Taking It Off: Should My Resume Say “I’m Black?”


“What most recruiters are looking for is the right match up of experience, skill set and education when deciding which resumes to send to hiring managers,” explained Williams. “I have not seen a recruiter say, ‘Oh, this applicant has all of the requirements for the job but is a member of a black sorority or fraternity so we can’t interview them.’”

Despite Michelle’s experience, and the experience of many other prospective employees who are African-American, could it be that removing blackness from one’s resume to level the playing field is an old wives tale? And could it be that the more we’re concerned about discrimination based on race, the more susceptible we are to it?

There’s no doubt that blacks living in America are discriminated against. The statistics show it and the U.S. Bureau of Labor confirmed it. Still, that doesn’t take away from the fact that if you’re not qualified, you won’t get the job. Instead of focusing on strategizing ways to fiddle with your resume, focus on building concrete skills that make you look more appealing to a company. Take a workshop in team building, social media or HTML to make your resume stand out. With skills like these, recruiters and companies will find it hard to keep your foot out of the door.

For the record, I kept National Association of Black Journalists on my resume.

* Name has been changed because this sister has a job and she plans to keep it.

- Joi Marie McKenzie