Career Development Center: Resources & Information for LGBTQ+
As an LGBTQ+ transitioning into a career, you may encounter additional challenges related to your sexual orientation. The workplace may or may not be supportive and the following can provide additional information to assist you in your transition from student to career professional. If you want to discuss these or other career related issues further, you can make an appointment to talk to a counselor at the Career Development Center.
There are 5 main questions you need to ask yourself before and during your internship/job search.
These questions include:
When you think about your sexuality and gender, do you often see clear sections or is everything one-in-the-same? For example, is your personal life, just that… personal or is it blended in everything you do? This is the extent to which you incorporate your sexuality and gender in different aspects of your life. This decision is very individualized and only you can make the decision. Consider the following questions:
- Are most of your friends, peers and support networks LGBTQ+?
- Are you active in any LGBTQ+ organizations?
- Do you enjoy going to LGBTQ+ events?
- Do most of your friends and family members know that you are LGBTQ+?
- If you have a partner, is he or she out in most situations?
Based on how you answered the above questions, consider how out you want to be in your job search and once you are employed. If you agree with the above statements, as saying yes, then it might help to target LGBTQ+ friendly companies. If you wish to keep your life private, then you can lean toward LGBTQ+ friendly organizations but it will not be your main focus.
The first step to assess the company’s level of LGBTQ+ acceptance is reviewing their non-discrimination policies on the company’s website. Verify there is a statement regarding sexual orientation and gender identity. If it is not listed, it doesn’t necessarily mean it is not LGBTQ+ friendly, but it does mean you might have to look deeper into the company and possibly check additional resources (listed below).
Looking deeper may include researching the company’s domestic partner benefits and whether or not they have an active LGBTQ+ employee group. The Human Rights Campaign offers information on LGBTQ+ friendly companies also.
Deciding what to include and exclude on a resume and/or job application can be a bit overwhelming. Focus on how you answered Question #1 above to determine a guideline on listing your experience, clubs, awards, and activities which clearly link you to the LGBTQ+ community.
** Remember, it’s important to follow what’s most comfortable to you.
Answer the following questions:
- What should I list and not list on my resume?
- Do I want to use my resume as a way to screen out non-supportive employers?
- How out do I want to be? Before interview or once I am hired?
- Do I include my LGBTQ+ related activities in my resume?
Based on your answers above, you may or may not want to explicitly list your experience with LGBTQ+ related organizations.
There are ways to list your skills and experiences while still not naming the organization with which you worked, for example:
- Use acronyms of organizations that will disguise the fact that it is an LGBTQ+ group. For example use “USP Club at Fresno State” Instead of spelling out United Student Pride Club. Always be prepared in an interview to disclose what “USP” stands for.
- Describe your experience and the nature of the group (anti-discrimination group)
- Use a functional resume format – this will allow you to focus on your strengths and skills and not where you obtained them.
Whatever you choose to disclose on your resume, remember employers will often ask questions, during an interview, based on the items listed on your resume.
The amount to disclose is fully your decision. It’s always a good idea to anticipate the questions that might be asked and practice your answers.
“Should I reveal my sexual orientation in the interview?”
- During the job search process, revealing your sexual orientation or gender identity should be determined with what you are personally comfortable with.
“Can a potential employer ask about my sexuality?”
- It is illegal for an employer to ask about sexual orientation in the State of California. If you are applying in another state, they may or may not have discrimination laws. Be forewarned and investigate other states if you thinking about relocating.
- As before, prepare for questions you would be nervous about answering. Always feel prepared and confident going into an interview.
Regardless if you disclosed on your resume or in an interview, it is best to assume your personal information was never disclosed to your supervisor and/or coworkers. Coming out of the job will continue to be an ongoing process and there is really not a “right” way to accomplish it. It’s ongoing since you will often have a shift in supervisors, new coworkers, and clients/customers.
When considering coming out on the job, there are a few things to think about:
- Are you ready?
- Would it be best to establish yourself as a professional first?
- Focusing first on the job and your performance
- Test the water…. Conduct a trial run?
- Choose someone you think is trustworthy and accepting to come out to
- Do you have expectations?
- Remember the saying… “Hope for the best – Expect the worse”? It doesn’t need to be that drastic, but don't expect a specific reaction. People are individuals and we have no control over them. Be open yourself and be prepared emotionally for whatever happens.
It’s your decision - your level of disclosure should be what’s most comfortable for you.
Another resource to view is the Human Rights Campaign, they offer additional areas to think about as you consider whether or not to come out at work.
*Disclosure: The links provided here are for your convenience and do not represent Fresno State Career Development Center endorsement. If there is a link that no longer works, please inform Jody Burum at firstname.lastname@example.org.
United Student Pride - Club at Fresno State
Community Link - Provides services to the LGBTQ+ communities of the Central Valley
NCLR (National Center for Lesbian Rights)
PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) – search local chapter on website
SAFE (Straight Advocates for Equality)
Trans-E-motion - Provides support and education to transgender persons and to their family/friends
Job Search SitesThat Are Pride Friendly:
National LGBT Resources:
American Civil Liberties Union - LGBT Project- Promotes equality of civil rights and autonomy
American Institute of Bisexuality - Provides resources, answers, and support for the bisexual community
Bisexual Resource Center - Raises awareness and provides support for the bisexual community
Campus Pride - A nonprofit that helps student leaders and campus groups to create a safer and friendlier environment
Fresno LGBT Center - An LGBTQ+ community center in Fresno
Gender Education and Advocacy - Organization that educates and advocates for LGBTQ+ community
Get Equal - An activist group devoted to LGBTQ+ rights and equality
Gay and Lesbian Alliance against Defamation - Is a voice for the LGBTQ+ community through media
Gay Lesbian Education Straight Network - Organization that promotes equality & resources on campuses
Human Rights Campaign - Working for LGBTQ+ civil rights
Lambda Legal - A national organization that is committed to civil rights for the LGBTQ+ community
LGBTQ Architect - An organization that helps provide proposals and resources to help LGBTQ+ students propose new programs at their university
LGBT Latino/a Hispanic Civil Rights Resource Group - An organization for the LGBT Latino/Hispanic population
National Association of LGBT Community Centers - Helps build LGBT community centers
National Center for Lesbian Rights -An organization that is committed to rights for Lesbians
National Center for Transgender Equality - An organization that promotes and advocates for Transgender equality
National Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals - Promotes equality and advocacy in Higher Education settings
National Gay and Lesbian Taskforce - Voice for equality for LGBTQ+ community
Out & Equal LGBT Equality in the Workplace - An organization to help eliminate discrimination in the workplace
Out for Work - Helps LGBTQ+ community members find a career and improve job search techniques
Out Leadership - Organization for the LGBTQ+ community in the financial industry
Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians and Gays - An organization that supports, educates, and advocates for the LGBT community
Transgender Law and Policy Institute - Helps explains laws in different jurisdictions and regulations that that affect the LGBT community
Fact sheet for transgender seeking jobs: “FAQ’S For Transgender Job Seekers” – by University of Vermont
Transgender rights in the work place and how to make reports/complaints: “Know Your Rights: Employment Discrimination and Transgender People”-by National Center for Transgender Equality