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Demonstrate diversity and inclusion in resume

10 Ways to Authentically Demonstrate Diversity and Inclusion in Your Resume

Demonstrating your leadership and commitment to diversity and inclusion on your resume without sounding fake or forced can be challenging. In this post, we’ll examine 10 ways to authentically show your own diversity, your ability to work collaboratively, your experience creating inclusive environments and how you’ve helped people feel like they belong at work.

How Are You Unique?

In writing resume, the main goals are to effectively express your professional skills and abilities, summarize your previous experience and accomplishments and to creatively articulate to an employer why they should hire you over other candidates. Before you start listing technical skills or awards, consider what makes YOU unique- how are YOU different from anyone else in the applicant pool.

If you’re applying to an entry level role, nearly everyone in the applicant pool will likely have the same level of education, similar level of experience etc. so the challenge now becomes separating yourself from the crowd.

Questions to ask yourself to help clarify your own diversity:

  1. How do I think differently than other people?
  2. What am I good at?
  3. What do people know me for?
  4. What are my hobbies?
  5. What’s the most obscure or weirdest thing about me?

Reflecting on your own diversity, ask yourself how do you want to incorporate that into your resume? For example, if you are a member of the LGBTQ+ community, where in your resume does it make sense to express that? You might add it under education if you were in a LGBTQ+ student group. You could also add it under your volunteer or leadership section if you volunteered with an LGBTQ+ organization. Lastly, perhaps you did an LGBTQ+ training at work and earned a certificate. You could add that certificate under your skills and certifications sections.

Remember, people hire people. HR recruiters and hiring managers are looking for human traits and ways to connect with you, even as early as the resume stage. Take this opportunity to express your uniqueness and talents. So even if you are applying to jobs where 99% of the applicant pool has the exact same qualifications you do, you will always stand out because you prioritized your own diversity in your resume first over learned skill or ability.

Inclusively Working Collaboratively

No matter your job, at some level, you will work with other people. Internally, externally, on your team or across working groups, the ability to work collaboratively, respectfully, and inclusively is a highly sought-after attribute employers are looking for in applicants starting as early as your resume.

Demonstrating your leadership and commitment to diversity and inclusion through your experience working in teams is a very authentic and natural way to write this into your resume. Reflect on a few different times in your life you’ve been part of a team. From being a student in academic group projects to a volunteer project in your community or the core tasks in your current job, there is a high likelihood you’ve worked as part of a team.

Questions to ask yourself to help clarify your inclusion on teams:

  1. What was the makeup of the team and what was my role?
  2. How did I respect my teammates?
  3. How did I communicate with my teammates?
  4. What ways did I invite opposing ideas or opinions?
  5. What ways did I create an inclusive space where all teammates felt seen and heard?

In professional roles and environments, critical debate is good! Through tension, we make ideas, processes, and products better. If you worked in a team where everyone thought the same or came from the same background, you’d be missing huge opportunities for creativity and innovation.

Your ability to lead and create opportunities for your team to work inclusively and collaboratively is a huge bonus to your resume. Be sure to add these skills throughout different areas of your resume. Even if you were a follower or a secondary group member, you can still demonstrate leadership qualities!

Moving From Diversity to Inclusion to Belonging

Basic diversity is having employees that are different from each other. In the HR world, applicants are segmented into pools by demographics based on categories such as education level, years of experience or identity groups (i.e., race, ethnicity, disability status, veteran status etc.). Inclusion is making sure everyone is invited into the conversation or has a seat at the table.

Creating and cultivating employee belongingness at an organization is arguably one of the hardest things to do in modern organizations. Employees are craving a sense of purpose around what they do at work and a sense of belonging with the folks they are doing their work with. Creating environments, processes, and procedures where folks feel an authentic sense of belonging is a critical skill employers are seeking out of future employees. So how do you demonstrate that on you resume?

Reflect on a time where you didn’t belong or were different from others around. What made you feel comfortable in that experience? Now think of a time where you were in the majority and got the opportunity to help someone on your team feel welcomed and included. Perhaps you were a mentor or trainer for a new employee, or you had to quickly bring a colleague up to speed on a project?

Ask yourself what skills helped you be successful in helping people feel they belong.

Skills and abilities to get you started thinking about belonging:

  1. Listening empathetically
  2. Asking the person what they need to feel they belong
  3. Connecting them to others in your organization (networking!)
  4. Asking them to lunch or work social events or trainings
  5. Genuinely show interest in their uniqueness and share your own diversity to create a real connection

It’s likely you’ve been a resource to helping someone feel they belong, show that on your resume! The soft skills you list on your resume help give employers a better sense of truly who you are, not just what technical skills you can do. So don’t sideline your soft skills, get them into the game and when coupled with technical skill and accomplishment, they can be a very powerful communicator of what working with you is like.

A Quick 10 Point Resume Checklist For Showing Diversity and Inclusion In Your Resume

Consider the following elements you can add to your resume to show commitment and leadership to diversity and inclusion including:

  1. Pronouns to your header
  2. Student clubs you were in during high school or college
  3. Diversity, equity and inclusion trainings or certifications
  4. Volunteer roles with diverse organizations
  5. Leadership roles showing inclusion and belonging skills
  6. Diversity accomplishments/awards you or your team has earned you are proud of
  7. Specific inclusion projects your progressed that made a difference to all members of your organization
  8. Employee Resource Groups you belong to or lead
  9. Ways you positively contributed to your organization’s culture
  10. Match inclusive language on your resume from what is listed on the job description

If you find yourself a little thin in opportunities to express your commitment and leadership to diversity and inclusion- that’s ok! Start creating a plan and being intentional with future volunteer opportunities, work projects or hobbies you pick up as you move forward in your career so you can eventually start adding these skills and abilities into your resume.