Guest Commentator: Ben Goebel, Program Manager – IPP, The Welcoming Center @welcomingcenter

For the new year and during these difficult times for everyone, it is a good opportunity to start a new habit. One thing that we all struggled with, is the lack of community and relationship-building that many of us were used to before the pandemic. Some people right now need this more than others — whether it is businesses looking for diverse talent, or friends or acquaintances looking for a job because they were laid off.

Sharing opportunities, resumes, or profiles doesn’t cost much of anything, but can bring an impact to people and businesses. If you look at my LinkedIn profile right now, you will see all the job postings that I share. I tend to focus on postings that could benefit immigrants (meaning bilingualism is a requirement) or from nonprofits. You could do that too. It could be specific to your industry or to anything you’d like.

Too many Philadelphians end up being underemployed or unemployed simply because of a lack of connections and social capital. Sharing a post on LinkedIn might not be the change-making solution, but it comes with a really low investment in time and could potentially lead to something major for someone else. Companies are finally taking diversity seriously, but sometimes complain that there is a limited pool of diverse talent. We all know that there is an ocean of untapped talent out there, many of whom just need to be given a chance. If diversity is truly what companies want, they need to make efforts to reach this talent. This requires that effort be made by the recruiters, but also by us through sharing opportunities with our networks.

I work with immigrant professionals who end up bagging our food for years just because the system has not adapted to realize their value. Most of them are ready to start at the lowest position in their fields to prove themselves and grow from there, even though they might be more qualified than their boss. But because of the lack of social capital, their self-consciousness about their accents, and the lack of major efforts by companies to tap in this ocean of talent, they go through a harder struggle than they should. This is where we come in as young professionals.

We can share opportunities with our networks and share our networks with new connections. It only takes the click of a button on LinkedIn or forwarding an email. Join me in this new habit that could be more impactful than you think.

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