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OK to Indicate Race on My Resume

Dear Deb:

I am not sure if I should put that I am a member of the Black Women’s MBA Association on my resume?   I heard that you are not to put anything on a resume that indicates race, religion, or political affiliation.

What’s appropriate?

Thank you,

Melinda

Dear Melinda:

Great question!  Under the laws enforced by EEOC, it is illegal to discriminate against someone (applicant or employee) because of that person’s race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information.

You can and should include your affiliation with this prestigious association. The issue is where to place that information.  Don’t lead with the affiliation in your profile or at the top of your resume. Some hiring companies might wonder why you would lead with this information. This is because you should lead with your strongest skills and accomplishments. Mention the affiliation in the place where any other affiliation would belong  – in the Professional Affiliation section at the bottom of your resume.

Some of my clients have expressed concerned that they will be screened out if anything on their resume hints at their race, gender, or sexual orientation.  Although illegal and wrong, it is possible. My thought on that is if a company screens you out for that reason, it is probably not a place where you would wish to be employed.

Wishing you all the best in your career!

Deb

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Dear Deb:

I am not sure if I should put that I am a member of the Black Women’s MBA Association on my resume?   I heard that you are not to put anything on a resume that indicates race, religion, or political affiliation.

What’s appropriate?

Thank you,

Melinda

Dear Melinda:

Great question!  Under the laws enforced by EEOC, it is illegal to discriminate against someone (applicant or employee) because of that person’s race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information.

You can and should include your affiliation with this prestigious association. The issue is where to place that information.  Don’t lead with the affiliation in your profile or at the top of your resume. Some hiring companies might wonder why you would lead with this information. This is because you should lead with your strongest skills and accomplishments. Mention the affiliation in the place where any other affiliation would belong  – in the Professional Affiliation section at the bottom of your resume.

Some of my clients have expressed concerned that they will be screened out if anything on their resume hints at their race, gender, or sexual orientation.  Although illegal and wrong, it is possible. My thought on that is if a company screens you out for that reason, it is probably not a place where you would wish to be employed.

Wishing you all the best in your career!

Deb

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