Are you a bright, talented college student or recent graduate with no job prospects? No summer internship? No job waiting after graduation? Keep Reading.
Why don't you have a job in your field already? In today's job market, It's hard to pass the resume test for certain STEM Jobs. For example, If you have a name (like Keisha), you might have to prove yourself with 1-2 years more experience than your peers. Or if you have a degree from an HBCU, you may have to prove that you are just as intelligence as other applicants from other schools. You may have to show your transcript, to everyone- multiple times. This panic causes many to end up at a low level job outside of your field.
(Remember to check out tips on Phone Interviews, What to Wear to an Interview, and setting up Job Alerts)
Solution: Learn to create jobs for yourself. No one is coming to save you. We will be exploring multiple solutions for this problem at Lean In Keisha. Today, we will be exploring one option in our back yards. Everyone wants to work at IBM or GE (me too) but when you really can not find work, you have to be creative.
Solution #1: Consider interning or shadowing a small business, just for a season! Engaging in projects that have great impact on business is a great option. Solid project experience will be a great talking point in your next interview. Become a social media manager for a small business or a continuous improvement engineer. Every organization or system has room for continuous improvement. You have the knowledge and capability to create. Don't just get a part-time job, work at a place where you can engage in continuous improvement projects.
Why bring up Black Owned Businesses? Black Owned Business are a hidden jewel for us. That's Employment! Engaging in self-started projects in your own community is equally beneficial for you as to the community. This is a community where you don't have to worry about the resume test (as much). The A few projects in a smaller business will have great impact!
My very first job was working for a black owned business, here's what I learned:
1. Black owners/managers give more responsibility and bigger assignments.
Oppose to larger companies who give you 1/10th of the smallest piece of the pie. (Basically, work that no one else wants to do.) I was taught every aspect of the business. Also, larger company's primarily objective is to build workers, not leaders.
2. Seeing a owner/manager that looks like you brings you greater self-confidence.
You will start to associate authority with a face that looks like yours.
3. You will gain secrets of the trade.
Many owners are looking for someone to teach.
These owners eventually may train you to take over their business one day. Even if you do not, the experience is invaluable.
Why I Am Afraid: Many people who have worked for a start up or Black Owned Business will tell you not to do it. They'll tell you black people are too informal and comfortable around each other. African Americans cannot set up structure. We can only grow unless we are uncomfortable. There's a great misconception that there's no racism, swearing or unprofessionalism at certain "mainstream" firms. #Lies. This concept of working for local businesses is very common in other ethnic groups.
My Disclaimer: I'm not telling you to start a Pyramid schemes, I'm talking legit licensed businesses. I'm recommending that you USE you degree and your intelligence to create a job for yourself. Your church, your community, your hair salon. It's plenty room for process improvement.
Start like this: "Hi Ms. Johnson, I'm home for the summer from college. I'm studying marketing and I wanted to know if you needed some help."
Tune into next weeks post. We will be evaluating another solution. So go ahead, Lean In Keisha.
PS: What are the realities of being the black intern in your program? Positive? Negative? Let us know.