An Essential Checklist for Black Women Applying to Jobs
Changing toxic workplace culture starts with the application process
The stirring of recent racial injustices — the murder of Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and many others — juxtaposed with the mounting cases of and deaths from Covid-19 among Black people, along with the drastically high Black unemployment rate, has spurred me to share how I consider, and apply, for full-time employment in the U.S.
Historically, I’ve only applied to jobs I believed I could 100% manage. Research has shown women are more likely to apply to a job if they feel extremely qualified. It’s something I still work on removing as a roadblock in my own job search. But instead of worrying about whether or not we’re qualified for a certain position, more of us (Black women, especially) should consider whether the job itself meets your own standards and qualifications.
After I’ve read a job description, checked any LinkedIn stats for the posting (Premium comes in handy occasionally) and visited the company website, I launch into a very specific methodology for submitting my application. To provide you with a peek into my methods, I’ve decided to present my process in a list, because who doesn’t love a good list?
1. Pay attention to the language in the job posting
If I see words like “rockstar,” “hungry,” “work hard, play hard,” “ninjas,” “gurus,” or “aggressive,” I will not apply. To me, these words are used in the posting because they’re actively used within the organization, thus indicating a culture I don’t want to be a part of.
Plenty of academic research is available that has proven these words and phrases indicate a #BroCulture, which itself is synonymous with White-male-dominant culture. The last thing I want as a Black woman is to join an organization or team that’s for “bros.”
I also find the use of these words in job postings to be simply lazy. If an organization cannot find a better way to tell the story about their business, their expectations, and how impact will be measured for the role, then they’re not going to be able to value what I bring to the table.