Students of Color

University Career Services is here to help students of color navigate their professional journeys and career goals while recognizing the influence that social identities - particularly race and ethnicity - can play.

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Own Your Identity

The extent to which your racial or ethnic identity informs your academic and career goals is unique. Answer the following set of questions to better understand the role your race or ethnicity plays in shaping how you think about your next steps.  

As a result of my experiences as a member of my racial or ethnic group... 

  • my strengths are ______________ 

  • I have a sense of responsibility to address _______issues through my work 

  • I worry about encountering _______obstacles in my job search 

  • it is important for me to work for an employer that ___________ 

To process how your racial or ethnic identity intersects with other identities to impact your career planning, complete the My Social Identities Exercise or schedule an appointment with Career Services. 

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Find Inclusive Workplaces

If it is important to you to work for an employer that truly values diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), look for evidence in their language, actions, and policies. You should notice indications of an organization’s commitment at every stage of the hiring process: as you are applying to a position, during the interview, and after you receive an offer.

Check out our resources for finding employers committed to DEI

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Know Your Rights

You have a right to work in an environment free of discrimination. This means that your employer cannot make work-related decisions because of your race or colornational origin, or genetic information. This right applies to hiring, firing, promotions, training, wages and benefits, among others. 

Your employer cannot punish you, treat you differently or harass you if you report job discrimination or help someone else report job discrimination, even if it turns out the conduct was not illegal. You also have a right to be protected from retaliation. 

If you haven’t already, gain a general understanding of federal and state protections against employment discrimination

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Get Equal Pay for Equal Work

Regardless of the education level obtained, racial disparities in income still exist.  White workers continue to earn more than Black, Indigenous, and Latinx workers in similar roles. 

Be sure to understand what the position you are interested in typically pays both in your industry and within the organization you are considering. Get advice from professionals in your field and use tools such as Glassdoor and Payscale to do your research. Prepare to negotiate any job offer you receive, or to request a salary adjustment if necessary.

Here is an example of someone engaging in salary negotiation at the time of a job offer: 

"Thank you for your offer. I am certainly interested in the position and your company. Based on what I learned about the job and its responsibilities, as well as the market and my work experience, I believe a salary between X and Y is more appropriate.” 

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Build Your Community

Finding “your people” is a great strategy to combat isolation in spaces where you may be in the minority and to give and get support from others with shared experiences. Joining formalized groups, connecting with alumni and/or finding a mentor can be beneficial to both your career advancement and your overall well-being.

Begin building your community while at Mason: 

Search on Mason 360  for more culturally-based community and professional student organizations.  

Find a mentor and continue engaging with Mason connections after graduation: 

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Join Professional Associations

Expand your network—there are hundreds of groups out there to choose from, some with chapters(*) at Mason. Here are a select few: