Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
Career Services

Academics

LGBTQA Job Search & Workplace Advice

LGBTQ students and alumni have unique decisions to consider in applying for jobs or internships, and once hired additional questions and situations often arise.

1. How important is it for me to be out in the internship or job search process?

As you might imagine there is no single answer to this question. Some people want to be out and visible from the early points of contact with a potential job or internship sponsor, while other people prefer to be more private or have things gradually emerge. Consider thinking through what you desire with friends and family who you value their input and perspectives.

2. Should I identify as LGBTQ on my resume or cover letter?

This is a very personal decision. You will want to get a feel for the organization and job to which you are applying to first determine what skills you want to feature on your resume.

3. How should I convey the skills that I have gained from LGBTQA activities?

If you decide you don't want to out yourself on the resume and cover letter, then you might want to be more vague about featuring the LGBTQA activities in which you have gained skills. If acceptance of your sexuality and gender are important to you right from the start, then you should feel free to be specific and open in naming the LGBTQA organization and your role.

4. What can a potential employer ask me about my gender identity or sexual orientation?

Federal law forbids an employer from discriminating against any person on the basis of sex, age, race, national origin or religion. An employer may ask questions related to the function of the job position, but not personal questions that don't have a direct bearing on the ability to perform the job. While this is a federal law, not all employers effectively uphold this law. Know that you cannot be asked questions , such as:

  • Medical or disabling conditions
  • Whether or not the interviewee is married, or has plans to marry
  • Whether or not he or she has or plans to have children
  • The interviewee's religious beliefs (unless the employer is a religious-based organization)
  • His or her age
  • Sexual orientation

5. What resources exist to find LGBTQ friendly companies?

Human Rights Campaign - Employer Directory

6. What should I consider if outing myself once hired?

There are a number of questions to consider as you determine if or when to out yourself at at work.

  • How important is it to you?
  • How safe do you feel in your workplace and are you aware of allies or other LGBTQ employees?
  • Have you read the organization's non-discrimination policies and have you seen that the organization operates by them?
  • Are there emotional or professional considerations to factor in?

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