Monday, March 20, 2017

I “Whitewashed” My Resume and Here’s What Happened

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I know I know, I can feel your judgment stares through the screen but hear me out. About 6 months ago I moved to Suffolk County (In Long Island) from Brooklyn. Growing up in NYC I won't say I never experienced racism but because NYC is such a melting pot I did not ALWAYS feel so immediately aware of my Blackness especially in a professional setting. Maybe I was Naive but I felt like for the most part my experiences with the job hunt my race didn't play such a huge part in the reception of me. Until I moved to Long Island, I have never felt SO aware of being Black and being on the job hunt.

It started off simple enough if you have ever looked for a job you know how completely exhausting it can be. I would get calls here and there but after 2 months of searching and getting very few call backs, I knew I needed to try Something different.These bills were not going to pay themselves! Being unemployed isn’t cool especially when you are ACTIVELY looking for work, I was not collecting unemployment and I had vacations to pay for. Which if you know me plays a huge role in my life. Updating my resume has been something I have done periodically anyway, I even had my resume looked at by a recruiter friend of mine who gave it the seal of approval as being clear and concise. My name has been typically hard to pronounce for most people even though it only has 6 letters but I figured it wouldn't hurt if I made my name more “palatable” so I changed my name on my Resume from Electa to Elle.  I made the changes on my resume and my Linkedin and didn’t think too much of it. Almost immediately I started to get call backs left and right for jobs in record speed. Making a moderate estimate I went on about 4 interviews in 2 months as Electa but went on about 15 in that same time frame as “Elle”.  It was great to start getting callbacks but the Interviews themselves were a whole other story, my guess is It was always a bit of shock that Elle was a Brown skinned girl with natural hair.

This experience has created a list of the worst interviews I have ever been on. Here are just some of them: Being on interviews where the interviewer doesn’t even want to ask me any questions about my work related experiences or any questions at all and basically stare at me, basically already making the decision not to seriously consider me before I even open my mouth. Having an Interview for a management position and then being told when I get there they are mysteriously not hiring for that position anymore when they were so excited to meet me just the day prior. Being told they do not believe I am “Management material” Even though I have more experience in the field than the person interviewing me. Receiving rejection letters before I even get back home after an interview. Interview after Interview I become increasingly frustrated, but I still put on a brave face and went out there again and again. I am not saying all of these experiences have been solely because of my race because I believe that would be an unfair assumption. I do however have over 9 years of experience in my field, a College education, I always dress clean and professional for every interview, my resume is awesome and prior to this, I have been on very few interviews without landing a job even in the super competitive market of NYC.

After being on almost 40 Interviews (Yes, you read that right 40 INTERVIEWS!)  in 4 months as “ Elle” with NO job offers I decided the stress and frustration of going on countless interviews were just not worth it. I took a few weeks break from the job hunt to get my head together and decompress than hopped back into changed my resume back to the name my Momma gave me! I was not proud of what I had done and admittedly had tried to change, even if on paper a huge part of who I am. I love my name and although that has not always been the case my name is unique thus making me stand out.I am sure I won't be the first or last person who feels like they need to make themselves more “marketable” to the general public in order to simply step foot in the door. Hopefully one day this won’t even need to be an option, that your merit, work experience, and education will speak for themselves. I have not yet found a job but I have a few interviews lined up that look promising, I am sure the right opportunity will come along and I will find a company that values me for who I am and what I can bring to the table.

Electa is a self-proclaimed foodie. She is a Wife, a domestic goddess, aspiring chef in training, and a Writer/Blogger from Brooklyn with serious Wanderlust. follow her on twitter: @emazing17, Instagram @emazing17 and snapchat @Emazing1787 

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