You could be “the brightest, most assertive and conscientious person there is,” Wilkins notes. But even at more progressive organizations, “some staffing and hiring managers will look for any clue that will allow them to discard a resume” – based on preconceived notions about race or other ideas.
“They receive so many resumes and if a hiring manager is looking for a way to eliminate a resume to get down to what they might feel are the ‘most qualified,’ that ethnic name can hurt you,” Wilkins says.
Tip #3: Polish Your Look
When you score an in-person interview, make sure you look the part. You should dress appropriately for the industry and corporate culture you plan to enter. But you needn’t blend in to the point where you are a wallflower or you abandon all sense of personal style.
For the interview itself, “Don’t overdo the jewelry. Females should wear jewelry that is understated,” Wilkins suggests.
And what about those with natural hair or ethnic hairstyles?
Wilkins thinks whatever way you wear your hair is fine, as long as it’s clean and neat.
“If it’s neat, I don’t think it would be rejected by employers,” he says. “Honestly, very long dreadlocks might be a turnoff to certain managers. But dreadlocks that are either not too long or that are just neatly pulled back in a ponytail would probably be OK.”
For men or women, though Wilkins adds: “We all know black people who have very beautiful braids and dreadlocks. So I definitely would not recommend someone cutting off their hair or trying to go bald for a job interview.”
Tip #4: Use Relevant Job-Search Sites
You’ve certainly heard of the major job-search sites, such as Monster.com and Career.com. They’re good for job-seekers of all backgrounds and races.
But African-American college grads on the prowl for a new job should also leverage minority or black-oriented job and career sites. A few good starting points are BlackCareerZone.com, DiversityInc.com, and UrbanLeagueJobsNetwork.com, all of which offer online career tools, including the option to create email alerts for jobs that match your search criteria.
Don’t forget as well to focus on industry-specific or specialized career websites.
For instance, are you a communications graduate or is your goal to become a professional writer or journalist? A good site to tap is JournalismJobs.com.
Or perhaps you’d like to work full-time or part-time for yourself as a freelancer in some way? Then be sure to check out Freelancer.com, the world’s largest outsourcing and crowd-sourcing marketplace, with 3 million members and over $120 million worth of work completed on the site.
Even if you don’t plan to freelance forever, Freelancer.com offers those looking for work a good way to tap into businesses and work-for-hire projects across a broad range of industries.