LGBTQ Students and Alumni

Navigating Disclosure

The following recommendations are designed to assist you in your decision making related to prospecting employment opportunities. If you want to discuss these or other career related issues further, you can make an appointment to talk with a career counselor at the Career Center.

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How can I approach resume and cover letter writing and interviewing while remaining authentic to my identity?

How you approach self-disclosure on a resume, job application, or in an interview is entirely up to you. Resumes and cover letters are not legal documents so you can use your preferred name when submitting these materials to employers. During the interview process, you can ask questions to assess the employer's policies and work climate to see if they align with what you are looking for in an organization. Some of these questions are highlighted in the section below " How Can I Assess if a Company is LGBTQ-inclusive." Also, it is important to anticipate the types of questions you might be asked during an interview and practice your answers so you can be prepared for your discussion with employers.

How can I assess if a company is LGBTQ-inclusive?

You can start by looking at a company's non-discrimination policies. You can see if the company includes sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression in their non-discrimination clause while also examining if the company provides benefits to domestic partners.

Another strategy is to ask employers questions about their inclusion efforts. Some questions you should consider include:

  • Does the company have an active LGBTQ+ employee resource group?
  • Does the organization have gender-neutral restrooms?
  • Does the organization sponsor or actively participate in LGBTQ+ events and activities within the broader community?

More questions can be found on the the Human Rights Campaign website which provides guidance on how to assess a company's LGBTQ inclusion practices

An additional strategy is to network. Ask personal and new networking contacts about their experiences with different organizations. They may be willing to provide insight on companies they have worked for or interacted with in order to help you during your job search.

When should I come out on the job?

Disclosing your sexual orientation, gender idenity and gender expression is always a personal decision and there is no right way to do it. There may be instances in which some of this information may be disclosed involuntarily during the job search process such as when a background check is performed or if social security documents are requested. Yet, how you approach your disclosure voluntarily may depend upon the circumstance and your level of personal comfort. Coming Out can be a helpful resource in learning tactics from other LGBTQ+ professionals on how to approach self-disclosure. You should also explore and engage with organizations that are LGBTQ+ inclusive as they can provide a safer environment to express yourself authentically. The Human Rights Campaign's Corporate Equality Index can be a helpful resource in learning about different companies' inclusion practices. 

What can I do if I feel I have experienced discrimination in the recruitment process or on the job?

Lambda Legal's Know Your Rights is a helpful resource in identifying your legal rights during the application process and work experience. This resource also provides guidance on how to proceed when you experience discrimination.