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LGBTQIA+ Students

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, pansexual, two-spirit, and non-binary folks often have some unique considerations in their work-related decisions.

CCDAE Commitment

  • As staff and aspiring allies, the Center for Career Development & Academic Exploration strives to: Honor each unique interpretation of self/gender/sexuality to its fullest; Make as few assumptions as possible; Approach every person with a kind heart and sincere intention; Be open to learning and growing a little more every day.

Support on Campus 

Finding LGBTQIA+ Related Jobs & Internship Opportunities 

  • Many organizations that specifically promote social justice and LGBTQIA+ causes can be found in the nonprofit, government, or education sectors; however, there are companies and many types of positions in the for-profit sector as well that directly support this work.
    • Tips For Your Search 
      • Many jobs and internship boards have a dedicated LGBTQIA+ filter for searching for jobs, internships, and organizations. If there’s no dedicated filter, use relevant keywords to narrow your search. 
      • Look for postings that specifically encourage LGBTQIA+ applicants or reference diversity and inclusion in their company description. 
      • Networking is essential in any job search; connect with others doing related work to build your professional contacts, get advice, and possibly discover opportunities. 

Coming Out During the Job Search Process

  • Outing yourself at any stage of the job search process is a very personal decision – there is no right or wrong answer. A guiding question to help you decide is, “How important is it for me to be out at work?”. Consider the individual circumstances, your own comfort level, and your interest in sharing your sexuality or gender identity with others. 
    • Considerations While Networking: 
      • Research – Knowing about the employer’s policies and culture may provide insight, but keep in mind the individual might not hold the same values or beliefs personally as an organization they represent. 
      • Practice – Practicing your elevator pitch and questions for the networker will give you additional confidence and help steer the conversation the way you would like.
    • Strategies for cover letters and resumes: 
      • If you decide you do not want to out yourself on your resume or cover letter, there are still several options for your to convey the skills you have gained from LGBTQIA+-related activities: 
        • List organizations by either an acronym or general name such as “Community Organization” or “Anti-discrimination Organization.” However, be prepared to explain what the acronym stands for or what an “anti-discrimination organization” does. 
        • Use a functional resume instead of a chronological one to highlight your skills while de-emphasizing where you developed them. 
        • You can choose to omit any LGBTQIA+ references. 
    • Considerations for Interviewing: 
      • Research local employment laws. Protection from employment discrimination varies by state and by jurisdiction. In some states it is illegal to make a hiring decision based on your answer, in others it remains legal to discriminate against people because of their LGBTQIA+ identity. 
      • It is your choice how to answer questions about your sexuality and gender – there are many ways to redirect the conversation or dismiss the question as irrelevant to your employment. 
      • Prepare, especially for questions that you would be nervous about answering, go into the interview feeling confident and prepared to tactfully negotiate questions around your sexuality or gender identity. 

Researching Employers

  • While it may be difficult to determine how truly supportive any organization is, researching employer policies and resources can provide valuable insight. You may be able to find publicly available information on the employer’s website or by contacting them directly, often through a Human Resources office. 
  • Research whether an employer has: 
    • Non-discrimination policies that include sexual orientation and gender identity/expression. 
    • Trainings that include sensitivity to LGBTQIA+ issues 
    • In-house support or employee groups, either formal or informal 
    • Gender-neutral bathrooms 
    • Visibility of employee pronoun usage 
  • Additional ways to research a potential employer include: 

Researching Locations

  • Researching the local environment and laws can play an important role in narrowing your job search Some key factors to consider include: 
    • State anti-discrimination laws and policies 
    • Hate crime statistics 
    • State adoption policies and laws 
    • Educational policies and laws 
  • Additional resources to aid your research: 

Frequently Asked Questions for Transgender and Non Binary Job Seekers

  • We are here to affirm and support you in your job or internship search. 
  • Transgender and Non Binary job seekers can face additional challenges in job and internship application processes, so we have compiled a list of frequently asked questions to help you navigate. As always, know that you can schedule a time to talk with a Career Coach in person or virtually, to talk about your individual questions and concerns. 
  • Frequently asked questions
    • It is okay to use my chosen name on my resume? On application forms?
      • A resume is not a legal document, so it is acceptable to use your chosen name on the resume. Both transgender and cisgender individuals handle this by listing a first initial, followed by their chosen name; others identify their chosen name in quotes, e.g.: K. Micah Jones, or Kelsey “Micah” Jones. If application forms specifically request legal name, you should list your legal name as it may be used for a background check. The issue is complex, depending on state and local anti-discrimination policies and it may be helpful to consult with trans-knowledgeable legal resources such as the transgender Law Project, GLAAD, or Lambda Legal. HRC’s current compilation of statewide laws and policies regarding gender identity and anti-discrimination policies may also be useful. 
    • When do I have to use my legal name?
      • You will need to use your legal name for purposes of background checks, social security documents, and insurance forms. You may use your chosen name on email, phone directory, and in your day-to-day interactions. Human Resources staff members are bound by confidentiality policies, but there is always some risk of disclosure. If you have taken legal steps to correct your name on all of your identification documents, you may use your corrected name in all instances. Know that you may still be asked to provide any other names you have legally gone by if a company requires that you complete a background check. 
    • Are some career areas more accepting of transgender individuals? Should that guide my career choice? 
      • There are career areas that have a reputation for being more or less accepting of transgender individuals, but a quick look at the HRC’s Corporate Equality Index illustrates that industries from airlines, to healthcare, to marketing are working to end discrimination based on gender identity, gender expression, and sexuality. This same holds true for government and non-profit organizations. Your choice of career area should be based on finding work that you love and using your best skills, because that is where you will excel! 
    • Should I out myself in the interview? How should I present myself if I am transitioning? 
      • In all cases, marketing yourself effectively for the position is the most important consideration when interviewing. Dress for success for the gender you would like to present as, and share your pronouns if you feel comfortable doing so. Some candidates may also opt to dress in a gender-neutral way. A mock interview is a great way to prepare for an interview, whether you wish to out yourself or not. It gives you a chance to prepare for the questions you feel most nervous about, and will help you enter the interview feeling confident and prepared to navigate questions to keep the focus on your experience and skills. This is really what is most important in the interview. 
    • What considerations are important with regard to health insurance? Can I list my preferred gender on the application process? If not, will that out me? 
      • This is a complex and highly individual question Due to some sex-specific healthcare treatment, each individual should decide, in consultation with their healthcare provider, which gender and/or sex they prefer to indicate for healthcare purposes. For example, a female to male individual checking male as sex on healthcare forms might be denied treatment for ovarian cancer. State and local anti-discrimination laws may also bear on this decision. Privacy regarding the gender marker on insurance coverage is covered by Human Resources confidentiality policies. Trans-savvy doctors and legal counsel can provide helpful guidance. 
    • If I am already employed and planning to transition on the job, how should I navigate this process?