The effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on Americans’ career trajectories has varied by industry, geography and ethnicity, with Latinx Americans among the most heavily impacted. According to the 2020 American Family Survey, 53% of Hispanic respondents reported a career change since the pandemic began; while a troubling 41% report a decline in income.
Harnessing that hunger for gainful employment and a good career can yield results. We spoke with Caroline Castrillon, career coach and founder of CorporateEscapeArtist, to discuss how Americans impacted by the Covid recession can develop their careers and reinvent their futures.
Take credit for your accomplishments
Keep in mind employers expect you to openly share your accomplishments. This can be awkward for Latinos who may feel they are being arrogant, says Castrillon.
“Remember, this is your time to shine. Don’t be shy. Share what your individual contributions were and quantify the results. If you don’t do a good job of highlighting your achievements, employers will assume that you don’t have anything significant to discuss.”
Understand cultural nuances
There are subtle differences between the way employment interviews are conducted in the United States versus Latin America, says Castrillon.
“Don’t be discouraged if the interviewer seems a bit impersonal at first. Employers who don’t ask about your background, or your family, aren’t being rude. While the family is at the center of Hispanic culture, there are many legal issues employers can’t bring up first in an interview. If the interviewee mentions a spouse or children the interviewer can follow up on it, but they are generally bound by law not to ask first.”
Use your Hispanic connections
In addition to researching potential companies utilizing online tools, use your cultural connections to gain valuable insights. Within the close-knit Hispanic community, the chances are excellent that you can find someone who has interviewed with, or worked for a company, of interest. Professional Hispanic groups and their members can also be a wealth of information.
Key organizations that should be on your radar include the Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting (ALPFA), the National Hispanic Medical Association (NHMA), and the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC), among others.
Know your goals
A big mistake job-seekers make is applying for every position under the sun. Instead, Castrillon suggests job seekers focus on quality over quantity when seeking roles. Develop a list of the types of companies and positions you want to target, and then pursue it methodically. Then, develop measurable goals such as sending out a certain number of resumes daily, or researching a certain amount of companies each month.
Take small steps, says Castrillon, and seek to be consistent in your efforts. When you’re overwhelmed with mounting bills and worries, it’s easy to get disorganized or frantic and unfocused in your job search. Instead, take a moment to breathe deeply, and refocus your job-seeking intentions.
Finally, understand that a traditional job search isn’t your only option — you might also have a golden opportunity to reinvent yourself as a freelancer or entrepreneur. The key is knowing your strengths and being open to new and different opportunities.
Disclosure: NBCUniversal and Comcast Ventures are investors in Acorns.
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