Students of Color

The Career Center strives to be a welcoming center for all students. We are committed to fostering an inclusive environment for our students of color and supporting their career development needs.

We acknowledge that the term ‘students or people of color’ is a reference used in the United States and Canada when addressing students who self-identify or are identified as Black/African American, Asian/Asian American/Pacific Islander, Native American/Alaska, Native/Indigenous, Chicano/Latina/o/x, Arab/Arab American, or multiracial. 

The information on these pages provides advice based on race and ethnicity. We recognize that there is intersectionality in our identities and encourage you to explore the information on all of the pages that are relevant to your background.

While we make no assumptions on the challenges that every student or alum of color have faced or will encounter, we acknowledge that challenges exist. We are committed to teaching you how to build social and cultural capital, and to boosting your cultural competencies.

Being the only person of color in a predominantly White organization could be isolating and stressful. We can support you as you process these feelings and share resources to help you build connections and community.

Workplace discrimination exists, and while we do not offer legal advice, we are here if you would like to discuss your options.

Inequities exist for people of color regarding pay, especially for women of color. We teach salary negotiation strategies and will coach you on how to approach salary discrepancies with your supervisor and/or hiring manager.

Job search strategies when you don’t check all the boxes can be intimidating. We’ll assist you in developing your resume, cover letter, LinkedIn profile, and interviewing and networking skills to help bridge the gap.

Get Connected

As you build your career competencies for the workforce, we encourage you to get connected in the following ways:

  • Engage in experiential learning by building relationships with our Career Communities
  • Build your network through the job shadowing program and connect with alumni from multiple communities
  • Connect with a mentor through the RAMP program
  • Learn about internship opportunities and job openings via Handshake
  • Learn about fellowships on campus
  • Build your resume by highlighting the projects you complete through your coursework, student clubs, and community programs

Apply for on-campus work-study and non–work study jobs (tutor, resident assistant, orientation leader, career ambassador, etc.)

Highlight Your Background

As a person of color, you bring value to the workforce. Your background brings experiences and perspectives that add value to organizations.

You have multiple avenues to show an employer how your identity or point of view might be of benefit. Here are some examples of how you might discuss your identity in the job or internship search process: 

  • Resume: Reflect on your academic and professional experiences. Were you a member of a minority professional organization or student club? Did you conduct research/write papers/complete projects that could add value to the job or employer needs?
  • Cover letter: Based on your previous reflection, you can explain how your identity or multicultural engagements can be an asset for the role or organization you are interested in.
  • Interview: The interview stage is an opportunity to use relevant examples to make connections. It is also an opportunity to learn about the organization’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, or explain your desire to work for an organization that values diversity.

Evaluate Employers On Whether They Honor Diversity

To find out if an employer has created an inclusive work environment, consider some of these questions:

  • Is the organization on Diversity Inc.’s Top 50 or other national lists for their diversity policies and programs? What are the criteria for making the list?
  • Can you find a diversity and inclusion philosophy, mission, or policy on their website?
  • Are there any programs or resources for employees focused on issues of concern or for specific groups? (For example, Marriott’s Diversity and Inclusion Councils)
  • What do others (e.g. peers, alumni, current employees) say about the organizational culture? (Keep in mind that every opinion, good or bad, may come with some amount of bias. See below for resources to help you find and connect with people at organizations you’re interested in.)
  • Do the organization’s job postings contain language that reflects diversity and inclusivity?

While we encourage you to use these tips to evaluate a company, we also acknowledge that some small organizations may not have the resources that large organizations highlighted in the tips mentioned above. In addition, some organizations are in the early stages of building a diverse workforce; this is a great time to build connections with employees, and ask questions during the interview to learn if the company is serious about diversity, equity, and inclusion before you decide to join it.

Connect With Alums and Other Professionals of Color

People of color who identify similarly to you are very likely already doing the jobs you want to do, for the companies you want to work for. They have gone through what you are now about to go through and have accumulated wisdom about what it takes to thrive in the professional world. You can learn from the experience of those who have come before. But how do you find them? And when you do find them, how do you connect with them? 

Start by asking friends, family members, professors, and classmates if they know people they can connect you with. And don’t be afraid to reach out to people you find through LinkedIn and social media, even if you haven’t met them before! Check out our sample email that you can adapt when contacting potential connections.

  • Alums: The Alumni Career Network allows you to connect with Rams in different regions of the U.S. and with diverse affinities. You will find thousands of alums with similar interests and skills as you at Find Suffolk Alumni on LinkedIn. In addition, alums come to campus to meet students like you at networking events throughout the academic year. Check your event calendars regularly to stay on top of what’s happening on campus during the year.
  • Professional Associations and Affinity Groups: Most professional associations offer student memberships at a discount, and memberships usually come with access to speaker events, job fairs, etc. You can search for professional associations using the Directory of Associations. Some are specific to certain cultural groups while others will have diversity divisions. Employers may also organize affinity groups for their employees in order to provide a space for business and social inclusion.
  • Mentoring: If you form a strong connection with someone, such as an alumna/us/x or other professional, you may consider asking that individual to be your mentor. Read these tips on choosing a mentor.

What to do if you encounter challenges finding people of color in your areas of interest
Use the same strategies mentioned above with people in the field who you may have other connections to (for instance, someone who went to the same school, grew up in the same town, has an affinity for the same sport). You may be surprised by the connection you build with someone who cares. While their lived experience may not be the same as yours, you have the opportunity to grow your social and multicultural capital.

Unique Concerns That Students and Alums of Color Have Include:

  • How to deal with unconscious bias and stereotyping (implicit bias) throughout their career journeys.
    • Dealing with bias, whether conscious or unconscious, is never easy. While the Career Center is here to support you, we also encourage you to connect with the Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion (CSDI)and empower yourself through the trainings they offer.
  • Expectations with respect to hair and presentation at work.
    • In recent years we have seen workplaces adjust their policies and states change laws (e.g. Crown Act in California). We encourage and support advocating for yourself at work and reporting discrimination if it occurs. While advocating for yourself, you may experience pushback. The Career Center is here to support you if you would like to practice and explore options.
  • Being the only or one of a few person(s) of color.
    • Being the only person of color in a predominantly White organization could be isolating and stressful. We can support you as you process these feelings and share resources to help you build connections and community.
  • Shifting the language you use or the ways you express yourself in your conversations.
    • We bring the issue of codeswitching to your awareness not as a tool to change who you are in the workplace or unfamiliar environments, but as an issue that people of color have experienced. It is important to research the organization and use evaluation strategies to learn about workplace culture. While codeswitching is not specific to work, it helps to know if the organization has inclusive practices.

How To Handle Workplace Discrimination

Workforce discrimination occurs in many different ways. There are federal laws that prohibit discrimination against individuals on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, disability, pregnancy, and age. Employers are responsible for complying with the law, but you are responsible for making sure you know and protect your rights.

Illegal Interview Questions
Did you know that it is against the law for employers to ask you certain questions in a job interview? To learn more about what topics are off-limits and what to do if you are asked about them, see the guide by Imdiversity.com-illegal-job-interview-questions-and-how-to-respond-to-them/ and Thebalancecareers.com/how-to-answer-inappropriate-interview-questions.

Discrimination in the workplace
If you experience discrimination once you have started a job, here are some tips and information about dealing with employment discrimination. You are also welcome to reach out to the director of career equity and access for support and inquiries.

Suffolk University-Policy and Grievance Procedures

Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion- Provides individual support, mentoring, referrals, and education to foster a welcoming, safe, and inclusive environment for all students—giving special attention to historically marginalized students and their allies.

Scholarships And Fellowships For Students Of Color

  • INROADS - The mission of INROADS is to develop and place talented minority young people in business and industry and prepare them for corporate and community leadership.
  • Lagrant Foundation - This foundation seeks to enhance the academic and professional development of undergraduate and graduate ethnic minority students pursuing careers in advertising, marketing, and public relations by providing scholarships, career and professional development workshops, mentors, and internships.
  • SEO - SEO’s mission is to place underrepresented students of color in paid summer internships in the banking, private equity, corporate leadership, law, nonprofit, and other business sectors. Students receive competitive pay, rigorous training, support through mentors, and broad access to full-time professionals and industry leaders.
  • The Getty Foundation Multicultural Undergraduate Internship - The Getty Foundation aims to encourage greater diversity in the professions related to museums and the visual arts. The program provides funding for internships at cultural organizations across Los Angeles.
  • T. Howard Foundation - The T. Howard Foundation is an internship program for minority students interested in the multimedia and entertainment industry. In addition to a full-time paid summer internship, it also provides interns with networking opportunities, professional development training, scholarships, and mentors.
  • United States National Park Service - The Cultural Resources Diversity Internship Program provides a career exploration opportunity for diverse undergraduate and graduate students ages 18–25 in historic preservation/cultural resources work. The program places interns with National Park Service park units and administrative offices, other federal agencies, state historic preservation offices, local governments, and private organizations.
  • SUFFOLK UNIVERSITY BLACK ALUMNI NETWORK- In 2021, SUBAN launched its first scholarship fund for students and will continue to do so as funding allows. View for additional information.

Resources For Students Of Color

Resources below are grouped by racial categories. If you have questions, please reach out to the Career Center.  

Asian/Asian American/Pacific Islander

Job Search And Networking Tools

Professional Associations

Black/African American

Job Search And Networking Tools

Professional Associations

Hispanic/Latinx

Job Search And Networking Tools

Professional Associations

Indigenous/Native American

Job Search And Networking Tools

  • Native American Professional Organizations – List of 21 organizations and professional associations serving the Native American community
  • Indian Country Today – Newsmagazine that covers topics pertinent to Native Americans and hosts a job search database via its classified section 
  • National Congress of American Indians – List of job opportunities submitted by employers that are American Indian, Native Hawaiian, or Alaska Native businesses, governments, or organizations, and by organizations seeking Native American applicants
  • Native American Jobs – Job search database for Native American job seekers, including Tribal and Non-Tribal companies across the nation
  • Tribal College Journal of American Indian Higher Education – Magazine for Native Americans in higher education which includes a job board
  • Indian College Fund   – Offers online resources, scholarships, and information about a wide variety of topics including jobs and opportunities
  • Nativeweb.com – Connects the Indigenous community through telecommunications and computer science 

Professional Associations

Additional Multicultural Resources

  • IMDiversity.com—a career and self-development site devoted to serving the cultural and career-related needs of all minorities
  • INSIGHT Into Diversity—one of the most recognized resources for equal opportunity employers seeking to add diverse, qualified candidates to their workforce, featuring job postings for positions in academia, business, healthcare, and the government
  • Institute for Broadening Participation—a directory of links to programs designed to increase diversity in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workforce, including internship, job, scholarship, and fellowship opportunities
  • NACE Diversity Resources—The National Association of Colleges and Employers’ list of diversity resources accessible to students 
  • Imams Online—an easily accessible online portal serving as a voice, information, and career-placement initiative for prospective Islamic leaders
  • WorkHalal—a website created as a career-finding resource for the ummah in the West 

Professional Associations