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Every student has concerns or questions when exploring careers and taking first steps into the job market. The guidance and resources below are designed to be a starting point for LGBTQ students as they engage in the job search process.
When researching employers, look for the following resources to assess an employer’s support of LGBTQ employees (usually housed under Human Resources web pages):
HRC Corporate Equality Index – The Human Rights Campaign completes an annual survey of corporate America and provides participating employers a rating based on policies and practices related to employment for LGBTQ workers. The number of employers earning a 100% rating has increased every year.
The Greater Seattle Business Association The mission of this organization is to combine business development, social action and leadership to expand economic opportunities for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and those who support equity for all.
The Advocate The national gay and lesbian newspaper offers a wide range of resources including a careers section.
Lambda Legal – An organization dedicated to achieving full recognition of the civil rights for members of the LGBTQ community. Use this resource to search for employment laws in all 50 states.
First, visit the CES Resume and Cover Letter Guide for general information about creating a resume.
Then, ask yourself: “Is my affiliation with LGBTQ groups related to the positions for which I’m applying?” The key is to use the job description as a guide. Your resume is intended to showcase your experience in light of a specific, available position. Your affiliation with an LGBTQ organization may or may not be relevant. Consider if your involvement is:
NOTE: You may choose to list the name of the organization or to provide the organization information in a more general manner (e.g. “anti-discrimination organization”).
As with writing a resume, think ahead about how much you want to share during the interview process. Preparing for interviews is critical. Check out the CES guide for successful interviewing for general information, tips, and strategies.
Research the organization: Gather information about the organization and organizational goals, policies, culture, diversity, community involvement, and other information that may be relevant to you. Engaging in research prior to an interview will help you in overall preparation and what you learn may help you decide whether or not to come out during the interview.
Be prepared: The goal of an interview is for both the candidate and interviewer to assess fit for the position/organization.
Ask questions: Your research will help you determine a list of questions you’d like to ask the interviewer. It is important not to ask questions for which you could easily find the answer by basic employer research. In order to assess the organizational culture, you could also consider asking questions about diversity in the workplace and related policies.
Follow-up: Send a thank you note to your interviewer within 24 hours of your interview. Thank you letters are addressed in the CES Resume and Cover Letter Guide.
Coming out is an on-going process. If you decide not to come out until you are on the job, it is generally recommended to take it slow and let it happen naturally:
Currently 13 states (and the District of Columbia) include gender identity in their anti-discrimination laws. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force showcases the states on this map and also provides many other resources.
In order to assess if an organization is trans-friendly, consider looking for gender identity/expression language in discrimination policies, gender-neutral bathrooms, and support groups for trans employees.
Additionally, preparing for all kinds of questions will allow you to clearly articulate yourself and, hopefully, be more confident in your interview.
For more information on trans issues in the workplace, visit the Human Rights Campaign Transgender website.
The team at Career and Employment Services works with each student, taking their unique interests, goals, and personal circumstances into consideration and helps them develop a job search action plan that meets their needs. Please contact us to arrange your individual appointment.