Young Black Professionals! Take Advantage of the Push for Diversity 👩🏽💼
Updated: Aug 28, 2021
Many fortune 500 companies are made up of white male professionals with very minimal minority presence. Since the start of BLM movement, many companies have implemented initiatives to employ more African American and minority groups. Here's how you can leverage yourself to get hired!
Market Yourself, Be the Total Package 📦 ✨
There is a few ways how you can begin to market yourself to become the perfect candidate. First, hone in on your specialty. Are you in IT? Are you in Human Resource Management? Project Management? Make yourself an expert in your field by obtaining the experience on a micro level. Start at small companies to gain that basic experience and skills that translate on a larger scale, then gradually grow your professional experience by taking on jobs that increase in responsibility (and pay)! In addition, we want to make sure that we are accepting positions that align with our career goals. The most confusing thing for a hiring manager to see is someone applying for a specific job, but their resumes shows they've been in every field under the sun besides the one they applied for. Second, obtain certifications and/or higher education in your specialty that aligns with your title. For example, if you’re in Human Resource Management you'd qualify to become a member of SHRM and gain access to all of their certification courses. If you're in IT or looking to transition into IT, CompTIA certifications are highly recognized and recommended to secure an IT career; the A+ certification is the industry standard for establishing a career in IT. If you're more of a scholar, higher education may be the way for you. Master Degree's allow you to set yourself apart from your counterparts and they may even be required for some of the careers you may want to transition into.
Be Consistent and Purposeful 🙏🏾
How many of us applied for a job, got a rejection letter, and then that was the end of it. We went back to working our regular job that we were unhappy with and continue to feel as if there was no way out? Yes, I've been there as well! However, one thing that I've learned is that consistency has been allowing me to kick doors open in the corporate world. A few reasons why you may get rejected, but then get hired after reapplying a second, third, and even fourth time. One, you applied in a round with people who had slightly better qualifications that you. This isn't to say that you lack any skill or talent, however there may have been another candidate with more experience; by chance if you apply again you may out-qualify everyone else. Secondly, the hiring manager may have not liked you personally. We all have personal biases. I've sat in a room with recruiters who after an interview came back into the room and stated, "It was something about that candidate I didn't like." This didn't speak to the skill of the candidate, this was purely personal. It could’ve been something very biased, small, and even something able to be overlooked. However, humans are flawed and when you’re in a hiring process a single human can make a decision not to hire you. On another note, if that position hasn't been filled for months this is most likely due to an unqualified or inexperienced hiring team. In some cases like this the recruiting team may be replaced and you may be able to apply for the same position with different recruiters. In conclusion, if you’re adamant about what you want, don't allow rejection to deter you! Keep pushing to penetrate the company. See how I did this with Marriott in my earlier career days.
RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH 📑
It's essential to aim for applying to the companies who are currently pushing to be recognized for diversity. Craft an amazing cover letter highlighting your value as a minority and what skills you can bring to the company to enhance their company culture. It may seems as if you’re just a number. As I'm writing this I also find that it's sickening that in the 21st century we still have Fortune 500 company composed of less than 5% of African American associates. However, it's imperative that we leverage the opportunities that are provided in this moment to progress for ourselves and our lineage.
Join Professional Groups
Professional groups or organizations provide resources and have direct ties to certain companies for hiring initiatives. For example, I'm a current member of NSN-DC/Baltimore Chapter; This is a National Sales Network for Black sales professionals. My organization provides trainings, career fairs, and direct contacts to big name companies that open positions exclusively to associates of the organization. I would encourage you all to search for organizations that cater to your field and take advantage of all of the resources that comes with the paid membership to their organization. Another tidbit, utilize your greek organization connections as well as other societies that may provide resources.