This post is somehow related to a previous post on extra-curricular activities.

My question is this. Beside standard extra academic activities (previous work, particular sport achievements, participation to student associations and the like), is it advisable to write in the CV or cover letter for a post-doc position the marital status, if the applicant thinks this information conveys positive characteristics about him/her?

Say, there is a Spaniard married to a Canadian, they live in Norway (where the Spaniard just obtained his/her PhD) and they are open to moving to another third country (i.e., a country where both of them are foreigners). In my eyes, the information about the marital status and citizenship of the two spouses is providing evidence for multiple positive non-academic characteristics of the applicant (the Spaniard), such as determination, stability and flexibility that are beyond average.

I have conflicting feelings. I see that this kind of information provides positive non-academic information about the applicant, but maybe who will be reading this information won't be paying enough attention or won't have the experience or empathy to understand the implications of having this type of family.

  • 3
    None of your examples should generally be mentioned. – Tobias Kildetoft Jun 20 '15 at 16:37

For US applications, you absolutely should not include such information, as it can make for awkward situations during the hiring process.

For applications in other countries, you may mention such issues in the CV where appropriate. However, you should not mention it in a cover letter, where it will seem contrived, artificial, or "stretching." People reviewing your application will not read anything into the characteristics of your marriage.

| improve this answer | |
  • 5
    It is not against US hiring and employment law for the candidate to disclose their marital status voluntarily. It is only against the law to use your status against you, and asking may be seen as a prelude to doing so. The EEOC recommends against asking. – Bill Barth Jun 20 '15 at 17:32
  • @BillBarth: True—I've revised the answer a bit accordingly. – aeismail Jun 20 '15 at 17:37
  • @aeismail, your contribution is informative, since I have been sending some applications to the US as well, thank you. I do not click on "accept answer" though because I am hoping someone with knowledge about some European markets will add his/her answer. – Fuca26 Jun 20 '15 at 18:33
  • 1
    @Luca: Again, I wouldn't recommend that route, as it can come across as "We want to be in Germany for the culture," which is not the attitude you want to convey with a cover letter. – aeismail Jun 20 '15 at 20:22
  • 1
    @aeismail: from my experience in Germany it is generally not necessary to mention marital status in cover letter or CV. Only when you get the job you have to disclose it as it has tax implications. – CrepusculeWithNellie Jun 21 '15 at 1:35

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.