With more than 12 million unemployed Americans, some people are getting creative to find work.
One woman changed her race to try to land employment. Of course, Yolanda Spivey cannot change the color of her skin for real, but she did create a new name and profile page on a job search website. Spivey said she included her experience and education but made up the name Bianca White and listed her race as White.
In the three years she has been an unemployed insurance representative, she has received hardly any responses. She said "Bianca" immediately started receiving emails and phone calls from potential employers while her "Yolanda" profile sat mostly silent.
She wrote an article about it and believes her 14 years of work experience isn't enough to get her a job because of the color of her skin.
"I have a suspicion that the diversity questionnaires that are used in employment searches prevent minorities from getting jobs. I haven't been able to find work. It's almost scary. I don't know where I'm going to go from here. Luckily, I was able to save a little money and I've been living off that, also, substitute teaching. My own brokerage is starting to take off," she said.
Employment website Monster.com said it does not share race or gender answers with recruiters or employers. Those questions are only asked for EEOC purposes. It also said many recruiters and employers respond to new accounts and newly-created profiles.
EEOC attorney Jim Sacher pointed out there have been studies done by sociologists, including one by professors at MIT and University of Chicago, proving "white-sounding" names on resumes get more responses than those that "sound black". Sacher said he does not have any knowledge that information of race is passed on to potential employers on job-recruiting sites.
If you believe you are being discriminated against and are not being hired because of race, religion, gender or etc., you should contact the EEOC.
Spivey resorted to this after years of not being able to find work. If you are in this position, what can you do?
Before I tell you that, here are some things you should not do:
-- Don't use an unprofessional sounding email address. A job recruiter told me she threw away a resume when saw the email "I'm so sexy".
-- Don't make your resume too long. Employers want to read your experience, not a novel. Keep it to one page, two at the most, according to Stephanie Hill Polk with Quality Solutions Professional Recruiting and Staffing.
Here are some things she says you should remember if you are job searching right now in this tough economy.
"Don't change job markets right now. Stay in the industry that you have experience. Get out and network, meet people, shake hands, go to various functions. If you want to be in human resources, you have to go to all the human resource functions," Polk said.
She says you should also make sure to use the same "buzz words" in your resume that are found in the job description and always follow up with a phone call. She suggests you also mail a "thank you" note after you've applied for a position, even if you haven't heard anything from the company. Thank the person who is doing the hiring for looking at your resume and for considering you for the job.
If you are looking for a job, Polk can help. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 281 416-9153. Be ready to sell yourself.