I Have a Dream

Job Searching Lessons from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
January 20th is a federal holiday when we remember Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the impact he has had on society today. As we honor this occasion, I thought I would share a couple of his philosophies that could increase a job seeker’s chances of success in the current market.

Diversity
On August 28, 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered an historic speech sharing his dream that our nation would one day live out the creed, “all men are created equal.” The implementation of this creed is evident in the diverse workforce that can be found in American businesses today.

Demographics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show there are more than 140 million people that make up the American workforce. Just over half of the workforce are men (53%), meaning just under half are women. Racial characteristics are broken into more than a half dozen distinct categories with at least another half dozen sub-categories. The age of our workforce ranges from teenagers to over a million workers that are 75+ years old.

Besides these measured differences, our workforce also encompasses differences in languages, religious beliefs, customs, social norms, and values, just to name a few.

For a job seeker that means it is essential to have a demonstrated ability to not only accept, but thrive in an atmosphere ripe with differences. Specific examples of handling diversity, overcoming the challenge of cultural barriers, or using differences to create a synergistic effect, are important. Incorporating these examples into resumes and interviews illustrates what an asset you could be to a potential employer.

Volunteering
In the esteemed words of Dr. King, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?”

Taking action to answer this question can have a powerful impact on a job search! Let me share how:

1) Helping others tends to feel good and build self-esteem. This in turn makes an individual appear more positive and more confident; two of the most important characteristics that employers would like to see in employees.

2) Getting out and interacting with others helps to build networks and improve networking skills. Critical pieces to a successful job search.

3) Current skills can be honed and new skills learned through volunteer activities.

4) Doors could be opened to career opportunities never before considered.

As you venture out to fulfill your career dreams, let me leave you with one last quote from Dr. King, “All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.”

Bobi Cook is a Regional Facilitator for Workforce Solutions in the Houston – Galveston area. She currently conducts job skills seminars throughout the 13 county Gulf Coast region utilizing her MBA and over ten cumulative years experience as a professional educator, quality systems manager within the automotive industry, and small business administrator to help job seekers develop and implement successful job search campaigns.



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