Diversity Equity and Inclusion statements are an integral component of job applications, intended to demonstrate candidates’ commitment and understanding of diversity-related issues and needs in their field or area of higher education.
Writing an impactful personal statement requires taking an integrated approach that incorporates all facets of who you are as an individual and your experiences. Use these guidelines for crafting one:
Focus on your strengths
As the starting point of any diversity equity and inclusion statement, the first step should be identifying your personal strengths. While this may sound obvious, it’s essential that you’re honest about what you do well and how your experiences have equipped you to advance DEI within higher education.
As well as emphasizing your strengths, in your statement you should detail past and future commitments to promoting equity and inclusion. This might include your research, teaching and service activities or efforts at using antiracist pedagogy or other strategies in class to foster DEI. Likewise, community-based projects focusing on social injustice or helping marginalized groups may be included here as well.
Your statement should also be clear and succinct, no more than two paragraphs long, and should include concrete examples of your DEI efforts so readers can easily comprehend both your strengths and the significance of your work.
Make an effort to align your DEI statement with the mission and values of your organization; this will demonstrate your firm’s dedication to creating an inclusive workplace environment.
Veterans United Home Loans has made “respect for everyone” one of its core values and included employee testimonials as part of its diversity statement to demonstrate this point. Adobe and Spotify take similar approaches when including DEI statements as part of their corporate mission and goals statements.
Avoid using buzzwords in your DEI statement; while they may be appropriate in certain instances, they can often come off as overused and cliched. Avoid referring to yourself as an “individual”, “person”, or “student”, as these terms often reflect privilege and exclude those who don’t identify with them. Furthermore, if you belong to an underrepresented group such as LGBTQ individuals, use more specific terminology when discussing who you are as an identity.
One way to demonstrate your dedication to diversity, equity and inclusion is through concrete examples of your work. These could range from specific projects you’ve worked on to ways in which you foster inclusive learning environments in classrooms and research settings. You could also include results of any diversity-related research you conducted or published as scholarly articles; additionally you may wish to discuss programs used at your business or university to foster diversity such as unconscious bias training programs or inclusion training initiatives.
Your statement must use clear language and avoid generalities. Avoiding cliched language like “welcoming” and “celebrating differences”. Instead, focus on how your efforts have made an actual difference for those you serve and the community around you.
Be very specific in articulating your goals and the methods by which you intend to meet them. Being specific ensures that both potential employers and academic programs understand exactly what it is that you intend to accomplish; setting clear metrics such as the percentage of underrepresented minority employees or first generation students you hope to hire/mentor could help with this goal.
Be clear about what each of these key concepts mean – diversity, equity and inclusion. Equity refers to providing equal access and opportunity for all people – including historically underserved groups – while inclusion involves affirmation and celebration for individuals’ unique approaches, styles, beliefs values and experiences.
Be transparent and explicit in stating whether or not you’re ready and willing to address underlying issues that could compromise diversity, equity and inclusion efforts. For example, if your institution does not currently have programs designed to assist underrepresented students succeeding academically, outline your willingness to create such initiatives using models from other institutions as models for creating them yourself. You could also address barriers preventing progress on equality such as needing more funds or improved policies.
No matter where your organization stands on diversity issues, there’s much that can be done to foster it in the workplace. Being honest about where you stand and the steps needed to get to where you want to be is paramount; diversity initiatives shouldn’t simply be about checking boxes; rather they must make an impactful statement and transform culture.
An effective DEI statement covers four key areas: fairness and respect, valued belonging, safety inclusion and empowerment and growth. A successful statement also includes intersectionality – when one identity intersects with multiple aspects of their life such as gender, race, religion or socioeconomic status. Furthermore, it’s crucial that organizations go beyond merely representing diversity; to truly make an impactful statement there must be tangible action taken against issues not immediately visible.
Collect and analyze data. For instance, when reviewing your hiring pipeline you might notice an increase in underrepresented groups compared to when they were initially recruited into leadership roles. Utilizing this data allows you to pinpoint any gaps and devise a plan to address them.
Your DEI statement can also serve to showcase what you are doing well in terms of diversity. For example, if your company has made impressive strides toward increasing women and minorities in leadership positions or buying from diverse suppliers, using your website as a platform for these accomplishments shows employees, customers and the community that diversity matters to your business.
By focusing on what your company excels at and providing evidence that demonstrates its dedication to inclusivity, you can craft a statement of diversity that will resonate with readers. Plus, this will show your company is committed to meaningful change with enough expertise and credibility behind it to effect real change in society.
Your DEI statement provides one of the greatest opportunities for you to demonstrate your dedication and ability as a leader. By investing the time to craft it carefully, your application will stand out amongst those who neglect this issue.
Step one is to define what diversity, equity and inclusion mean to you – this will assist with research and writing when creating your statement. A clearly established frame of reference also allows you to consider how your past experiences, current initiatives and future plans align with university EDI goals.
As an example, if your research engages marginalized communities, describe how this supports the university’s EDI goals while furthering your academic scholarship. If you serve as an ally to students or scholars from ethnic minority backgrounds, explain how your understanding of their particular experiences motivates your mentorship within academia.
As your statement of commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion reveals your beliefs on these subjects, it’s crucial that it shows them rather than tells. Any vague language can give the impression of insecurity or inflexibility which could decrease your chance for an interview. Also important is showing you are an active lifelong learner in this field – hiring committees often want someone they hire to be an agent of change within their department or scholarly community.
Your statement can be an effective tool to demonstrate your passion and leadership in diversity-related areas, especially when used alongside additional evidence such as an impressive CV or resume. Furthermore, this statement allows you to provide your prospective employer with an accurate depiction of how you would support and engage with various student populations represented within their workforce. Doing this will help ensure that your DEI statement is as impactful as possible within its context of employment; additionally it gives you a chance to distinguish yourself from applicants without as much direct experience working with diverse workforces.