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Thread: Why join Mensa?

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrcockburn View Post
    Do NOT put Mensa on your resume. A lot of employers get turned off by that - it implies (truthfully or falsely) that you're pretentious, arrogant and elitist. Plus, if you're getting into a field reflective of a Mensa IQ score, they're going to laugh and think, "So? Everyone applying (with their law degrees/physics degrees) is going to be brighter than the rest of the population anyway - is Mensa supposed to differentiate you from the rest of the herd?"

    This isn't my opinion, I've seen resumes indicating Mensa membership, and it doesn't influence me one way or another, but a lot of other people get turned off, according to a bit of Googling.

    When you're looking for a job, sending out heaps of resumes, going through the ordeal of customized cover letters/follow-up/etc, the last thing you want to do is automatically eliminate yourself from the pool.

    I’ve seen this exact debate show up on Mensa message boards and in Mensa publications. Some people insist that it’s bad to put Mensa on their resume or to advertise their membership to friends and family.

    But the majority opinion seems to be that it’s a neutral or positive thing to have Mensa on one’s resume. As for me, I’ve put my Mensa membership on my resume and haven’t had any problem with it. My last boss said he specifically focused on that when reading my resume and wanted to have a Mensan on his staff.

    If an employer wants to nitpick, then there are lots of ways he could dislike and/or disqualify potential hires: military service, Young Republicans club, gun clubs, feminist groups, liberal affiliations, religious affiliations, atheist affiliations, etc. In a way, Mensa is less controversial than any of those other affiliations and memberships. In essence, a Mensa membership is not much different from a membership in Phi Beta Kappa or the National Honor Society, or a Summa Cum Laude graduation (all of which were also on my resume). They're all pretty exclusive, and thus potentially snobby or elitist.

    To put it another way: A good resume should make you stand out from your peers, not blend in. A Mensa membership gets noticed. If it turns off one employer but piques the interest of 5 others, then that's a net win. And if an employer likes your resume but is worried about you being a snobby elitist based on your Mensa membership, then they call you in for a personal interview and ask you about it. Again, it's a net win since that means you've been noticed and moved to the next hiring stage (the personal interview). You just talk fast during the interview and assure your future boss that you have nothing against non-Mensans.

  2. #12
    pathwise dependent FDG's Avatar
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    If you want the curriculum prestige, you could equally write down your GMAT or what-have-you-standardized-graduate-test score.
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  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by FDG View Post
    If you want the curriculum prestige, you could equally write down your GMAT or what-have-you-standardized-graduate-test score.
    True. Resumes are for bragging. If you have an outstanding test score, then by all means highlight it: "Scored in the top 2 percent on the essay portion of the LSAT" or whatever. Try to stand out any way you can.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FineLine View Post
    I’ve seen this exact debate show up on Mensa message boards and in Mensa publications. Some people insist that it’s bad to put Mensa on their resume or to advertise their membership to friends and family.

    But the majority opinion seems to be that it’s a neutral or positive thing to have Mensa on one’s resume. As for me, I’ve put my Mensa membership on my resume and haven’t had any problem with it. My last boss said he specifically focused on that when reading my resume and wanted to have a Mensan on his staff.

    If an employer wants to nitpick, then there are lots of ways he could dislike and/or disqualify potential hires: military service, Young Republicans club, gun clubs, feminist groups, liberal affiliations, religious affiliations, atheist affiliations, etc. In a way, Mensa is less controversial than any of those other affiliations and memberships. In essence, a Mensa membership is not much different from a membership in Phi Beta Kappa or the National Honor Society, or a Summa Cum Laude graduation (all of which were also on my resume). They're all pretty exclusive, and thus potentially snobby or elitist.

    To put it another way: A good resume should make you stand out from your peers, not blend in. A Mensa membership gets noticed. If it turns off one employer but piques the interest of 5 others, then that's a net win. And if an employer likes your resume but is worried about you being a snobby elitist based on your Mensa membership, then they call you in for a personal interview and ask you about it. Again, it's a net win since that means you've been noticed and moved to the next hiring stage (the personal interview). You just talk fast during the interview and assure your future boss that you have nothing against non-Mensans.
    Lol of course the Mensan consensus will be that it's a resume-worthy/friendly addition to the resume.

    Unfortunately though, the general pube's consensus seemed to be negative, at least during the time I was asking that question myself.

    And I'd definitely avoid listing anything implying political/religious/ethnic affiliation. People get really touchy about these things, so you have to be PC. Again, I don't care - I hired a libertarian and a neo-Socialist (both self-proclaimed).

    If you're applying to 5 jobs - and 3 automatically reject listed Mensans, then increasing your intrigue with the other 2 slightly won't help.

    In fact, even if only 2 rejected, you'd still have to intrigue the other three by 66% on average for it to be worth it.

    Of course, if the intrigue tips you over the edge, like you said, then true. It only takes one job offer.

    But if you were already good enough to be a Top Tier candidate, then you probably have more "acceptable" things to "brag" about anyway. :P
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    I think test scores are more PC to brag about because they can be influenced by studying, hard work, persistence, etc.

    Whereas fluid intelligence, g, is something you're born with and can't change (as an adult).
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    I understand your concerns. Like I said above, they're also the concerns of many Mensans.

    My experience: The general public likes taking shots at Mensans and their presumed snobbery. See the posts in this thread for examples. But hopefully bosses looking for top employees see the advantages of having smart people on their staff. As other Mensans have pointed out: If a boss is truly negative toward Mensans, then he's probably threatened by smart people or something. In which case, you probably won't want to work there anyway.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mrcockburn View Post
    I think test scores are more PC to brag about because they can be influenced by studying, hard work, persistence, etc.

    Whereas fluid intelligence, g, is something you're born with and can't change (as an adult).
    Wait, isn't that better? Assuming everything else is more or less equal, having higher fluid intelligence means you'll learn more quickly what's to be done on-the-job. I'd take high g over hard work any day (again, given two candidates with a good track record).
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    Quote Originally Posted by FDG View Post
    Wait, isn't that better? Assuming everything else is more or less equal, having higher fluid intelligence means you'll learn more quickly what's to be done on-the-job. I'd take high g over hard work any day (again, given two candidates with a good track record).
    One, it's divisive and thought of as insensitive, particularly if the applicant's g spot is higher than the one evaluating.

    Second, not all jobs require Mensa level g. So the applicant may be assumed to coast off his smarts and feel too entitled to do any routine/grunt work that may be just as necessary as brains.

    Test scores suggest persistence and industriousness much more readily than IQ scores.

    Third, kind of expanding on #2 in an opposite direction, they might fear hubris - that the brainiac will arrogantly think he knows what's best and step out of line and disregard authority.

    Test scores tend to be based on school-learned principles and facts (shows you adapt TO the system), whereas IQ tests are more of a "show us what you've got" game.

    Politically correct BS is annoying, but that's what people are full of.
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  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrcockburn View Post
    One, it's divisive and thought of as insensitive, particularly if the applicant's g spot is higher than the one evaluating.

    Second, not all jobs require Mensa level g. So the applicant may be assumed to coast off his smarts and feel too entitled to do any routine/grunt work that may be just as necessary as brains.

    Test scores suggest persistence and industriousness much more readily than IQ scores.

    Third, kind of expanding on #2 in an opposite direction, they might fear hubris - that the brainiac will arrogantly think he knows what's best and step out of line and disregard authority.

    Test scores tend to be based on school-learned principles and facts (shows you adapt TO the system), whereas IQ tests are more of a "show us what you've got" game.

    Politically correct BS is annoying, but that's what they're probably ful of. (A lot of hiring managers, that is.)
    I've hit this sort of thing where I was refused a job because I was "overqualified." But that just taught me to aim higher. Eventually I aimed high enough and found a boss who didn't mind stocking his department with high-paid geniuses.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FineLine View Post
    I understand your concerns. Like I said above, they're also the concerns of many Mensans.

    My experience: The general public likes taking shots at Mensans and their presumed snobbery. See the posts in this thread for examples. But hopefully bosses looking for top employees see the advantages of having smart people on their staff. As other Mensans have pointed out: If a boss is truly negative toward Mensans, then he's probably threatened by smart people or something. In which case, you probably won't want to work there anyway.
    I actually had a bad experience at the only event I attended there (I joined for the discounts, which YES...outweighed the costs of membership). So for a while, I was convinced that Mensans were rude and unfriendly. That was probably more the area the chapter was located than Mensa itself though.

    No one there was even my age. It was totally awkward and I felt like I was intruding.
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