Diversity statements provide applicants an opportunity to explain their commitments and experiences with diversity. They are personal essays (about 1-2 pages in length) that depict past experiences and explain how those have contributed to your personal and professional development. This statement allows applicants to explain their understanding of the barriers faced by under-represented individuals, as well as their own experiences meeting the needs of diverse populations.
Why do employers ask for diversity statements?
It has become more common for employers to request a diversity statement. This document is just as important as the résumé, cover letter, and any other written statement. An employer who requests a diversity statement is most likely committed to inclusivity and supports diverse populations. They may be looking to hire someone who aligns with their values and is committed to diversity as well.
Where should you start?
It may be your first time writing a diversity statement and you may have no idea where to start. Luckily, we have compiled a list of 5 tips to help you get started!
1. Do some background research!
- Terminology – Here are some words to consider learning about before you start writing: diversity, equality, equity, inclusion, social justice. It’s a good idea to become familiar with these words if you aren’t already and think about how you can incorporate them into your statement. There are also many identities to consider referencing or writing about in your statement. They could include (but are not limited to) race, ethnicity, gender identity, gender expression, sexual/romantic orientation, country of origin/citizenship, socioeconomic status, age, ability, and religion.
- Company’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Mission – It is important to learn what is important to the particular company you are applying to and see if you can align your values, or mention that you value what their company is working on in regards to diversity, equity, and inclusion. This information can often be found on the company website, social media, or news outlets.
2. Share your personal story
You can and should use your past experiences to explain how you can best empathize with others who confront challenges. Think about how you have contributed to diversity in your past. Here are some questions to consider: Have you worked with diverse or underrepresented populations? How do you embody diversity? If you have had to overcome obstacles to get to where you are today, don’t be afraid to talk about it. It’s your statement and you want it to be a reflection of who you are and what your character is.
3. Be concrete, use specific examples
Mention specific experiences that have allowed you to contribute to enhancing diversity & inclusion. If you have been involved in any organizations or programs that are committed to diversity, you should talk about your experience. Any rewarding experiences will help strengthen your statement.
4. Connect your personal/professional mission to your diversity statement
Think about how your values relate to your understanding and commitment to diversity. What is most important to you and how does that tie into your statement? Do you value inclusivity and equity? Connecting your diversity statement to your mission will show employers how you are unique and committed.
5. Discuss future plans
What is your plan to contribute to enhancing diversity in the future? How will you enact your values related to diversity and inclusion in your work at the company you are applying for? If you have no past experiences with diversity, here’s where you can dive deep and explain your willingness to contribute to diversity moving forward.
If you have questions about composing a diversity statement, you can schedule an appointment with a career coach to discuss and review!