Job searching is a dreaded responsibility which all of us have had to face at some point. When you are Pagan the dread increases. Many of us do not hide who we are (and we shouldn't have to) - and part of that is wearing symbols which represents our faith. Whether our symbol is the Pentacle, Ankh, or Mjolnir (Thors Hammer), or some other symbol of belief, we wear them throughout our daily lives. However, how does that affect the interview process? Can you openly wear a pentagram or any other symbol of your faith and still get the job?
I have been the coordinator for Greater Chicagoloand Pagan Pride for the past three years. This means I am in charge of an event that gathers over five hundred people from all over the Midwest. That is a significant addition to my career experience and my resume. Removing it would downgrade my capabilities and experiences. But how does that look to my possible future employers?
Each time I send off my resume there is that little voice how will I be judged for my religion. Will it cost me the job? Will I even get an interview? On the other hand, would I want to work at a company which would judge me based on my religion and not my skills? What does that say about the management? What does the say about the company?
While searching for your next career I encourage you to do the following:
1) Take time to reflect on yourself and your religious path. How comfortable are you being "out of the broom closet?" Are you comfortable answering questions about your faith if asked? Are you okay with working with a company/manger that is not culturally diverse or supportive? These are important questions because your personal confidence level will affect how you approach a company during your interview.
2) Research the companies that you are interested in applying for.
a. Do they advertise cultural diversity? Read their history and mission statement and, if possible, any hand books or company guides available.
b. Do they help charities in the community, and which ones? If they only work with PADDS and other strict religious/cultural charities, the beliefs of the company may coincide, and they be unwelcoming to members of different Pagan faiths.
c. Search for company reviews. Sites like Yelp and Glassdoor might offer personalized insights into the company.
d. Social Media reviews can be important. What are people saying about the company?
e. Look at the BBB and see if they have any claims for discrimination.
3) If possible, visit the company in person. Many times you are able to get a feel for a company's culture by visiting their locations. If you can, talk to the associates about how they enjoy working at the company and how the company's diversity policies are carried out in practice?
4) For those us with Pagan community service experience, how significant is the experience you gained towards your career? Is it something that you can list as an extra skill set or should it be placed in its own labeled job section? For me, my experience coordinating Pagan Pride directly relates to my skills and my career path, and is therefore highlighted in its own section.
5) Mentally prepare yourself for the fact that the person interviewing you may or may not give much notice to your beliefs. Let your Paganism be like a classy piece of jewelry: Something that is evident, but not prominent.
The tips above will not guarantee that you won't encounter animosity because of your beliefs. Unfortunately there are still cruel stigmas and perceptions about Pagans in this world and there is no way to completely avoid them. However, the world is changing and Pagans as a group are slowly becoming accepted. What you can do now is have hope that during your interviewing adventure you will encounter more good than bad. Hopefully by using the tips above you will find yourself interviewing with companies who are accepting. No matter the outcome stay strong and stay true to yourself.