Are you ready to transition from the military to a civilian job?
The skills you've developed during your service can help you excel in a wide array of civilian roles—the key is showcasing those skills in a way that stands out to recruiters and hiring managers.
To help you do just that, we asked veterans, hiring managers, and recruiters at our partner companies to share their advice on how you can best highlight your experience and transferable skills when applying for jobs. Keep reading for their responses!
Bristol Myers Squibb—Detail out measurable accomplishments
"As a Veteran, you have gained unique and valuable experience that you can present in a way that civilian employers can understand.
- Read through the job description to understand the core capabilities the company is looking for and then translate your military experience and training in a way that will add value to the role you are applying to
- Detail out measurable accomplishments so that they better understand the scope (# of people you supervised, value of inventory you managed, etc.)
- Try and avoid military specific jargon and abbreviations
- Attend job fairs and network."
PagerDuty—Translate military language into more universal terms
"The key is to translate your valuable military experience to a resume that a civilian audience will understand. It's essential to look at the job's skill requirements and build your resume highlighting how your military experience relates. Remember the civilian audience; you want the recruiter and hiring manager to understand your experience - spell out acronyms, translate military language into more universal terms. Highlight your transferable soft skills such as teamwork, problem-solving, and leadership on your resume.
At PagerDuty, veterans can find community within our ERG, PatriotDuty, as their mission is to promote and build military support and presence through recruitment, internal education, and community outreach."
—Yvonne Bosquez, Senior Recruiter/Recruiting Business PartnerLearn more about PagerDuty here.
Meta (formerly the Facebook company)—Use the Military Skills Translator
"We invite veterans to use the Military Skills Translator, a tool used to help navigate all career opportunities at Meta. In partnership with Military.com, we have added in an "Interest" option to help expand career opportunities beyond those that align with military experience to those that align with your passions.
Tips to optimizing the tool:
- Enter in your Branch and Military Job Title.
- Select from a list of Interests.
- Use the civilian skills results to translate your skills on a resume. These skills can also help guide building out a resume and developing points for interview conversations.
Visit www.fb.careers/veterans to learn more."
Learn more about Meta here.
Uber—Start by building your network
"Start by building your network––creating a Linkedin and adding connections––who you can look to when the time comes. Work on your elevator pitch––your story in three minutes––and when describing your experiences, use language anyone can understand to translate your experiences. Think ahead and make a plan about what's really important in the next phase of your career. Do you want to continue to build the relationships and skills that you've been working on or do you want to do something completely different, something that's a passion of yours you haven't had time to pursue yet?"Learn more about Uber here.
Siemens—Showcase your transferable skills in your resume
"Siemens is reengineering the applicant screening process to do away with "screening out" candidates (that aren't qualified) and implementing a "screening in" concept. Veterans can showcase their transferrable skillset in their resume and, if available, a cover letter. Siemens hires Veterans and transitioning Military members with direct and indirect experience into positions, providing training where needed. Performing a job in the military doesn't mean you have to stay in that role as a civilian. Zach, a Navy Helicopter Pilot, was hired into sales and is now a Sales Manager. Siemens' growth culture allows passion and learning to transform your career."Learn more about Siemens here.
Blackrock—Do research to understand the industry you’re interested in
- "Research and network: Understand the industry, identify the role/team you're interested in, align your military experience with BlackRock principles, connect with someone from our extensive Veterans & Allies Network – BlackRock employees are always receptive to others reaching out and asking questions.
- Translate your resume/CV into business terminology to describe your military roles, responsibilities and achievements – but make sure the roles are still recognizable as military ones. In the interview, use the STAR method to highlight challenges you faced and how you overcame them – be specific and try to use plain language.
- Consider gaining qualifications that help you certify the experience and skills you bring across (e.g., project management).
- Don't underestimate how transferable your skills are! The soft skills you developed over your military career will be hugely beneficial to BlackRock.
- Try to enjoy the process; there is nobody here trying to trip you up."
Cummins—Find how your characteristics overlap with the company’s core values
"Cummins Inc. has organized and committed to fulfill our vision of making Cummins a place where veterans are empowered to achieve their full potential.
We believe that the military cultivates integrity, dedication to excellence and service to community in every service member.
Though the specific words may differ, there is no question that these characteristics strongly overlap with our core values.
Providing an engaging, challenging and inclusive workplace for military veterans and their families strengthens our business as a whole and benefits our customers, employees and communities."
Learn more about Cummins here.
Moody’s—Showcase your values in your application and resume
"Moody's recognizes and supports veterans, active-duty military personnel, and military families. Much like the military, Moody's is rooted in core values, which you can learn about by visiting https://about.moodys.io/our-values . When applying, veterans should align their military service values with Moody's by showcasing those values in their application and resume."
Learn more about Moody's here.
Stack Overflow—Articulate your actionable outcomes with details
I believe the most important thing a Veteran can do is articulate where they have had actionable outcomes and experience that correlate to what is required within the duties of the job description regardless of when they performed those duties. Equally, I would use civilian terminology versus military jargon as it pertains to business. Laterally, explain the experience in size, scope, and impact with outcomes both wins and learned opportunities. Describe People, Tools, Technology, and Process. Were you the owner or task manager? Lastly, short bulleted formatting to gain attention and leave the hiring manager to ask questions about your experience.Learn more about Stack Overflow here.
Smartsheet—Only list accomplishments that are relevant to the job you’re applying for
"Have someone who has no military experience read your resume to make sure they understand your experiences and performance. Avoid unnecessary technical military terms, and only list accomplishments that are relevant to the job you're applying for. Reframe your experiences and focus on the characteristics you bring to the table. Things like teamwork, integrity, leadership, and innovation are all desirable traits that the military is known for. You're coming in with incredible work experience and professional success but will approach problems and workflows with a totally fresh perspective—that's not only unique but also valuable."Learn more about Smartsheet here.
Relativity—Articulate how you’d be a valuable member of the organization
"One thing veterans can do when applying to Relativity is highlight their unique skillset. What I found difficult was how to articulate how I'd be a valuable member of the organization. As veterans, we often have a solid amount of training, and our ability to multi-task is severely underrated. Veterans constantly assess situations and focus on multiple, heavily relied upon operations at the same time. In the Army, we've adopted the term "battle buddy." Never forget how important your teamwork skills are. Even though we may not be going into battle, companies have a mission that we can help accomplish."
—Keith Willoughby, Incident Response Analyst
Learn more about Relativity here.
PwC—Bring your passion and ingenuity to work
You've done amazing things - be sure to tell us about them! Teamwork, loyalty, and adaptability are all qualities valued in a PwC Professional; they are also ingrained in those who have served in the military. Whether it was developing your direct reports, executing the mission, or administrating day-to-day operations, your military experience is translatable, valuable, and in high demand. Bring your passion and ingenuity to put your skills to work in new and unexpected ways.Learn more about PwC here.
Intuitive Surgical—Understand why your skills are important
"Don't try to blindly showcase your experience without understanding what you are trying to solve or how you can fit into the organization. Start by asking what the job is, what they are looking for, what the challenges are, WHY those are important?!"
—Sascha Gerber, da Vinci Clinical Sales Manager
"Be confident in the fact that you are likely 5 years older than the civilian candidates interviewing for the same job you are. This means additional life experience, maturity, thoughtfulness, etc. Figure out a way to highlight those qualities!"
—Mark Stepanishen, da Vinci Clinical Sales ManagerLearn more about Intuitive Surgical here.
CHG Healthcare—Connect the dots between your military position and the role you are applying for
"When applying for a job at CHG Healthcare, we feel a military background can bring a broad range of skills and equip veterans with different ways to approach their work. We're interested to learn:
1. How your military experience helped you grow and develop.
2. What you learned about yourself, and how that shaped your approach to work today.
3. What new skills and attributes you developed through your military experience.
4. What are some specific examples of how these skills and attributes have led to successful business outcomes.
Help us connect the dots between your military position and the role you are applying for. The language of the military and business are often different, even when the work or skills are similar. We don't want to overlook something that they've done that could be a differentiator for them."Learn more about CHG Healthcare here.
Okta—Be open to learning and receiving feedback
"As veterans, we've gained valuable experience during our service, and it's essential to present that in a way employers will understand. Translating your military service to ensure the reader understands - that's hard! Try using plain language while articulating the importance of the role you had and quantify results—document training courses to help employers understand the military education you received. Remember, never underestimate your leadership experience and your value. Being open to learning and receiving feedback is a must-have quality employers are looking for, and you had to evolve/adapt to an entirely new career- multiple times! You got this."
—Meghan Gilliam, Senior Scalability Enablement AnalystLearn more about Okta here.
Spectrum—Take advantage of a resume development tool
"Spectrum has a long history of hiring individuals who have a mission-oriented mindset, something that is particularly cultivated during military service. Here are some resources and tips specific to veterans when applying for a role with us:
- Take advantage of a resume development tool to help you align military accomplishments with civilian opportunities.
- Spectrum offers an "Introduce Yourself" video feature that allows you to create a personal video to describe your interests and experience.
- You can also try our FitFinder tool to find your ideal career by answering questions about your interests, styles, background, and career aspirations.
Spectrum has recently been recognized in Forbes "2021 America's Best-In-State Employers for Veterans" for the following states: Colorado, Connecticut, Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina.
Learn more about our Military Hiring Mission in the video above."Learn more about Spectrum here.
S&P Global—Review the job description carefully
Latisha Kimber, Head of Digital Engagement
"Veterans should be sure to highlight their unique and valuable experience, and clearly demonstrate how it can apply to the specific job they are applying to. These candidates will often have developed important competencies like leadership, collaboration, and problem solving that are in demand across many business functions. To stand out, review the job description carefully and identify the key competencies and skills that the role requires. Then tailor your resume to highlight your most relevant experience and how it applies to the open role."Learn more about S&P Global here.
CDW—Show your career progression
"At CDW, we know our veteran coworkers bring core military values that align directly with how we do business, our company code of honor: The CDW Way. Veterans can highlight their experience with commitment, integrity, respect, and making things happen. Additional tips from our recruiters include:
- Show career progression and consolidate listing of ranks where possible.
- Think about the role you are applying for and clearly highlight the relevant experience.
- Translate military occupation and rank into civilian sector titles. Check out our military skills matcher to see how your experience translates directly to roles at CDW.
- Always include your military schooling opportunities and deployments in your resume.
Learn more about one of the many ways we support military and veteran families in the video above."
Learn more about CDW here.
Nike—Let your experience shine
"When you apply to Nike, we want your experience as a Veteran and as dreamers, optimists, and inventors to shine through. Your unique training in the military is crucial for us to continue to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete* in the world. We are invested in your future at Nike because here, we win as a team. As Veterans, you have proven that to complete the mission you can navigate ambiguity and understand how important teamwork is. Your lived experiences of bravery, fear, and inspiration now enable you to bring that same determination and spirit to Nike. "
Learn more at: jobs.nike.com/military
Learn more about Nike here.
Procore—Explain your experience during interviews
"November is Veterans and Military Families Month
Every November, Veterans and Military Families Month is observed in the U.S to honor the sacrifices made by active duty, Guard, and Reserve military families.
At Procore, we're honoring Veterans and their families by creating space to listen, learn, and share resources that meet their unique needs. we're evolving our Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging initiatives, amplifying Veteran voices and transforming Procore into a place where everyone can thrive. We're also providing our recruiters with new resources while training them to ask interview questions that help Veterans identify transferable skills from their service. Read more about how Procore is building a more diverse and inclusive future that's grounded in a shared sense of belonging."Learn more about Procore here.
Founded in 1989, Hispanic Heritage Month begins on September 15 and ends October 15. The four-week span over two calendar months may seem a bit odd, but it comes with good reason, as it covers independence anniversaries of several Latin American countries, as well as key celebrations in Hispanic and Latin communities. Apart from commemorating major holidays and historic milestones, this month honors the cultures and contributions of Hispanic and Latinx Americans.
We asked some of our partner companies what they're doing to honor and celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month at work this year, and we were inspired by the wide range of responses, from highlighting the impact that employees have in local communities to hosting fireside conversations on allyship to sharing performances and instruction of famous cultural dances. Not only are these companies honoring Hispanic Heritage Month, they're finding ways to spread positive change throughout the year. Here's what they're doing, in their own words:
Raytheon Technologies — provide career development opportunities
"Raytheon Technologies is celebrating Hispanic Heritage month with a variety of engagement opportunities. For example, our Employee Resource Group members are creating a series of video stories highlighting the impact that our employees have in giving back to our communities; the impact they have in developing technologies that keep our warfighters safe; and the impact they have by being authentic and engaged. Additionally, we are partnering with LatinaVida to provide employees access to their Rise to the Top Program, a career development opportunity which provides a workshop with guest speakers and reflective practices around key career success factors for advancement."
Learn more about Raytheon Technologies here.
Sun Life — host a panel addressing the impact of the pandemic
"In honor of Hispanic Heritage Awareness Month, Sun Life's Hispanic Organization for Leaders & Achievers (HOLA) will be hosting a number of activities to honor and celebrate Hispanic culture, while also addressing the negative impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on children. Guest speakers include Teri Worthington Coombs from UNICEF, comedian Martha Chavez, and motivational speaker, "The Cuban Guy" Andres Lara.
HOLA provides an enriching environment for members to develop, serve and support the Hispanic/Latino community while aiming to help cultivate an inclusive work environment that allows our members professional growth opportunities in order to reach their highest potential."
Learn more about Sun Life here.
Freddie Mac — Make a positive impact
"At Freddie Mac, we're building on our commitment to DEI by making an impact with our Hispanic Organization for Leadership and Achievement Business Resource Group (HOLA BRG) in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month. The BRG will commemorate the occasion with virtual events and speakers, including:
- A keynote address about the impact of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF) on Hispanic and Latino communities featuring HSF President, Fidel Vargas.
- Fireside chat with National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals board member, Nuria Rivera, who will share her story of the positive cultural impacts that have driven her success."
Learn more about Freddie Mac here.
Riot Games — create authentic representation with notable voice actors
"To celebrate Latinx Heritage Month Riot Unidos, our Latinx ERG, will host a fireside chat with the voice actors for some of Riot's most notable Latinx characters to talk about creating authentic representations, what it's like to be a voice actor and some of their favorite moments from the recording session. The team is also hosting a cooking class in partnership with FAR, our Filipino ERG, to make a Latinx/Filipino fusion dish in honor of both cultural heritage months. Throughout the month, we will also be highlighting the incredible people that work in our Latin American office."
Learn more about Riot Games here.
2U — host bilingual book reading for children and families
"2U's Latino/a/x business resource network,TuGente, is ecstatic to celebrate their second annual Hispanic Heritage Month at 2U, Inc. Our theme for this year is "Juntos," which means "Together." Coming out of 2020, we want to celebrate our culture, our traditions, our language, and show everyone how we overcame every obstacle together. TuGente will be hosting a Fireside Chat with a notable Latinx Leader in Higher Education, dance lessons, a bilingual book reading for children and families, and much more! 2U has cultivated an environment for all Business Resource Networks to thrive and we are honored to host an array of events this year!"
Learn more about 2u here.
MongoDB– create a Slack channel with daily Latinx heritage facts
"MongoDB is celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month through initiatives that raise awareness, foster education and build community. This includes an educational session featuring an employee panel on the Latinx experience in the Tech industry, external-facing content highlighting the experiences of our Latinx employees, a global Slack channel with daily Latinx heritage facts for all employees, and a music and reading playlist curated by members of TUPOC, MongoDB's affinity group for people of color."
Learn more about MongoDB here.
BlackRock — start a matching program for Latinx nonprofits
We're creating an internal hub to provide a centralized system to continue raising awareness and educating allies on key facts about the Latinx population. We will also be launching 2:1 matching programs for nonprofits that support the Latinx community: La Casa del las Madres, Qualitas of Life, UnLocal, Galeo and United We Dream.
We will host moderated fireside chats with Latinx leaders who have broken barriers in their industries and have achieved success to inspire employees to persevere against odds and continue to be innovators and change-makers.
The newsletter will also highlight resources available to members to learn more about changes impacting our community and the organization's diversity, equity and inclusion efforts."
Learn more about BlackRock here.
SoundCloud — highlight artists and music that are having a major impact in Latin culture
"SoundCloud's mission is to give people the power to share and connect through music, no matter their identity. During Latinx Month, SoundCloud will bring to the forefront the Latinx music community of creators & listeners - highlighting artists and scenes that are having a major impact in Latin culture. This includes spotlighting música pa' bailar, contemporary fusion twists on traditional sounds, bars en español, and música pa' relajarse. Our Clouds of Color Diversity Business Group will also create virtual and in-person moments of engagement, from digital trivia and Latinx dance lessons to spotlighting Latinx SoundClouders and Creator journeys.
Our Clouds of Color Diversity Business Group (DRG) is made up of racially diverse SoundClouders and allies. Check out this picture of some members meeting up outdoors over a meal after many months of working remote."
Learn more about SoundCloud here.
Relativity — share the Latino American experience as it relates to family, upbringing, and language
"Relativity Community Resource Group (CRG), Relativity Latinos in Tech (Rel-L.I.T.), is excited to kick off Hispanic Heritage Month a little early by partnering with our mental health CRG, Rel-Mind, to host a safe space chat in September that will touch on feelings surrounding immigration. We recognize this is a sensitive topic, but also know that it is our responsibility as a Community Resource Group to initiate these conversations and create a space for them! In addition, we will be hosting a Culture Collective talk on Tuesday, September 21, where participants will share their stories on the Latino American experience as it relates to family, upbringing, and language. To close, on Monday, October 14, we will be partnering with SHPE to lead a workshop related to career acumen, and we will also be part of a "Lifting LatinX Voices at Work" Virtual Job Fair with PowerToFly on Wednesday, October 22."
– Lourdes Akande – Manager, Deal Desk
Learn more about Relativity here.
ServiceNow — host talks focused on themes of allyship and intersectionality
"To honor Hispanic Heritage Month, ServiceNow is partnering closely with our Latinx at Now Belonging Group to develop programming that will inspire, educate, and engage employees globally. We will have a series of events focused on themes of allyship and intersectionality, which will feature special guest speakers, ServiceNow leaders, and employees in discussion and interactive dialogue. Additionally, employees are encouraged to volunteer with Latinx nonprofits in tandem with our Month of Service."
Learn more about ServiceNow here.
Moody’s — create celebratory Zoom backgrounds in recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month
"Moody's conectaMos (one of our Business Resource Groups) and our DE&I team are sponsoring events focusing on personal brand, climbing the executive ladder, increasing positive Latinx representation in the media, and speed networking. Moody's will also showcase employee profiles, Hispanic cultural traditions, recipes, and recommended cultural book and music lists curated by our employees. We will also share a series of intranet and social media posts and provide our employees with celebratory Zoom backgrounds in recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month."
Learn more about Moody's here.
Uber — hold a career development workshop on unlocking your strengths as Latinx professionals
"Los Ubers will kick off Hispanic Heritage Month 2021 with Dr. Robert Rodriguez who will host a session on unlocking and owning our strengths as Latinx professionals. Other development opportunities include Cafecito, a series of networking events to foster connections with the many talented employees at Uber. We look forward to celebrating with our community and allies with many cultural, creative, and fun events including a live cooking class with Chef Peter Martinez!"
Learn more about Uber here.
Pacific Western Bank — donate to Latinx nonprofit organizations
"At Pacific Western Bank, the PRISM Council, an internal advisory group of colleagues from across the country, will roll out a lineup of initiatives in celebration of Hispanic/Latinx Heritage month, which include:
- Employee led panel (an employee led panel of emerging and established Hispanic/Latinx leaders across PWB)
- Hispanic/Latinx trailblazers (a curated list of Hispanic/Latinx Americans whose influence has touched everything from pop culture to politics)
- Spotlight Series (highlighting our Hispanic/Latinx clients that bank with PWB)
- PRISM Giving Back (the members of PRISM will be donating to a nonprofit organization in honor of Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month)"
Learn more about PacWest here.
AAA — create a family tree with photos of inspirational figures
"AAA NCNU and the Unidos BRG in celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month:
At AAA Northern California, Nevada & Utah, we are proud to celebrate our diverse and inclusive community by highlighting important events. This month, we celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15 in partnership with our Unidos Business Resource Group. During this time, Unidos will host a variety of games, activities and events for all Team Members.
- A keynote speaker who exemplifies the journey of an immigrant into a successful business leader within the Latinx community.
- Highlighting two Unidos Team Members as part of the organization's AAA Proud series that showcases Team Members who are going above and beyond.
- An opportunity for Team Members to learn about the importance of Hispanic Heritage Month by earning points for simple tasks. The Team Member with the most points at the end of the month will be awarded a $50 gift card to donate to their favorite charitable cause.
- Let's celebrate FAMILIA. Everyone is invited to post a photo to the "Family" tree. Share a picture of a relative/anyone who has inspired you, and include a short paragraph as to who they are and why they are special.
- Team Members are encouraged to join a series of career development in partnership with Latina Vida. These seminars are designed to help take your career to the next level."
Learn more about AAA here.
Expedia Group — host a virtual panel on “Powering the Future of Travel as a Latina in Tech”
"This year for Hispanic Heritage Month, Expedia Group will be highlighting programs and stories that can inspire Expedians to follow in their footsteps for a brighter tomorrow. With the theme of "Esperanza: A Celebration of Hispanic Heritage and Hope," we will be featuring the work our employees do in their communities, work that the company has done to improve the Latinx travel experience, and are partnering with Latinas in Tech to host a virtual panel featuring our leaders on "Powering the Future of Travel as a Latina in Tech."
Learn more about Expedia Group here.
Bristol Myers Squibb — hold a movie screening
"This year, the Organization for Latino Achievement (OLA) at BMS focuses on showcasing Hispanic leadership and building a culture of allyship.
OLA will kick out the month with a keynote focused on Latino talent and corporate inclusion and close with a fireside conversation on allyship and sponsorship. Through the month, we will be showcasing Latinx/Hispanic leadership in a panel with BMS's Latino executives and a screening of "In the Heights." In addition, we will further model allyship with two intersectional events: a presentation of BMS's work to address health disparities and a conversation on belonging with BMS's PRIDE Alliance."
Learn more about Bristol Myers Squibb here.
Veracode — host live cooking class on the many shapes empanadas, turnovers, and pastelitos can take in Hispanic culture
"Veracode is honored to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month and promote the history, culture, and contributions of Hispanic-Americans. We have planned a jam-packed month of events including a session with Jennifer De Leon, author of Where are you from? Where are you from-from? Where are you really from? - Jennifer will provide crucial insight into the complex intersection of race, class, and educational issues, dispelling myths and showcasing the diversity of our shared community's experiences. We will also have a trivia, a "Pastelitos for All" live cooking class — on the many shapes empanadas, turnovers, and pastelitos can take in Hispanic culture — and lastly a lunch and learn session on Salsa Dancing. We are thankful to our D&I Team for contributing their ideas and planning these events celebrating our Hispanic Heritage!"
Learn more about Veracode here.
NSA — host a themed poetry contest
"The National Security Agency's Hispanic Latino Employee Resource Group takes the theme of this year's Hispanic Heritage Month of hope, or esperanza, to heart. The ERG hosts a poetry contest where employees submit an original poem connected to the theme of hope. NSA leaders will share personal stories on how hope has driven their lives and their careers during a panel discussion for the workforce. On a lighter note, a Hispanic Heritage Trivia Contest will uncover which agency employees have the best intel on Hispanic and Latin food, sports and more."
Learn more about NSA here.
PagerDuty — host Hispanic Heritage trivia with prizes like gift cards to Latinx owned businesses
"Our ERG Array is celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month with the theme We're Here: Estamos Unidos. Array is a community of Black and Latinx employees at PagerDuty. Some ways we are celebrating include: hosting company wide activities such as trivia, that highlight our Hispanic Heritage and end with prizes like gift cards to Latinx owned businesses. We are also spotlighting our Latinx Dutonians with a virtual Yearbook throughout the month, and sending out swag boxes full of self-care items from Latinx owned businesses to our ERG members. Another event being hosted is called Spill The Tea, which is formatted as an ask me anything conversation with one of our Board members who is a fellow Latinx! At PagerDuty, I really love that we walk the walk when it comes to one of our company values #BringYourself, and that we are committed to diversity and inclusion! I am so proud of being a Latinx Dutonian!"
– Diego Chavira Chow, Administrative Assistant, Engineering & Product.
Learn more about PagerDuty here.
Kensho — provide snackboxes that feature Latinx-owned businesses
"Kensho facilitates an environment of inclusion and continuous learning, and for National Hispanic Heritage Month we're excited to combine the two in a team-building event during our annual All-Hands employee conference. We'll expand our knowledge of Hispanic culture and history with a fun, fast-paced educational trivia competition.
Kenshins will stay fueled with snackboxes that feature Latinx-owned businesses. Each snackbox purchased also makes a contribution to Techqueria—a nonprofit serving Latinx professionals in tech—and donates a meal to Feeding America.
We hope to expand our knowledge and encourage our people to consider the individual impact their decisions can make."
Learn more about Kensho here.
Capco — offer performances and instruction of famous dances
"Capco's Latinx affinity group will be hosting a series of educational and social events to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. Our lineup of events includes a panel discussion on Afro-Latino culture and identity featuring professors from two leading universities as well as a profound author, a Hispanic dance showcase featuring performances and instruction of famous dances, salsa and bachata, plus other opportunities for colleagues to come together to network and learn. Hispanic Heritage Month creates a special opportunity to spread awareness on Hispanic identity, discuss persisting issues within the community, and share the variety and richness of Hispanic culture across the firm."
Learn more about Capco here.
Okta — host a Mezcal & Tequila cocktail class
"POC@Okta Presents: Leading Authentically, A Fireside Chat. This discussion will focus on how to lead authentically, demonstrate whole self leadership, and inspire a values-based approach, specifically through the lens of LatinX leaders.
Airbnb Experience: Mezcal & Tequila Cocktail Class: During this class, we will embark on a Mexican spirits creation journey where we will learn about mezcal, tequila, and other flavors that are culturally significant while concocting cocktails (or mocktails)!
Daily Latinx Community Facts Updates: The LatinX Heritage Month Committee will be sharing daily facts companywide on Slack to facilitate learning about unsung heroes in the LatinX community."
Learn more about Okta here.
Autodesk — participate in external networking events
"The Autodesk LatinX Network is celebrating the Hispanic Heritage Month around the theme of Resilience. We will be hosting a series of virtual events with spotlights on our global site leads and ERG sponsors, weekly posts on our community channels to share the cultural traditions of our network members, a professional development workshop, external networking events, and to wrap up, a fun empanadas virtual cooking class!"
Learn more about Autodesk here.
Nestle USA — play Mexican lotería (Bingo)
"The Nestlé Latino Network (NLN) is one of Nestlé USA's culture-based employee resource groups. Throughout this year's National Hispanic Heritage Month, NLN will celebrate the Latinx and Hispanic culture by hosting 14 unique events from September 15th through October 15th. Events include a fireside chat with Nestlé USA's CMO, Alicia Enciso, on the topic of intersectionality of gender and the Hispanic community, virtual cooking classes with Hispanic flavors, Mexican Lotería, a Zumba class and much more. These activities will not only honor Hispanic heritage, but also encourage greater awareness, learning and understanding of the Hispanic and Latinx communities."
Learn more about Nestle USA here.
CoStar Group — promote empowerment in the Latinx community
"At CoStar Group, our Latinx Network, one of our employee resource groups, will lead our celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month. The Network will sponsor a webinar focused on economic empowerment within the Latinx community. This is aligned with the Network's goal of empowering its members to achieve their career and financial goals. In addition, our Latinx Network will host several community building events with food and drinks that are culturally significant. These events will provide opportunities for colleagues to connect in person and virtually, and celebrate shared cultures and traditions."
Learn more about CoStar Group here.
Audible — host a book club
"Audible's Impact Groups empower employees to bring their whole selves to work. Audible's Latinx/Hispanic Resource group Unidos will be celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month by kicking off their book club series with Karla Cornejo Villaveicenio's The Undocumented Americans.
They'll also be hosting a "Looking Forward" meeting for all members, to discuss plans of continued advocacy, celebration, and support within Audible for 2022 and beyond!"
Learn more about Audible here.
PwC — spotlight Latinx stories on social media
"At PwC, we're building on a culture of belonging through diversity and inclusion, and Hispanic Heritage Month is another opportunity to demonstrate that commitment. PwC social channels will spotlight Latinx PwCers sharing stories from the workplace and their communities, highlighting supportive benefits and inclusive leadership. The PwC US Latino Inclusion Network will host a candid conversation, exploring how to amplify your authentic voice to drive understanding and empathy at scale, with Soledad O'Brien, award-winning documentarian and journalist, and actor John Leguizamo. The Network will also host a cooking demonstration by Mexican chef and 2019 Masterchef México winner Carmen Miranda."
Learn more about PwC here.
Facebook — celebrate Latinx parents pride
"Facebook is honoring and recognizing Latinx and Hispanic Heritage month this year by 'Celebrating Latinx Parents Pride in Facebook Employees Careers'.
Hear from three Latinx employees as they discuss what it means to be Latinx in Tech, what their parents think they do, and how Facebook benefits give employees the flexibility and opportunity to continually put their families first.
Learn more about Facebook here.
MindBody — watch Spanish-language TV shows
"In 2021, the [Hispanic Heritage Month] theme is "Esperanza: A Celebration of Hispanic Heritage and Hope."While official 2021 celebrations have yet to be announced, vaccinated Americans can certainly throw a party of their own. And if you're staying close to home, you can always relax with a good book by a Spanish-language author that takes you into someone else's experience. Make it a point to support Latina-owned businesses. You can even brush up on your own Spanish by listening to these great Spanish-language podcasts and watching these Spanish-language TV shows (La Casa de Papel/Money Heist and Elite will have you hooked!)."
–Excerpt from Oprah Daily article, What is Hispanic Heritage Month– and Who Celebrates It? "
Learn more about MindBody here.
T. Rowe Price — provide PTO for volunteers
"Teach. Learn. Act.
T. Rowe Price's programming, in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, emphasizes action and authenticity. The firm's Latinx Heritage group invited Maria Echaveste to speak at their upcoming signature event. The former U.S. presidential advisor to Bill Clinton and White House Deputy Chief of Staff during the second Clinton administration, Ms. Echaveste will speak on "the importance of taking up space."
In addition, the firm's Day In The Life campaign features Latinx talent and their experiences navigating their careers. T. Rowe Price is encouraging associates to contribute their time and money to organizations uplifting the Latinx community and is providing paid time off and operational support to do so."
Learn more about T. Rowe Price here.
Skedulo — curate a collection of quotes by famous Hispanics
"At Skedulo, we are honoring Hispanic Heritage Month globally through a variety of events which will highlight the diversity of cultures within Latinx and Hispanic communities. Our events include: virtual, instructor-led Cumbia and Salsa dance sessions with a brief history of each dance, Hispanic-American trivia, a Lotería session (described as Mexican bingo), and Weekly Wonders (a curated collection of quotes by famous Hispanics, with information about each historical figure). Through these events, we will promote greater understanding of this month with engagement, education, and support for our Latinx and Hispanic communities."
Learn more about Skedulo here.
Lockheed Martin — support youth in local communities
"In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, Lockheed Martin will be hosting a variety of events highlighting the influence, importance, and education of Hispanic Heritage. Through our business resource group, Hispanic Organization for Leadership and Awareness (HOLA) employees will learn historical and cultural information, family recipes and so much more in two special edition newsletters, engage with fellow employees and leadership through culture-inspired events such as cook-offs, recipe exchanges, trivia night and will host an event to support the youth in local communities."
Learn more about Lockheed Martin here.
You're perfectly qualified, you've arrived on time, and you're ready for your technical interview. What could possibly go wrong?
Technical interviews can be a mind wracking experience for job seekers. Everyone makes mistakes, but according to interviewers, candidates for tech positions are prone to a number of common interview blunders. To avoid them, it's helpful to know what they are.
Keep reading to see what our partner companies had to say about the most common mistakes interviewees make during tech interviews (and what to do instead).
Not asking clarifying questions - Facebook
"The mistake: Not asking clarifying questions.
What to do instead: Instead of jumping into coding immediately after being presented with a problem, ask clarifying questions to ensure you've understood the problem correctly before you begin building a solution. For example, you may want to understand input requirements or ask about edge cases. When you do begin to code, think out loud as you go—and keep asking questions. Hearing your thought process helps give your interviewer insight into your problem-solving skills and can provide opportunities for them to offer additional points of clarification or share hints, if needed."
Learn more about Facebook here.
Making assumptions without calling them out - Uber
"Making assumptions without calling them out and jumping into a solution without asking questions or calling out your approach. It's important to take things slow and help us really understand how you think through problems. So make sure that you really understand the question that's being asked by your interviewer. That you ask clarifying questions. And that call out your approach."
Learn more about Uber here.
Not explaining your thought process - Def Method
"For me, the most frustrating thing an interviewee can do is not explain their thought process to me. As an interviewer I want to see how someone approaches problems in general so I can decide how successful they will be at solving different problems. When I ask a question and get an answer without hearing how the interviewee arrived at it, I cannot extrapolate on their problem-solving abilities. An interviewee should show me their thought process—explain their thinking so I can decide how well they will be able to apply those skills as an employee."
Learn more about Def Method here.
Not saying "I don't know" - Clyde
"A common mistake that we see is candidates not knowing an answer to a question and making up fake technical answers, spitballing at length, or just remaining quiet. It's much better for you to say "I don't know" and talk through the process that you would use to figure out the answer. A part of the interview is understanding how someone works through a problem they haven't seen before, if you have a good process for figuring the answer out, that's often enough to pass. Even if you know the answer, talk us through your process!"
–Josh and Josh
Learn more about Clyde here.
Not explaining how you got to your answer - Automattic
"Being so focused on the answer that they don't explain how they got there. Explaining their thought process in detail helps us determine how they approach problems. As a result, it's important to "think out loud," and ask for more context if needed. The problems we solve at Automattic are so varied and unique that we care less about someone's answer to a specific question, and more about how they approach it. Knowing that lets us evaluate if their problem-solving process is robust enough for us to feel confident that they could solve anything that comes their way."
–Jerry Jones, Hiring Expert
Learn more about Automattic here.
Not asking clarifying questions from go - Kensho
"One of the simplest mistakes you can make during a technical interview is to not ask clarifying questions early or check in regularly. Remember that the interviewer wants you to succeed, but cannot read your mind. If you don't understand the question, become stuck, or feel like you may be veering off course, it's time to check in! Explaining your thought process opens a dialogue between yourself and the interviewer, and you may even discover the solution just by saying what you're thinking (see "rubber duck debugging")."
Learn more about Kensho here.
Not discussing your specific contributions - LogMeIn
"Developing software at scale requires a team effort. Throughout each step of the SDLC, each team member provides individual contributions of various scope and complexity. From Planning, Analysis and Design to Implementation, Testing/Integration and Maintenance, each individual contribution is important to overall outcomes. Too often, candidates answer interview questions in terms of the team's contributions, (e.g., "we did X"). Oftentimes, post-interview feedback cites a candidate's answers being too general or vague. This leads to skepticism. I advise candidates prepare to discuss their specific contributions within the context of overall outcomes, (Incl., SDLC steps, role within team, deliverables, impacts, lessons-learned, etc.)."
–Ryan Jane, Principal Talent Acquisition Partner
Learn more about LogMeIn here.
Not doing your homework on the company - Waters
"In our industry, we're used to seeing a multitude of acronyms and initialisms used in an interview. To demonstrate your knowledge and experience it's always best to talk through a brief summary – that can be very impactful.
Even though we are interviewing people for their technical capabilities, we still want to see that they are prepared and know about the company. As tempting as it may be to read the website whilst on a virtual interview, being prepared in advance and able to describe in your own words gives a much better impression of your research and interest."
Learn more about Waters here.
Miscommunication - Afterpay
"I think one of the most inhibiting mistakes interviewees make is miscommunication. Even though for the one hour we are sitting at different sides of the table, I see you as my potential future teammate. I'm not here to judge but to understand your thinking process and work out a solution together. Asking questions when you are in doubt and letting the interviewer know your thoughts and concerns is very important. Having different opinions with an open mind to suggestions is totally fine. "
–Greta Shi, Senior Software Engineer
Learn more about Afterpay here.
Not clearly stating which programming language you're comfortable with live coding in - Mural
"Not showing up to the interview is always #1
#2 is related to candidates not making clear which programming language they are comfortable with for live coding during the interview.
And finally, #3. Candidates not making sure they have a suitable environment (laptop with camera, text editor, tools, etc) for the interview.
So remember to show up on time, be honest with your interviewer and test your environment before joining!"
Learn more about Mural here.
Being unprepared to discuss examples of your technical expertise - Bristol Myers Squibb
"One of the most frustrating mistake that interviewee's make is that they do not come prepared to explain their technical experience/ projects with examples.
Interviewees must come prepared with the following:
- Thoroughly read the job description.
- Be prepared to explain your experience as it relates to the job.
- Always share examples.
- Explain and share details of your experience on an application.
- Communicate effectively, be explicit and to the point (articulate).
- Do not be afraid or shy away from accepting, if you do not know the answer. (no one knows it all)
- Read about the company to understand cultural fit, display skills including how you do Time Management, Organizational skills, Trouble-shooting approach, and Interpersonal skills.
- Come prepared to ask questions."
Learn more about Bristol Myers Squibb here.
Not tailoring your experience to the role you're applying to - Clarus Commerce
"The biggest mistake all interviewees make is not tailoring their experiences to the job they're applying to. My advice for your interview prep is to rely on the job description. Go line by line and jot down the experiences you have that align with what the job description is asking for. Make it obvious for the interviewer why you'd be best for the position. Be sure to share your experience using the Company's tech stack with examples as the 'proof behind your responses'. Be prepared, be excited, and ask questions!"
Learn more about Clarus Commerce here.
Answering a question you don't fully understand - Collins Aerospace
"One of the biggest opportunities for mistakes comes from trying to answer a question you don't fully understand. Don't assume– ask clarifying questions so you know what's expected. Also, be concise so there will be time for follow-up questions and conversation."
Learn more about Collins Aerospacehere.
Not taking a collaborative approach - Netskope
"Certain technical interviews are structured to intentionally be open-ended to invite questions and a deeper discussion between interviewer and candidate. Although candidates have the right background, some may not be used to collaborating in solution design and explaining their thought processes, thus leading to a roadblock. Without the explanation of a thought process, it's difficult for the interviewer to guide the candidate and evaluate their analytical skills and strengths.
Instead, candidates should take a collaborative approach and seek feedback as they work toward a solution. Selecting a challenging problem and solving it with a friend by thinking aloud and collaborating could be useful practice in preparation for the interview"
–Mohan Doraiswamy, Sr. Manager, Engineering
Learn more about Netskope here.
Rushing into problem-solving mode - SeatGeek
"One of the frustrating mistakes I see candidates make during technical interviews is when they dive into solving the prompt without taking some time to size up and digest the question. Oftentimes, a candidate's first instinct is not the most optimal, which poses more of a challenge when they must backtrack, and ask retrospective questions to change their solution.
My best advice here is to first pause, review your resources, and ask clarifying questions before you start writing code. The way you think through a problem and work towards a solution can be just as important as the solution itself!"
–Josh Mordkoff, Senior Technical Recruiter
Learn more about SeatGeek here.
Not articulating your thought process - MongoDB
"During a technical interview, focus on verbally communicating your thought process. This could show that you approach a problem in a new and unique way. At MongoDB, we highly value diversity of thought, different backgrounds and sets of experiences, as well as different perspectives on how to approach solving problems. Adding another perspective to solving the questions we face will only help us build better products for our customers."
–Jason Gorsky, Manager, Technical Recruiting
Learn more about MongoDB here.
Not testing out equipment ahead of time - GameChanger
"One of the more frustrating mistakes interviewees make during technical interviews is not testing out equipment ahead of time. As more companies move to remote work, most, if not all, interviews are taking place over tools like Zoom, Google Meet, or Microsoft Teams. Making sure ahead of time that your computer is able to run these applications without technical issues goes a long way in showing us that you're prepared. The last thing an interviewer wants is to spend the first 15 minutes dealing with technical difficulties because now it delays getting to know you more."
Learn more about GameChanger here.
Not providing applicable examples - CAPCO
"Tips to Bring into an Interview:
Carly Finnegan, Technical Recruiters says:
- Do research on the company where you're interviewing and come prepared with at least 2 questions
- Be able to explain, or give an example of, a project that you were on, the importance of the project and how you worked with other members of your team (i.e. developers, QA, Scrum Masters, Tech BA's, etc.)
Craig Jackson, Tech Recruiter says:
- Be able to articulate technical experience and provide an applicable example of when and how tech was used
- Be able to articulate what your individual contribution has been (not TEAM's contributions)
Matt Markham, Partner in the Technology Domain
- Demonstrate awareness of HOW things are meant to work instead of merely providing the code / answer
- Show problem solving ability
Ken Pritchard, Principal Consultant, Technology
- A big mistake many technical interviewees make is trying to dive right into a solution when given a technical problem to solve. Taking the time to ask some clarifying questions not only leads to a better solution, but also more clearly demonstrates higher level thinking."
Learn more about CAPCO here.
Overexplaining responses - Autodesk
"Avoid overexplaining your responses. Keeping your answers clear and concise will show that you have a strong understanding of what you're describing. Try to remember that if your recruiter wants more detail, they will ask for it. Next, avoid exaggerating your skillset. Recruiters would much rather take a chance on a candidate who is willing to learn than one who can't demonstrate a skill they claimed to have. Finally, be able to explain your thought process behind any decisions you have had to make. Doing this, even in failure, can show how you learn and adapt."
Learn more about Autodesk here.
Developing a solution without communicating your thought process - Guru
"In technical pair programming interviews, the biggest frustration I have is candidates developing their solution without communicating their thought process. Regardless of whether the code works or not, this makes it more challenging to gauge the candidate's technical aptitude, problem-solving skills, and reception to feedback. Instead, I suggest interviewees think out loud as much as possible. Consider rereading the problem statement and validating the requirements, asking clarifying questions, vocalizing potential approaches, explaining tradeoffs while coding, and sharing ideas on optimization. This may not come naturally at first, but practice makes perfect!"
–Maggie Lin, Back End Software Engineer
Learn more about Guru here.
Giving answers that are too short - PagerDuty
"Sometimes candidates make the mistake of giving one or two word answers to questions in the recruiter screen. That makes it tough to make a case to the hiring manager about why they would want to hire you.
Successful candidates prepare. Learn about the company and the role. Ask about the interview process and what you should expect. Communicate why you would want to work here.
Remember, an interview is a conversation! As a recruiter, I love when candidates display enthusiasm about PagerDuty and have researched it."
–Dick Hartshorne, Lead Recruiting Business Partner
Learn more about PagerDuty here.
Responding without thinking - Healthfirst
"One of the biggest mistakes interviewees make is not answering the question. They try to respond immediately without taking the time to tell their story in a succinct way. This can lead to a few things: a rambling, long-winded answer; a confused recruiter; and/ or an unanswered question.
Instead, take a deep breath, gather your thoughts, and answer using the STAR (Situation – Task – Action – Result) method. Describe the situation, explain the task you had to complete, describe the action(s) you took to complete the task, and describe the results of your efforts."
Learn more about Healthfirst here.
Not voicing your thought process - BlackRock
"No one knows everything, so you don't have to act like it. Interviewees should be genuine and honest. That means voicing your thought process, even if you're still coming up with a better solution.
As a technologist at BlackRock, the challenges you'll tackle will be complex and the impact you'll have will be vast – you'll help move markets, build economies and support the retirement of millions of people around the globe. To best serve our clients, we need people with diverse perspectives, talents and ways of thinking.
That's why demonstrating what you know and how you think is way more important than the "right" answer."
Learn more about BlackRock here.
Trying to bluff your way through the interview - Elastic
"The psychology around not saying "I don't know" is that we as humans don't like to say that about anything, ever. It shows weakness. But it can take strength to demonstrate weakness, and such an admission is often viewed in a positive light. I don't think most candidates realize this though, and try to bluff their way through instead. This typically leads to long-winded answers that go nowhere. On those occasions when candidates ask for advice, I try to coach them to not be afraid to own up to when they don't know something."
–Tucker Wolfe, Recruiter
Learn more about Elastic here.
Not asking for pre-interview guidance - Procore
"There are three frequent mistakes that many candidates make during their technical coding interviews.
First, candidates generally jump straight into coding before understanding the problem holistically. Similar to how we build products at Procore, coding challenges are designed to build from one section to the next, so it's important to understand the entire problem as presented, not just the first section. We see candidates lose valuable time as they progress through a challenge if they have to continually go back and rewrite code to make future sections work.
Secondly, candidates tend to be more 'heads down' while coding. Communication is key during a coding challenge—this will allow an interviewer to understand a candidate's thought process to help steer them in the right direction if needed. Procore is a highly collaborative environment where teams across the company work together to design and develop best-in-class software solutions successfully. Open lines of communication are both appreciated and required for success within our Product & Technology organization.
Lastly, and the most important—ask your recruiter for pre-interview guidance to help prepare for the interview! We are your biggest ally internally and want to ensure you're prepped with resources, tips, and insights that empower you to have a confident and successful interview."
–Garrett Wilson, Staff Technical Recruiter
Learn more about Procore here.
Not clarifying your thoughts before analyzing your code - VTS
"At VTS, we focus on pair programming for technical challenges and the number one mistake we see is candidates not sharing their thought process. Not only do we want to see how interviewees collaborate with members of our team, but it makes it difficult for the interviewers to help remove blockers or make suggestions when they don't know where or why you are getting stuck. Also, ask questions! The earlier you clarify your thoughts, the easier it is to plan and analyze your code."
Learn more about VTS here.
Not preparing for behavioral interview questions - Unstoppable Domains
"One frustrating mistake that many interviewees make is not preparing for behavioral interview questions and not clearly or concisely communicating the depth of their technical experience. Almost all companies ask behavioral questions, but many candidates feel blindsided by these. Before the interview, we recommend reflecting on your biggest achievements and areas of opportunity over the last 5 years, then rehearsing answers in the STAR format - Situation, Task, Action, and Result. Be specific. Why were those achievements important? What was the measurable impact? What did you learn as a result? It's not just about knowing the programming language, it's about being able to discuss real-life situations and how you were able to problem solve, collaborate, and add value. Bonus points if you research the company mission, values and tech stack beforehand so that you can tailor your response to each company."
Learn more about Unstoppable Domains here.
Not familiarizing yourself with the product - Smartsheet
"Many interviewees don't take the time to familiarize themselves with the Smartsheet product before their interview. Aside from reflecting poorly on their interest in our company, it makes it harder for them to understand where technical questions are coming from and then answer appropriately. Establishing even a basic understanding of our product gives candidates valuable context when thinking through responses to our questions (and asking meaningful questions of their own!). Our website is a great first stop, or candidates can even sign up for a free trial account to try out the product for themselves."
Learn more about Smartsheet here.
Weak communication - Veracode
"One of the most common mistakes interviewees make during a technical interview is having long-winded answers which can take time away from additional questions the interviewer may have. If you recognize this in yourself, practice breathing between sentences, or jot down some key points you want to share to reference during the interview. Strong communication begins with being an active listener then giving an answer that is clearly articulated, confident, and shows empathy. If you worry about being not detailed enough, remember the interview can always ask you to elaborate further. Demonstrating these communication skills during an interview will put your candidacy on the top of the list, as technical hiring managers are always seeking strong communicators on their teams."
Learn more about Veracode here.
Advice from Bristol Myers Squibb Executive Director Antonia Russell
If you ask Antonia Russell to pinpoint where exactly she gets her determination from, she'd probably credit her grandparents, who emigrated to the U.S. with a sixth-grade education and built successful lives for themselves, and her father, who encouraged his three daughters to be independent and not feel boxed in by society's expectations for women.
Antonia internalized her father's advice at an early age, opting to study computer science in high school instead of the secretarial classes the school expected female students to take. She fell in love with computers and went on to study computer science and mathematics at Rutgers, where she also played D1 tennis. She then went on to earn an advanced degree in Engineering at Lehigh University. As she started her career, she continued to defy expectations, pushing back against the common assumption at the time that women would leave the workforce after getting married.
Now the Executive Director of Global Risk Management for biopharmaceutical company Bristol Myers Squibb, Antonia sat down with us to talk about what it's like being a member of an out-group at work, how sheer individual determination isn't enough to create truly inclusive workplaces, and what leaders can do to make everyone feel welcome.
Odd one out
The terminology of in-groups and out-groups comes from social psychology and refers to people's tendency to gather with others who seem like them (and to leave out others who don't). That us-versus-them dynamic can be extremely harmful (in the case of white supremacists) or relatively benign (in the case of rival football fans on game day). At work, women, Black people, LBTQ+ individuals, and others are often part of out-groups, and even if their peers and managers aren't actively aware of treating them any differently, they often have very different work experiences from those in the in-group.
Antonia's used to that feeling. She says that as the only woman in her computer science program at Rutgers, she learned to focus on her work and not on the fact that no one in her classes looked like her. "I was always a bit competitive, so I said, 'Wait, I can do this,'" she says.
As she entered the workforce, she kept noticing that nagging feeling of not belonging. It would come up in small ways, like an early manager sitting her down and earnestly telling her, "'If you want to advance as a senior leader here, you need to think about dressing differently.' I looked at him and he was dressed the exact same way I was dressed," remembers Antonia.
That pervasive exclusion led Antonia to not tell anyone at work she was pregnant until she was well past the six-month mark. "I was afraid of what was going to happen," she says. "That's not a reflection on the company. It's just a reflection on the time."
Even so, that constant stress took a toll. "I know now that feeling like part of the out-group creates physical pain. It actually takes up space in your brain and preoccupies your energy, almost like being sick," says Antonia, referencing neuroscience research like this recent Science article.
As Antonia moved up in her career and started taking on bigger and bigger management roles, she dug into the science around inclusion and in-groups and out-groups. It helped her make sense of what she'd experienced throughout her career—and it also helped her determine what kind of leader she wanted to be. "It validated all these years of how I was actually feeling, and that validation was a breakthrough," she says. "It empowered me to say, 'Okay, well, I have unconscious bias as well. How can I include people intentionally and not accidentally exclude them?' It made me more compassionate and understanding of others."
Finding her fit
A lot of Antonia's work to feel more included and be a more inclusive leader was self-directed. She combed through the NeuroLeadership Institute's materials and decided to start putting herself forward for opportunities and proactively asking to network with in-group members.
But she still wanted to be working at an organization that made that work easier and expected it of all its leaders, not just the ones who self-selected into it. "The turning point for me was when I joined BMS," explains Antonia of finding a culture that systematically worked to include everyone. "I really saw the commitment, the investment, the talk and the walk of being able to be our authentic selves and helping others along in the journey."
She cites BMS's social justice programs and ongoing trainings for managers and staff as examples of that. "Starting the conversation creates an environment where it's safe to express opinions and experiences, with a framework that's constructive," she says.
For Antonia, BMS's open and encouraging culture has transferred to remote work, too. She notes that senior leaders have all changed their profile pictures to be more casual and more representative of their current day-to-days—like showing off their beard-in-progress or not appearing perfectly coiffed—and that expectations are that everyone shows up however best works for them.
"In fact, I wore this to a meeting the other day," says Antonia, gesturing at her top, "and it's just an orange sweater. Somebody joked to me, 'Why are you so dressed up?'" Antonia laughs, then continues: "It's really substance over form. It's a healthy environment where people can thrive."
What individuals and leaders can do to promote inclusion at work
As an executive director, Antonia oversees several BMS teams. She knows there are certain things individual employees can do to advocate for themselves at work.
Here are her top tips for PowerToFly readers who are individual contributors:
1) "Recognize if you're missing information or relationships to do your job." If you're not invited into those conversations, lean in through your job responsibilities and ask." Antonia gives the example of taking on a new responsibility recently of overseeing BMS's digital therapeutics delivery and proactively asking if she could join that team's weekly forum to get up to speed. "I could've sat back and said, 'Well, nobody's invited me.' Don't act like a victim," she says.
2) "Have an honest conversation with yourself about the environments you feel safe in and the ones you don't. If you feel like you aren't being recognized, like you're falling behind, or like you're being bypassed for opportunities, that's an indicator that this may not be the right environment for you. Have a conversation with your boss or HR and see if you can turn it around."
3) "If over time you continue to experience the same toxic feeling, it's time for a change." Antonia calls this "leaning to the side" as opposed to "leaning in": "Recognize you're being wronged and say, 'Okay, I'm going to let that go, and I'm going to put my energy in a situation that is more amenable to how I can thrive.'" She recommends looking for a new role within your company or, if you think that's not far enough away from the toxic behavior, at a new organization.
But as vital as those tips are for individual employees to enact, Antonia knows that the real responsibility—and real opportunity—for creating safe and inclusive workplaces falls to managers and other leaders.
Here's what she recommends those leaders do:
1) "Educate yourself on inclusive habits." She cites the problems associated with certain boys'-club ways of thinking about building relationships work, whether that's doing team building in a way influenced by unconscious biases (like not inviting women to after-work drinks) or expecting everyone else to engage in the same way that you do (such as being an extrovert who loves big brainstorming sessions). Start by signing up for anti-bias training if your work offers it, or advocating for it if it doesn't.
2) "Lift up every voice without making them feel uncomfortable." For Antonia, that's meant providing various avenues for employees to present work to her, from scheduling one-on-one meetings to giving ample notice before expecting a team presentation.
3) "Understand that 'We need to get this done by Friday' doesn't work for everybody." Instead, try experimenting with flexible working hours or deadlines. "Create a safe environment where [individuals] are aware that you want to listen. Be patient to work through situations and come up with solutions," she says.
If you're interested in learning more about BMS or seeing their open roles, visit their PowerToFly employer profile.