Job Search for Black People 2020 and Beyond

Taking control of your career is one of the top priorities for taking control of your life. I’ve suggested your job search should be a lifestyle anyway, but I understand why it’s not at the moment. I can’t help but feel it is perfect timing to start a job search or even change careers. According to the BLS for May 2020, unemployment for African-Americans is 16.8% in contrast to 13.3% in America. It will likely go up in June and July along with the COVID-19 pandemic retaking center stage. More jobs and industries may get crushed in a second wave anticipated to be worse than the first.
If you desire a safe place to work, advance, and bring the whole you to work, why not target a company that promotes, harvests, and cultivates a diverse workplace. Surveys show diverse companies thrive and encourage ideas to foster innovation. A company with these elements in their culture creates fewer obstacles to grow and advance employee careers. We know how the anxiety and stress microaggressions cause from working in non-diverse workplaces. Diversity doesn’t perfect the work climate, but more times than not creates more equitable opportunities.
If you need to work for “the man,” at least choose “the man” who is choosing people like you and me. Understand if you’re activating a job search only when you need a job, you’re already behind. Successful professionals are always gauging and anticipating the need to take the next step as soon as they get the next position.
Job search is a lifestyle, not just a pair of pants you put on for that day. One survey cites more than 79% of job seekers use social media to search for jobs, and 45% use their mobile phones. They are searching while on public transportation back and forth to work, during lunch, and while waiting in lines or place. It’s not something you sit down and do at home. Everything you need can be stored on your phone through email, scanning, texting, networking, or even faxing (if necessary).
It’s consistent persistence, resilience, and continuance that brings successful efforts to get the job you want. You shouldn’t want to be anyone’s default choice, nor should you choose to work for a company by default.
Take control of your job search! Here’s how you can start:

Turn job-hunting into a lifestyle

If you want to spend less time finding a job when you need it, then make your job search a lifestyle. It will save you months of frustration.
If you already spend two hours on the phone for a week, you have the time. Whether it’s professional development or self-help boot camps or books, webinars, or career development vlogs, it will keep you engaged in moving your aspirations forward. The next level of a job search lifestyle is where you should live: continuous training and developing skills for your next move. It’s infused in your lifestyle, not a jacket to put on. The centuries of old nagging perception of Black professionals as people uneducated, and still lives in the underbelly of racism. It will be crushed through the swift transitions of amplifying our qualifications and undeniable tenacity, showing we’re well-qualified. Period.

Network and build relationships with all cultures and ethnicity to earn referrals

Referrals are the coveted jewels found online or offline. Not only to get an interview but also your chances of longevity with the company increase. The universal language to attract referrals is kindness, gratitude, empathy, and compassion. Referrals take time to earn online and offline. It brings value exchange to gain trust and favor when it comes to getting a referral. But it also takes showing you’re the right fit. When your reputation shows you’re the connector, resource sharer, and good news bearer, the ROI (Return on Investment) reciprocation seems inevitable.

Research the culture and the diversity of the company

Go to the website, press, LinkedIn, and start googling their reputation for hiring and promoting Black people within the company. Connect with Black people in the company and initiate a conversation about their company’s culture. Ask about their company’s views on hiring and promoting Blacks and People of Color. Check out Great Place to Work as a resource in finding diverse companies. They have a few lists on great places to work based on the company’s diversity determined by their specific methodology. I will add Field Jackson’s Racing to Diversity as a valuable resource and also follow him on Twitter. But nothing is like talking to 5–10 employees of companies you’re considering to pursue. You’ll get a better feel of their diversity efforts.

Position yourself to walk away from companies that undervalue you

They do show you that they do earlier than you realize. You’re still in a better position to find jobs when you have one. But if you’re unemployed, your value is as good as if you had one. Don’t let employers dictate your value if you’re not working. Most employers don’t intend to interrogate you, but it’s up to you to show you want to engage in a business conversation. You know the signs: Rudeness, constant repeating themselves, forgetting what you told them, coercing you to share your salary are signs to walk, if not run, away. When you receive microaggressions from interviewers that include questions about your name, hair, or ethnicity — understand they don’t deserve you. There are more signs than you realize to those specific to Black people and People of Color where their rudeness is “they are what they seem.”

Change the narrative to yourself as valuable even if you’re fired

It is not the end of the world, but possibly the beginning of a personal revolution if you decide that’s what it will be. If an employer asks about a job you were fired from, own it, and create a short but truthful narrative about the experience but move on. I wrote about seven narratives you need to expel from your mind. Read it and apply it as needed. Don’t believe the lies your career thrive after job termination.

Create a demand for your work

Network, engage, and show you’re worth it before there’s a demand for you. Any platform where employers and recruiters are looking for people like you is a place for content that creates demand. Today’s job search, I call it “Job Search 3.0,” is about being found as much as finding. It takes 100% effort to implement a 360-degree job search. It’s not a strategy to apply quickly and expect results. Display your best work and, over time, creates a referral engine better than what Google can do for you. Familiarity with your online network makes you a resource. Employers, recruiters, and referrers prefer to see, touch, and find work valuable to them. Linkedin is one of the best places to create a portfolio of your work to be found.

Get referred by a leader in the field

Referrals get you further in the hiring process (see #2). While you’re making yourself attractive to employers and recruiters, do the same for possible referrers. Find a way to get referred to companies. Studies show Black employees are more likely to get promoted if referred. From your list of 5–10 companies, use Linkedin to find employees of the company to connect with who are actively engaged. Then after a little time, see if you can message, converse, or even comment on what they share (commenting makes the connection and your inquiry so much easier). Get to know them over time, and if you’re offering value like sharing info or connecting them to other Linkedin users in your network, they may offer to refer you. Of course, each industry culture is different than others, but you’ll need to be thoughtful about what that will look like for you.

For Black people, enduring outrage of current events such as witnessing and protesting unjustified barbaric deaths, COVID-19, and physical and mental attacks, there is room for motivated discontent when it comes to our careers. We’ll take the measures to recover and act with a tropical storm like vengeance in positioning our selves for the best. We cannot be passive in our preparation, waiting to get chosen just because we applied. Only you can determine if you’ll be a default setting or if you’re presenting yourself as the right choice. But only you can control how you’ll appear despite the barriers place before you.