I am (hopefully) in my final year at university and the anxiety of what happens next in my life is starting to become somewhat overwhelming. I am in the current and very arduous process of applying for graduate jobs at various, highly competitive, placements. There are only so many things you can do to make yourself stand out from the crowd and so I implore you to think outside, or in the case of this article, inside the box.
As South Asian migrants, sometimes we can overlook the power of being diverse and how that can make us strong applicants for certain jobs. We have a rich culture with unique experiences that have nurtured us into the strong people we are today. All we need to do is show the potential employer that we are more than capable for the job. What experiences am I talking about, you ask? Well, the reality is there are a lot of hardships and challenges that South Asian migrants have to overcome. It ranges from having to be resilient in the face of racism to persevering through learning a second language. All of these fundamental experiences have strengthened us, making us more than valuable assets for ANY organisation.
Companies are desperate for ethnically and linguistically diverse applicants. The days are gone where the white centric organisation is able to succeed in the world by communicating with other white centric organisations. In the ‘Asian Century’, companies must contend with linguistically and ethnically diverse organisations in order to maintain their strategic goals. We have a unique lens on the world and with increasing globalisation, we present the opportunities and solutions to companies looking to branch out internationally. This is the opportunity to highlight how you are able to champion the company’s values through engagement with the South Asian community. Often, Asian societies thrive on having a large social component and heavy reliance on high context relations. This means they emphasise relatability and human connections that companies are often unable to provide. That is where YOU come in. Statistically, western countries value low-context relations where the emphasis is not on the personal relationship but rather the outcome of any business engagement. So, in any job interview, emphasise that you have high context skills because of your background that can strengthen the company’s presence in the international market.
We can forget how the richness of our heritage can be advantageous to our lives. This is a seemingly overlooked advantage. I implore you to explore how your heritage can help you be a more desirable candidate.
Good luck in all your endeavours!
Written by Vinhara Goonesekara. Illustrated by Upeksha Galappaththie