HR people - please help me with a thorny resume question
August 2, 2007 11:01 AM Subscribe
HR people - please help me with a thorny resume question. I've recently become part of a Speakers Bureau for a national not-for-profit organization. I am also looking for a job. I feel like the fact that I do some public speaking will look good on my resume, however the speaking I do is for National Alliance on Mental Illness.
posted by la petite marie to work & money (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Unfortunately, as much as I would like things to be different, there is still a huge stigma about any kind of mental illness, particularly in business. Since I haven't worked for two years (partially due to depression), I was told by one job counselor to list my volunteer work as a way to show I wasn't just sitting around doing nothing, but as soon as I told her the name of the group, she advised me not to put anything about the speaking on my resume because it will raise red flags. Even if I just say I speak for a "non-profit organization, I know as an interviewer my first question would be "so, which non-profit do you speak for?" even just as getting-to-know-you conversation.
I also do have gaps in my job history due to my own mental health history, but in the past I've been able to say I had "health issues" that are no longer relevant. Unfortunately, now, all of my really strong work history ended about 10 years ago, and since then I've temped and taken jobs that are way below what I was doing before, so it's something I would have to explain in an interview (if I even get that far). I feel like if I do come right out and say the group I speak for, they will put 2 and 2 together and realize that the gaps are due to my struggles with serious depression and figure that it is still an issue (even though I know they're not allowed to talk about it). I'm not married with kids, so I can't use the "I wanted more time with my family" line.
Are there any HR people here who could weigh in on this? What would you suggest? Should I just leave it off completely (I do have two other much more socially acceptable volunteer activities that I could list).
I would really appreciate any help or suggestions you could give me.