As we celebrate Haitian Heritage Month, I thought it would be an appropriate to discuss moments when we may feel vulnerable to discrimination while showcasing our pride. As a career coach, many job seekers confide in me about their concerns with being passed up for a job opportunity, based on their cultural background. They are reluctant to list information that may give clues about their race, even if it would otherwise be relevant to the position they are seeking.
Information such as organizations you may have worked or volunteered for, associations you have memberships with, to the languages you list on your resume may give the reader clues about who you are as a professional and your race. For example, as a fluent Haitian-Creole speaker, I include my language skills on my resume, when I believe that it may be beneficial to the population I may be serving.
This actually gave me a fair advantage when I applied for a position at a school that had a significant Haitian student population in South Florida. I was offered the position, as the skill served an asset to the team. This same information could have also been used to illegally eliminate me from the talent acquisition process, based on assumptions regarding my race, nationality, and the languages skills listed. In cases where my language skills may not be an asset, I would leave the information off my resume, for the sake of relevancy.
Whether or not you stand to get discriminated against because you listed an HBCU in your education section, or BET as your previous employer is in the eyes, bias, and ethics of the reader. Well-trained recruiters and hiring managers, look for experience and relevancy. They understand that a diverse and inclusive workplace is a thriving one.
If the information is relevant let it shine and if doesn’t apply let it die, but don’t stress yourself worrying about the possibility of discrimination. I don’t say this to minimize the seriousness of this issue. However, you should not punish yourself for the potential wrongdoing of others. Be reasonable, be hopeful, and be proud of who you are.
Moving Your Career Forward,
Cathy Francois, MBA, GCDF
Career Coach for NAAHP’s Career Coaching Program
Founder of Rezume Forward