Out in the Workplace

Members of the LGTBQ community face decisions when it comes to talking about their sexual orientation or gender identity during the job search and in the workplace.

The Career Connections Center is here to help you no matter what stage of the career development process you may be in currently. We understand that career paths and work place cultures can vary greatly, in both openness of and resources available for LGBTQ employees. We are here to assist you at all stages of the career development process.

More Information

Self-Reflection

Use the following section to help you throughout your career development process.

Which statement speaks to you the most?:

  • Being open about my identity is who I am. It is a large part of myself.
  • My identity is only a small part of what defines me as a person. I am very careful about who I tell and do not tell.
  • Sharing information about myself is not my preference. I tell very few people.

The statement that resonates the most with you should be the approach you use when entering the workplace.

Remember, disclosing your identity is a personal decision, there is no “right” answer. You must think about this decision from multiple angles, and this decision can change throughout your career.

Researching Employers

Things to look for:

  • A Non-Discrimination policy that includes “Sexual Orientation” and “Gender Identity”
  • Domestic Partner Health and Additional Inclusive Benefits
  • Family Medical Leave that includes Domestic Partners
  • Transgender-Inclusive Health Benefits in Summary Plan Description
  • LGBT Employee Resource Groups
  • LGBT-Friendly Work Environment
  • Public Commitment to LGBT Equality

Preparing Your Application Materials

Involvement in an LBGTQA organization is an excellent way for you to develop the top skills employers are looking for and to expand your network. But the decision to include these organization during your job/internship search is once again your decision, think back to that first self-reflection question and how much you want to disclose about your identity to a potential employer.

There are three options when deciding what to include on your resume and cover letter:

  • Include your affiliation to LGBTQA organization and highlight the transferable skills you gained as a member.
  • Use acronyms or generic descriptions when listing your affiliations. This could include using such words as ‘civil rights’ or ‘equality organizations.’
  • Omit any references to your affiliation with an organization. As mentioned above, this is you decision and you need to be confident in how much you would like to share with a potential employer.

During the Interview

Similar to your application material you will need to decide how much of your identity you would like to share during the interview. This not only refers to how you will answer questions asked of you but also what questions you will ask during the interview.

Another thing to consider before your interview is what to wear. This is something that differs from industry to another, but it is always important that you look professional. If you are transgender you should dress in attire that is consistent with your gender identity.

Being Out at Work

Once you have been hired you will then need to decide if you would like to be out at work. If you are struggling with this decision look around the office to explore the company’s culture. What does the diversity of your co-workers look like? What topics are discussed outside of work? Are there LGBTQA resource groups? You will need to determine your comfort level and what is best for you.

Resources

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