Career Services is committed to helping students of the LGBTQA+ community in all aspects of career exploration. We understand you may face some additional challenges or questions related to the job search and your sexual orientation or gender identity. There often aren’t defined rules to answer these questions, so we encourage you to talk through potential scenarios with a career advisor to find the best solution for you.
- How can I figure out if an employer will be supportive and suit my needs and values?
- If and when should I come out during the job search process?
- How do I use my preferred name in the job search process?
- What are my options for professional attire?
- How can I determine if an employer is safe?
- What strengths might I bring to the workplace?
Schedule an advising appointment through Handshake to discuss these and other questions with one of our career advisors.
Connect with a career advisor to learn more about:
- Assessing your skills and professional interests
- Including your experience and preferred name on your professional documents (resume, cover letters)
- Gaining additional experience through internships, part-time work, and other professional development opportunities
- Developing a job search strategy, including identifying safe and inclusive employers
- Building a professional network that utilizes LGBTQA+ mentors
- Preparing for interviews by highlighting your unique skills and discussing professional attire
- Applying to graduate/professional school
Connect with Professional Organizations and Resources
LGBTQA+ students and job seekers have a number of ways to seek out guidance and support.
- Connect with LGBTQA+ professional organizations to network, connect with potential mentors, obtain resources and learn about specific career pathways and industries.
- Explore job search engines that promote employment opportunities with organizations who are actively working to diversifying their workforce.
- Attend events sponsored by Career Services, such our annual Diversity Career Fair, to connect with employers who value having a diverse workforce and hire in a range of fields.
Evaluating Workplace Culture and Fit
Assessing an organization for its commitment to diversity and inclusion is, more than ever, an important part of the job search process. If you’re a jobseeker committed to working in an inclusive environment, how can you know if a company will meet your needs?
(1) Do Online Research: Visit the company’s website and examine everything from the “about us” section and any shared metrics on diversity or hiring practices used to represent the organization. Do advisory committees, resource groups, or social communities exist for LGBTQA+ staff? Are mentorship opportunities available? Don’t forget to check out reviews on sites like Glassdoor, too.
(2) Review the Company’s Core Values: Are diversity and/or inclusion mentioned as priorities in the company’s mission statement or core values? Do statements exist affirming that the company values differences in sexual orientation and gender identity/expression?
(3) Examine Benefit Packages and Policies: Will the company offer domestic partner benefits? Are gender confirmation related medical costs covered? Does the company have a written non-discrimination policy that includes sexual orientation and gender identity/expression?
(4) Ask Questions During Your Interview: Try inquiring directly about diversity if you get a chance to pose questions during your interview.
(5) Reach Out to Connections: If you know anyone at the organization, see what details you can gather from them about the company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.
LGBTQ+ job seekers must inevitably consider, “Should I or shouldn’t I come out at work?” Ultimately, the decision is very personal and entirely up to you.
As you weigh your choices, consider:
- Why might you want to disclose in the workplace?
- When is the best time to disclose?
- Does the workplace climate support inclusion? Are any of your coworkers openly LGBTQ+?
- How would disclosing impact relationships with coworkers? Would coming out allow you to break down barriers, feel more comfortable, and develop deeper professional relationships?
- Does your employer have disclosure protections such as a non-discrimination policy that includes sexual orientation and gender identity/expression?
Consider disclosure advice from the Human Rights Campaign as you weigh your options and discuss with a career advisor.
MSU LBGT Resource Center
A student-centered campus resource that works to celebrate, affirm, and empower LGBTQA+ members of the Michigan State University community. Through education, engagement, advocacy, and student support, they work to create an inclusive campus culture for people of all genders and sexual identities.