of being "other," the struggle of learning a new language, and the importance of listening more and speaking less. Bottom line--in most cases, yes, absolutely mention it...but sell it as useful for the job and company.  

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It depends on the job.    If you are applying for employment with the Church, then yes for sure.    If you are applying for a job that requires or might want a second language and you served a mission to wherever speaks that language, then for sure include it.   If not, it isn't really necessary.   

Edited by Scott

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Yes.

I put it in a small section at the bottom of the resume for special skills/hobbies. 

 

Every single time I have been interviewed it came up and they talked about it. I used the opportunity to speak of the leadership experiences, the learning to appreciate a culture different than the one I was raised in, the teamwork experiences, the setting goals and working hard to accomplish them, the learning to get along with coworkers even when we disagreed, and many other qualities that the company was probably wanting to know about me. 

 

Having been on the hiring side many times before, one of the biggest struggles is to come up with questions that ask about those types of experiences in the applicant’s past. My missionary experiences, especially as a young man, are ALWAYS relevant to any job I applied for.

 

Being memorable in a positive way is generally the toughest part of being interviewed, especially when there might be hundreds (thousands) of other applicants. A missionary experience in someone’s past can create that memorable part for an interviewer. 

 

Thats not even to begin speaking of the additional, positive things a mission experience tells an interviewer: 

- Most likely honest. 

- Most likely someone who helps others. 

- Most likely someone who has ideas that are outside the normal, run-of-the-mill thought processes. 

 

So, yes. Include it and use it positively if/when the situation arises. 

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I recently participated in a practice interview for an intern in our company who wants to eventually apply for a full-time position. His resume listed a vague volunteer opportunity in Sweden for two years. I quickly ascertained that he was LDS in the interview and later asked him why he did not list his mission openly. He said that others in the company has advised him not to do so because of the discrimination that might occur.

IMHO I don't think people are afraid that you will "preach the gospel", I think there is flat-out bias against LDS people, especially in states like CA. I wouldn't be surprised that in the future religious people who don't share the current views on gay marriage and gender will be legally discriminated against because companies will say that our mere presence makes for a hostile work environment. In that sense, our views on morality could eventually make us unemployable. Those who refuse to fly the rainbow flag will effectively be marked. Hmmm, now where have I read scriptures about that????

Personally, I have always listed it and have never been shy about my faith, but I think that I grew up in a different era.

However, I often post on Linkedin, and I recently posted about my mission in Japan and how much it taught me about business. It had a picture of me and my wife in front of the Sacramento temple with my son who was heading out on his own mission to Fiji. That post received almost fifty times as many views as my normal boring business posts. Go figure.

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On 9/30/2019 at 10:21 AM, mirkwood said:

I did for my police applications.  I had to account for my entire life for background checks. No gaps.  Otherwise no I have/would not unless applicable to the job I was applying.

"Spent two years continuously trying to sell Jesus.  Still have Him.  Same for garage full of doTerra."

Edited by NightSG

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On 9/30/2019 at 4:42 AM, Backroads said:

Trouble sleeping, found this. Wife not sure if Husband should include mission on resume. (#4 on advice column)

Got me curious. Those of you who served missions, have you/would you?

Whether or not to include it in the "Civic Service" section listing practical skills depends on a bunch of things.  

How long ago did you serve?  If you just got off, then yes, because it's what you've been doing for the last 2 years of your life.   If it was 10 years ago, then no because you should be listing something you did more recently. 

How much space do you have?  If this is a one-pager quick thing, then that pushes for a "no" simply due to space.  

 

If you do include it, do so in a way that highlights the skills revenant to the job you are applying for, and avoid any specific jargon your potential employer would no know.  

Note: I would say the exact same as above for any other 2 year experience that's not a direct job.  Getting a job (or rather, getting an interview for a job) is the focus of a resume and all content should be focused there.

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Depends on the job you’re applying for and how much experience you have.

My resume changes according to the job description I’m applying for and my relevant work history.  If a mission is relevant to the job description, I’d include it specifying in bullet points the experience/skill I acquired/applied relevant to the job description.

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