Job Application: Is my Mensa membership worth mentioning?

Monday, October 13th, 2008 - CV Writing, Job Application, Job Interview, job search, Qualifications


Job Application: Mensa membership

Where's George?

Richard asks: I was just asked why my Mensa membership appears neither in my resume nor my Linkedin profile. I have always taken the view my qualification for Mensa is about my natural gifts, whereas my resume, etc., are about what I have achieved. Am I wrong? Are you impressed by Mensa membership? Would you take me more seriously as a potential business associate knowing I am a Mensan?

In answer:
In summary, on balance from experience – I would leave it out.

Intelligence or Arrogance

By mentioning it, you communicate that you have those natural gifts, and a potential employer may be impressed. This may distinguish you positively from other candidates by letting a potential employer know that they might get a little more in the bargain with you and your IQ.

On the other hand, there is a section of people that have a knee-jerk response to all such skills being included, and think that intelligence = arrogance. Those people might well be put off by seeing that on your CV, thinking that you’re somehow “flaunting” your skill – in this case intelligence – arrogantly. Intelligent and arrogant are not seen as good team working skills.

Job Application: Playing the odds

Your decision comes down to what risk you want to take. There will be people that interpret it as advertising your intellectual superiority, while others will find it impressive. Which group is bigger? Will the arrogance crowd reject you for this? (Yes, wholly) Will the impressed crowd rank you significantly higher relative to your competition because of this? (No, not by a lot)

Hence, from my experience, on average/playing the odds you have more to lose than gain. You can always mention it later in interview if you find the employer considers intelligence and benefit, and have not taken the downside risk of bragging.

One last point – there are many, many Mensans that though they have rich and varied lives are not very good business people, otherwise they would all be rich! With that in mind, membership does not necessarily signal business acumen or employable competence.

Good Luck!

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2 Responses to “Job Application: Is my Mensa membership worth mentioning?”

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