Hitting the Quota

When I was first starting out in my career in publishing, I got laid off from my first “real job” out of college. It was at a tiny publisher and I should have seen it coming, honestly. I was out of work for 4 months. 

During that time, I was given a lot of advice on my resume by anyone that could speak English. Add this, remove that. Move that up, move this down. Make this large, make this smaller. Fit it all on one page, two pages is fine. I made all the changes thinking whatever gets me a new job! All changes but one. I had someone from some HR department at some company ask me if I was married. I replied no, I was not. She then asked why I had a hyphenated last name and I said well, that’s the name I was born with. She said I might want to consider just listing one name, not both. I didn't ask her which one I should drop (though, I could hazard a guess); I didn't say anything to her at all. I just ignored the comment and didn’t make the change.

I’ve always used my racial background as a selling feature in job interviews. I have always made sure to list my full name (first and both last names with a hyphen) in big, bold letters at the top of my resume and I have always brought up my mixed race in the interview. Why? Because it is an advantage. It’s something that not everyone has, it makes me unique and makes me stand out from the other candidates. I know, legally, they can’t ask me any personal questions, including my race, so I make it a point to state it outright. If they have a race quota to fill, why not fill it with me? Mixed, black, urban, female? Check, check, check, check. 

If we can get ruled out for jobs based on the way we look, why can’t we also qualify for them based on the way we look? 

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