Personal pronouns on your CV – Yes or No?



This is a question that came up during a recent workshop that I delivered. I was asked whether preferred pronouns should be mentioned on a CV. At the time I said that it was personal choice and would depend upon the equality and diversity reputation of the employer the CV is being sent to. But I decided to investigate a little further. These are the answers I came up with.


Reasons for it and how to do it:

By placing your personal pronouns next to or under your name on your CV, you are effectively signalling to the employer that you are aware of and committed to diversity and equality. To some employers, this would be a bonus before they’ve even started reading about your skills and experience.

In some US universities, according to a HR lecturer in the US who contacted me, it is becoming more and more common. Some universities are requiring instructors to give students the option to state this in their introductions / profiles.


In the personal statement section of your CV you have options regarding how you write it. You could write it in the third person and use the pronouns she, he or they or, you could write it in the first person and use the pronoun I. You may decide against the use of pronouns entirely in this section and employ the absent first-person technique.


Examples:


Third person - They managed a team of 6 sales advisers.






First person - I managed a team of 6 sales advisers.




Absent first person - Managed a team of 6 sales advisers




Reasons against it:

Drawing attention to your gender can put you at a disadvantage with some employers. Some employers are known for unfairly discriminating against women in the workplace, so announcing your gender to them on your CV may not help your application.

Some employers also have dubious reputations regarding equality and diversity, so stating your personal pronouns may put you at a disadvantage with them. Of course, this wouldn’t be the reason they’d give for not employing you, but we can often read between the lines.

Suggestions:

One suggestion for employers would be for them to use an equal opportunities recruitment practice whereby they remove names and other identifying information from applications to reduce the risk of unconscious bias.


As a Careers Adviser, I always recommend that any CV is tailored to the specific role and employer. Therefore, this needs to be borne in mind when considering your use of pronouns on your CV. If the employer has demonstrated a good track record of equality and diversity, you should feel confident about stating your pronouns on your CV. If you are unsure of their track record, you may be best advised to bear on the side of caution on your CV but, be more open about your pronouns when you feel confident that you’ll be treated fairly by the employer.


Thank you to those people who answered my call for help and provided me with some of the advice that is contained within this blog post.


If you need any more support with your CV, please check out my previous blog posts as well as the CV writing and CV checking services that I offer.

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