5 Career Lessons from Martin Luther King, Jr.


If we’re talking about race then we’ve got to honor Dr. King. I visited the Martin Luther King, Jr. Museum on my 6th wedding anniversary weekend.

Here are 5 career lessons from the civil rights leader.

Set your sights high.

  • Craft an authentic message. 
    Dr. King almost left out the “I Have a Dream” part of the “I Have A Dream” speech, but he did what he felt was right. Sometimes, you can’t plan everything you’re going to say in an interview, and you don’t want to sound rehearsed anyway. Know the problems that need to be solved in a job, at the company and on an industry level. Also, know the strengths of your career history and let authenticity fill in the rest.
  • Build a support system.
  • Never think that your professional development is over.
  • Be patient yet persistent.

Let's not just honor a day, let's honor his legacy!

Research conducted by Northwestern University, Harvard, and the Institute for Social Research in Norway found that anti-black racism in hiring is unchanged since around 1989. The research also showed that on average, “white applicants receive 36% more callbacks than equally qualified African Americans” while “[w]hite applicants receive on average 24 percent more callbacks than Latinos.”

We ought to ditch the diversity and inclusion banner if we expect or prefer ethnic minorities to have more skills and qualifications than their white job application counterparts. We ought to ditch the diversity and inclusion banner if we’re hiring to check off a quota.

Just ditch it! 

Together Forward @Work is a call-to-action for the HR profession and broader business community to drive racism and social injustice out of America’s workplaces. Get the resources you need to create racial equity at work.  


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