By Clint Cora
We are all pretty aware that much of North America as well as other parts of the world are becoming more and more diverse each year. It makes sense that given the increase in multiculturalism in our society, having good diversity skills would make you a stronger job candidate as well as a more promotable employee.
By diversity skills, we are referring to the ability to work and communicate well with all sorts of people from different backgrounds. These different backgrounds can be cultural, racial, religious, ethnic, lifestyle or regional. We can also include people who are handicapped or of different sexual orientations here. All people who have differences (which pretty well covers all of us) should be included. The ability of being able to deal with all sorts of people is a definite personal asset to have these days.
One of the most powerful strategies that one can ever use during a job interview involves diversity skills. If you have ever been successful in a past work situation or even just a recreational activity where you interacted with people who were quite different from you, then you could claim this as a success story.
For example, let’s say you had to interact with a particular ethnic group for a work situation like a sales project. If you were successful in landing such an account for your company, this can be considered a diversity skills success story. If you have been successful in working in company projects with people from different racial backgrounds, this can also be a feather in your hat.
One of the things that many companies will be looking for these days in potential employees is whether one can work in a diverse environment. This is especially true with companies in very multicultural communities or those who deal in the international business arena.
If you have been successful in diverse environments in the past, then you are strongly recommended to be forward and volunteer that fact during job interviews. You should clearly state that you have great diversity skills that allow you to work with people from all walks of life no matter how different they are. You should support your claims with interesting past examples of such successes to prove your point.
If you haven’t had much interaction with people who are different from you and therefore have a lack of success stories, then it’s time to start building them. Either in your present work or with an extracurricular activity or a volunteer position, try to find opportunities to work with others who come from different backgrounds than you. Start building a set of successes that also help you develop your own skills.
Most of your competition in the job market or those shooting for more senior positions will likely not be proactive with specifically diversity success stories during job interviews. So if you come out with such information about yourself, it will really help you stand out from the rest of the crowd. It will be a very powerful strategy to use given the diverse world we all live and work in these days.
Clint Cora is a motivational diversity speaker, author and martial arts karate world champion. He is also a former corporate executive with over 20 years of diversity experience. More information about his speaking programs, books, videos, articles on motivation and diversity can be found at www.clintcora.com