It’s strange, isn’t it? You have been applying for at least four jobs per day for over a year. You have a M.B.A., a B.S. and three years of experience. As a matter of fact, you graduated magna cum laude. And at your last job, you earned several cash bonuses and awards for your exemplary work. After the start-up that you worked for folded, you paid a career coach, resume writer and recruiter big bucks to help you with the search. That’s why it’s so odd that you haven’t been able to land a new job. Is it possible that you are experiencing some form of discrimination? Well, you are not alone.
According to new research by the Equal Rights Center (ERC) and Freedom to Work (FTW), it’s quite possible—unless you are a white heterosexual male— that employers are using clues on your resume to determine your race, color, religion, sex, and national origin. And using that information to respond, or not, to your job inquiry. Here you will find three tips on how-to mask identifying qualities on your resume to land an interview. The question is: do you really want to work for a company who lacks or is unwilling to promote diversity in the workplace?
You already know about the 1964 Civil Rights Act (Title VII) or the Federal laws that are in place to prohibit job discrimination. It was designed to make sure that you, despite your race, color, religion, sex, or national origin, would get a fair shot at employment. Researchers who conducted the Equal Rights Center study submitted fake resumes with facts about the LGTB community and found they were 23 percent less likely to be called back for interviews.
Another group of studies, conducted by the University of Connecticut, found that HR managers also are looking at religious affiliations with 26 percent of those who included details about it had gotten fewer callbacks. One-third of Muslims had gotten fewer responses followed by atheists, Catholics and pagans. But the Director of Legal Compliance at Palmer Kazanjian Corecia J. Davis, J.D., an employment law firm, says there might be other reasons why your resume is being ignored.
“There are so many factors that you can’t judge accurately,” Davis told FastCompany.com. “Were you the first resume that came in or the 100th--that could affect your call-back chances? Were your skill sets viewed differently? You never know why people decide to call you in or not.”
You will never know for certain because no employer will ever admit it and face a possible lawsuit. So what do you think? Is it possible that these illegal practices are still continuing in 2014 and directly influencing your job prospects?
Diversity, or not, in the News
If you are applying for jobs in Silicon Valley or at one of the tech start-ups, chances are you will not have much luck there either, unless you are an Asian or white male. In the latest issue of USAToday, Twitter made headlines for its lack of diversity. After a big cover up, Twitter finally released data that showed 90 percent of its technology staff members are all white or Asian men; and 70 percent of all employees.
“We want to be more than a good business; we want to be a business that we are proud of," Twitter’s Vice President for diversity and inclusion, Janet Van Huysse told USAToday.
USAToday also added data for the other tech-giants, including Yahoo, Google, Facebook and LinkedIn who all reported 62 and 70 percent average male employees with whites and Asians making up between 88 and 91 percent. (Note: CNNMoney also had been investigating tech company’s diversity issues since 2011 and had to file several Freedom of Information Act requests to get it.)
There’s not much of a difference on the big screen. If you are considering an acting job, forget about Hollywood unless you are heterosexual, says the Huffington Post. According to a new study, conducted by GLADD on the issue, out of over 100 films over 80 percent failed to have LGBT representation.
“These studios have the eyes and ears of millions of audience members, and should reflect the true fabric of our society rather than feed into the hatred and prejudice against LGBT people too often seen around the globe," GLAAD’s CEO and President Sarah Kate Ellis told the Huffington Post.
Hiding Who You Are
In order to counteract today’s discrimination in the workplace, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has launched the E-RACE (Eradicating Racism and Colorism from Employment) program, a five-year campaign that acts a reminder of the laws that prohibit job discrimination. According to the Commission, they received over 27,000 complaints from workers. The following are three tips on what you can do to hide who you are so you can at least get a foot in the door. After all, you can be yourself once you get the job.
- Eliminate Irrelevant Information. Whether or not you are a member of a national religious organization has no bearing on whether or not you can perform the job. You may be proud of your associations, and you should be. However, if it’s not a professional job-related group, take it off of your resume.
- Give Yourself a Nick-Name or Change it. If you have a name that’s difficult to pronounce, shorten it to one that’s simpler. For example, my name is Malkia, which is pronounced (MAHL kee ah). In Swahili it means “queen” and Hebrew it means “God is my king”. But I have always used “Kia” throughout my career (I do that because I am tired of it being mispronounced and subsequently having to correct people.).
- Avoid Companies that lack Diversity. Before applying for a job, you can research the company by taking a look at its history or current staff to see if its employees reflect a real effort toward diversity. You also can check with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to see if there were any past discrimination complaints about the company.
Unfortunately, there’s not much more you can do. The point is to just land an interview so that you can show them what you are made of, and hopefully land the job. On the other hand, do you really want to work for a company that turns its nose up at a diverse workforce?