Out or Not: Job Search Tips for LGBTQIA+ Individuals

Being comfortable with who you are in the workplace can be pivotal to your success as a professional. For LGBTQIA+ identifying individuals, the expression of sexual identity as part of your professional self can be an area of concern when job searching and in finding a sense of belonging in a future workplace. Whether you are out or not, in honor of National Coming Out Day, here is a list of tips and strategies to consider as you work through the job search process and the challenges that may come with it.

Research the Company’s Commitment 

A good place to start when researching potential employers is to benchmark them using the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Corporate Equality Index. This index measures companies’ commitment and support for LGBTQIA+ equality in the workplace. In 2021, over 767 companies were featured on the “Best Places to Work for LGBTQ Equality”. 

But don’t stop there. Dig deeper and research answers to some of these questions in your search or in an interview:

  • Do they offer benefits inclusive of LGBTQIA+ relationships and parents, such as domestic partner benefits, a family-leave policy that treats all parents equally, and medical leave for colleagues who are transitioning? 
  • Do their webpages and HR documents contain inclusive language and recognize all genders and pronouns? 
  • Do they provide training on awareness of LGBTQIA+ issues? 
  • Do they have an LGBTQIA+ employee support group, or even an “out” list of employees to connect with colleagues in the community? For example, Boston University recently launched an “Out” List – check it out: https://sites.bu.edu/outlist/ 

Know State Laws

Unfortunately, there are no federal laws protecting LGBTQIA+ people from workplace discrimination. As a result, it’s important to know the laws in the state where you might be working. Only 22 states and the District of Columbia have laws that expressly prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. To understand statewide policies and laws that affect LGBTQIA+ people, review the Human Rights Campaign State Equality Index

Discover Professional Development Opportunities

You can find a community of aspiring LGBTQIA+ leaders by engaging in professional development opportunities starting now. Out 4 Undergrad (O4U) invites LGBTQIA+ undergraduate students to conferences focused in business, marketing, tech, and engineering. The Victory Institute develops and promotes LGTBQIA leaders of all experience levels who can further equality in government with various internships and fellowships. 

All of us deserve a workplace that welcomes us as we are and fosters a culture of inclusion and belonging. We at the Center for Career Development hope that the job search is a positive experience for you. And if you hit any roadblocks, we’re here for you. Simply make an appointment with a Career Counselor on Handshake, and we’ll join you on your career development journey. 

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