The Exhaustion of Job Searching as a Black Woman

by: Kianna Goss

For Black women, searching for a job means more than just submitting a resume…

The time has come for me to deep dive into the search for my first adult job. The anxiety of trying to find the right match, figure out my direction post-graduation, and hear rejection scares me. However, my biggest concern is the challenges I may face specifically as a Black woman.

As a journalism major, I like to make my resume creative to express my personality in addition to my skills. I’ve attended resume workshops that pair you with employers. I was given great tips to enhance my resume during a meeting—however, when I asked if I should add a photo, I was told, “No, because you are an African American woman and you do not want to give people the opportunity to discriminate against you.” After the meeting, I was mind blown because I have all these great skills to offer an employer, yet if I add a photo, the only thing they will see is the color of my skin. 

With this perspective, what happens once I land a job right for me? How do I interact in the work environment knowing that many people of color report they are usually ‘on guard’ to protect themselves from discrimination, according to Allyson Zimmermann? Will I be like these individuals who are willing to change their appearance, their language, arrive to work meetings earlier than their white colleagues, and any other methods that don’t bring attention to themselves?

I cannot help but wonder how comfortable it is to work as an adult in an environment where you can’t be yourself. Years ago, I used to be like that; I used to change my dialect around my white employers or white co-workers. It puts you into a box, where you don’t feel comfortable being yourself, and I do not want to go back to that feeling.

After all that, there is still the “Angry Black Woman” stereotype that portrays Black women as being aggressive or hot-tempered. I may have to confront that perception in my future workplace, even though I, and all Black women, can be passionate about a subject without being angry or aggressive. 

On top of being nervous for interviews, being discriminated against should not be a concern for my generation, or Black women of any generation. If you can relate, here are a couple suggestions:

  1. Do thorough research on the company you apply to. Make sure it matches your values and get a feel of the environment and look at the diversity within the company. Make sure they represent different backgrounds for a purpose, and not just to make their company look good.
  1. Go to a few resume workshops or seek out interview tips online to help you feel less nervous, but don’t take advice from individuals who discourage you. 

I am still quite nervous about my job search, however with using these tips I am mentally prepared for anything that comes my way. I hope I find a job that matches my value and honors diversity. 

About Kianna Goss

Kianna Goss is a senior at Bradley University, majoring in journalism with a double minor in sociology and advertising with public relations. The importance of community involvement is to use your voice. Kianna’s voice is one of the strongest platforms she has, and utilizes it through her writing. Being a Black woman, Kianna often writes to give a voice to the Black community to gain control over the media that portrays them in a negative way. Kianna is a writer with different form expressions. She has written poetically, through blogs, newspapers, and opinion pieces. Kianna always looks for more opportunities to grow as a writer and person. Kianna is currently the social media director for Her Campus, works as a peer mentor for Bradley’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion, and is a team leader/caller at the Bradley Fund. Being able to explore her creativity is what she loves most about Bradley. The Communications department is molding her into the journalist she aspires to be.

About Sophie Liu 

Sophie Liu is a senior at Dunlap High School who has won numerous art prizes such as the Scholastic Art and Writing Gold Key Award and several honorable mentions. As someone who also values academics, business, and volunteering, she has participated in and led many activities in her community. Her volunteering contribution has awarded her the Gold President’s Volunteer Service Award. She is one of the club leaders of her school’s Interact Volunteering Club. During her summers, Liu has participated in several business camps such as Kelley Business’s Young Women’s Institute, where she has gained knowledge and experience in her passion. She also runs her own online art business where she creates commissioned art pieces and gains firsthand business experience. Liu plans to continue her love of business, volunteering, and art in college, where she will major in either Marketing or Business Analytics and minor in art.