Discretion Can Pay Off For Minority Candidates

by | March 31, 2009

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Question: With today's increased imperative to represent diversity in the workplace, how do I indicate that I am a member of a racial minority to prospective employers? Do I use the "personal" section of my resume or mention it in a cover letter?

-- Mark, location not provided


Mark: Ah, yes, this is what is known as walking on eggshells. The goal is to tap into employers who are interested in inclusiveness, while not appearing as if you are expecting special consideration.


You can advance your opportunities upfront by first selecting employers that are progressive and recognized for their diversity initiatives. Company photos, along with the organizational messages represented in brochures and annual reports, give clues, as does the company web site. "Best Companies to Work For" lists that spotlight employee-friendly companies will prove helpful, also, in developing your target list.


In cover letters and resumes, include educational institutions, professional associations and affiliations that, depending on the name (such as the National Society of Black Engineers), will indicate diversity. Beyond that, tune into the pressing needs and priorities of targeted employers. Stay focused on your strengths and their potential to deliver results to those priorities.


-- Ms. Koen responds to questions each week in the CollegeJournal.com Careers Q & A column. Ms. Koen is a vice president of Career Development Services, a Rochester, N.Y.-based, nonprofit career-management organization that helps individuals and organizations grow through change. She designed and currently manages the CollegeJournal.com telecounseling program, drawing on her experience in business, education and the nonprofit sector. Ms. Koen earned an M.A. in counseling from Colgate University and a B.A. in political science from Utica College of Syracuse University.


Submit your question to wsjdk@careerdev.org, with your first name and the city where you're located, which are required to publish your question. If your question is answered and posted, we will show your first name and city. Although we can't acknowledge all e-mail, we'll answer as many questions as possible.

Filed Under: Job Search

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