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Recently I applied for a job that includes a lot of interpersonal interactions with customers. I have no/little work experience (still at university). But I do have quite a lot of experience volunteering at a political organisation, which is almost entirely about interpersonal relationships: Working with diverse people (including difficult ones), approaching strangers, etc. The political organisation is strongly hated in some circles, but there are also areas (urban) where a majority supports it.

I decided to include it based on some speculation about the hiring manager's political orientation (based on demographics and knowledge about the company, mostly).

That went well (I got the job), but is there some more strategic approach to this? I guess once I have some more neutral work experience I should leave the potentially damaging experience off the cv? But what if the controversial work still makes up half of my experience in 10 years time?

Because I will keep working political jobs (paid or unpaid), but don't want to lock myself into doing only political jobs.

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Keep it "party neutral" . The valuable part are the activities you did, not for whom. You don't need to mention the name or affiliation of the organization or candidate you worked for. There is always the risk than someone will ask or maybe Google it. That's a gamble you need to take. If you are not comfortable with this, leave it off the resume.

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  • So you think it's okay to just describe the work and say it was for a "political organization" or for "a party" or "an NGO"? That's very helpful, good to know.
    – Nobody
    Apr 24 at 15:26
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    @Nobody - yes, for sure. That sounds great. "Senior organizer and accountant for local NGO."
    – Fattie
    Apr 24 at 16:30

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