The other day, after I gave a presentation about using your Latino traits to your advantage, a young female attendee asked me: “How can I advance in my career leveraging my Latino traits while avoiding the stereotypes?” It was a great question around a topic faced by many people who are second or third generation Latino and by those who have spent many years in this country and have learned to navigate the system well.
The tendency is to become overly assimilated and to forget where your roots are to the point where you may miss great opportunities to leverage that background to your benefit. This young lady avoided at all cost taking on assignments in Latin America or serving the Hispanic market as she believed, as many people do, that taking these kinds of assignments might pigeonhole her. And although this may be a good strategy at the beginning of your career, once you’ve proven your worth, you may want to reconsider it.
There are many Latino values that you should tap into. Having been raised by a Latino family has exposed you to certain experiences, world view and set of values that can be very useful in today’s marketplace. Finding out what they are and bringing them to the surface is the first step to leveraging their power.
So for instance, coming from an area of the world that experiences change constantly, your parents and grandparents grew up learning how to adapt. For them, the only way to survive involved creating alternatives to the way in which they conducted business or to how they managed their daily lives.
They instilled these skills in you, even if you didn’t realize it and in great part, you owe to your upbringing the ability to solve problems, the fact that you think fast on your feet, can change direction in a split second and can do several jobs with equal ease.
Your goal should be to communicate those unique skills as part of your value proposition to your bosses or prospective employers. That not only are you great at what you do, but on top of that, you have all of these Latino traits that will benefit the company. By aligning your value proposition to the company’s bottom line you have a much better chance to land a plum assignment or that coveted job.