Updated: Apr 15
As we enter 2020, politically-related content is going to ramp-up across all social media platforms including LinkedIn. If you're on the job search during this politically-charged period, it can be difficult to not like, share, or post your way out of job opportunity by offending someone on the opposite side of the political spectrum. To stay on track and continue landing job interviews during this political period, check out these suggestions.
1) Do not use any politically-related content in your LinkedIn profile
Always remember that LinkedIn is a professional networking site and that your profile is more like an extended resume than a personal social media account. When adding content to your profile, a good rule of thumb is to consider whether that information would be acceptable to bring up in an interview. When it come to your profile picture and any other digital media you upload as a part of your profile, it's best to avoid including any politically-charged symbols.
2) Avoid posting/liking/sharing political content on LinkedIn
While this might seem like an obvious suggestion, it's also the most difficult one to follow! Always remember that all of your contacts on LinkedIn can see everything you post, share, and like. It's that last one that tends to knock people out of the running for employment opportunities. It seems so harmless to click that "like," button for a meme your old co-worker posted, but if you've connected with a recruiter or hiring manager who notices you've "liked" a meme that goes against their political ideology, they might move on to the next candidate and you'll never know why you weren't interviewed for the role.
3) Be careful of posting politically-related volunteer experience on your resume
Unless you're applying for a position in politics, it's best to remove any politically-related volunteer experience from your resume. If you feel like the experience earned at that volunteer position is highly relevant to the position to which you're applying, then leave it in the resume but consider if it's possible to remove the specific party affiliation from the listing. Unfortunately, it's not always possible to remove a specific political affiliation from a volunteer position listing, so really ask yourself if that role will be helping or hurting your odds of landing an interview at that organization before applying.
4) Watch what you say in an interview
Politics should NOT be brought up in an interview (unless you're applying for a politically-related job.) Avoid making jokes about current politics or news stories before, during, and after the interview. Even if you think you're in sync with your interviewer's political views, it's best not to take the chance of losing out on a job because you guessed wrong. Just don't bring it up. And if you're interview brings it up, avoid agreeing or disagreeing with their political stance by saying something like, "You know, I really try to avoid politics in the workplace. I hope that's okay."
5) Research a company's political donations/affiliations to help you determine best fit
Okay, this is not really a method of avoiding the drag of applying for positions during a major election year, but I figured I'd toss it in here as the positive side of applying for jobs during such a time. If a company's contribution to politics are important to you, then an election year might actually help you determine if a company and it's culture are the right "fit," before you ever even bother to apply. With just a little research, you can sometimes find out which large companies have donated to specific ballot issues, political parties, or specific candidates. A great place to start is with the Center of Political Accountability.
Hopefully these suggestions help you avoid the drag of politics during your job search process!