For years, many in the United States and other countries used “Hispanic” to refer to people who live in or whose ancestors came from anywhere in Latin America, which is commonly defined as Mexico, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean. More recently, Hispanic has also commonly been used to also refer to anyone who lives in or whose ancestors came from Spain or any country whose primary language is Spanish.
More recently, we’ve seen the emergence of the word Latinx, a gender-neutral term to refer to a Latino (male) or Latina (female) person. The “x” replaces the male and female endings “o” and “a” that are part of Spanish grammar conventions. This term comes from American-born Latinos/Latinas who want to be more inclusive and gender-neutral, which is more akin to the English language.
So, now that we’re past what I hope was a fun, little, linguistics lesson, let’s dive into the real subject at hand. We wanted to provide some advice specific to Latinx college students who are early in their career journeys. To do that, we sought advice from professionals across various fields. From conducting career research and applying to utilizing networking for job opportunities, here are their tips:
Conduct Career Research and Apply
A tip for Latinx students who are searching for paid internships, a job after graduation, or early-career employment opportunities would be the following.
Conduct career research to increase your knowledge about the world of work based on your major and experience. Don’t wait until you’re close to graduation. Taking the time to research potential job opportunities will provide you with the knowledge and understanding of what you need to do as a student to prepare for the job title you aspire to have.
With changes to the job market, today’s employers are not only looking for degrees attained but also for transferable skills from prospective applicants. Make yourself a competitive applicant by building your resume and applying to early-career opportunities. Don’t get discouraged by rejections, as they will direct you to the right position that is meant to be yours.
Schedule an appointment to meet with a career counselor, do your research, and APPLY!
Angelica Gil, Career Counselor, Fresno City College
Be Persistent and Gain Internship Experience
Persistence is absolutely key to getting your first job.
Your goal should be to get a paid summer internship before you graduate from college, as launching your post-university career will be that much easier if you have work experience and references.
To make that happen, get help. Most colleges and universities have career centers where you can get help writing a resume, learning how to ace interviews, and finding key jobs to apply to that will build your skills. Start that process in your second year, with the goal of at least having a job the summer between your junior and senior years. If possible, get one even earlier.
Beverly Gearreald, Owner, Live Fearless Mentoring
Embrace Your Cultural Identity in Interviews
It is beneficial to highlight your cultural background as a selling point during interviews. Include examples of how you’ve overcome adversity and worked effectively with people from different backgrounds. Give examples of how your cultural understanding helped to advance initiatives or resolve problems.
Employers who prioritize inclusion and innovation may be impressed by a candidate’s ability to resolve cultural gaps and capitalize on diversity. Keep in mind that your ability to see things from a different angle is a strength that can improve the workplace and lead to greater success for your employer.
Gerrid Smith, Communications Manager, Texas Property Tax Loan Pros
Leverage Potential Multilingual Abilities
Being fluent in Spanish, or any other language, can be a valuable asset in today’s global job environment. Numerous industries value employees who can effectively communicate with a variety of audiences, particularly in Spanish-speaking regions.
Feature your language proficiency on your resume and during interviews. Provide specific examples of how your command of the language has allowed you to facilitate understanding, resolve problems, or strengthen international partnerships.
Being able to communicate in more than one language shows that you are adaptable and willing to help the organization in its global expansion efforts.
Cindi Keller, Communications Coordinator, The Criminal Defense Firm
Network Effectively During College
Network effectively while you are at college or university. Building a strong professional network is crucial for Latinx college/university students seeking internships, first jobs, or early-career opportunities.
Attend career fairs, workshops, and industry events to connect with professionals. Utilize platforms like College Recruiter and LinkedIn to reach out to potential mentors, peers, and employers.
Networking provides insights into various industries, enhances job referrals, and increases visibility. Engage in meaningful conversations, showcase your skills, and express your passion.
Effective networking not only opens doors to opportunities but also fosters relationships that can guide and support your career journey.
Khanh Tran, Growth Manager, Villa-Ibiza
Invest in Your Professional Brand
Make sure that your resume is updated and includes relevant experience and skills. Demonstrate your ability to think strategically using examples such as success stories or challenges you’ve faced in the workplace.
You should also maintain an up-to-date LinkedIn profile, complete with a professional headshot, accomplishments, endorsements, and recommendations from colleagues. Additionally, create a portfolio of your work and include it in job applications to show employers the breadth of your expertise.
Shaun Martin, Founder and CEO, We Buy Houses In Denver
Utilize Networking for Job Opportunities
If you are searching for an internship, a first job after graduation, or other early-career employment opportunities, networking can be a key way to find opportunities.
By reaching out to people in your field of interest, you can learn about opportunities that may not be publicly advertised. Additionally, by networking, you can build relationships that may lead to future job opportunities.
Matthew Ramirez, Co-Founder, USMLE Test Prep