This Is What It’s Like To Search For A Job As A Black Woman


In 2011, I was confident to enter the workforce after graduation. I had followed all the advice to set myself up for success, including completing five internships. Much to my surprise, however, I ended up going on over 100 in-person interviews in eight months before finally landing my first job offer after graduating.

Many college graduates who received their degrees between 2007 and 2011 know how hard it was to enter the workforce during a horrible job market. However, there is another factor that made a difficult job market even more of an uphill battle for me: being a black woman.

As the rate in which black women obtain degrees increases, only 8% are employed in the private sector, according to the National Domestic Worker’s Alliance’s recent report on the status of women in the workforce leadership. The report also showed that college-educated black women and men are given fewer full-time employment opportunities since the Great Recession, with 55.9% working in an occupation that did not require a degree, leaving them underemployed with lower wages and college debt.

Ify Walker, of the talent-matching company Offor Walker Group, summed up the challenges unique to women of color in her #DearBlackWomen post on LinkedIn. Her post explained that for us, our job searches will “take longer than is just” the length of our job search due to the pronunciations of our names, the feeling of never being good enough based on interview feedback, and watching people get jobs who are less qualified. Walker’s LinkedIn post reminded me of those times when I walked into offices and watched facial expressions change when they saw that I am a black woman. It reminded me of the multiple times I changed the pitch of my voice and found ways to make sure people were comfortable around me so that I could fit in.

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