Queering Your Career
As an LGBTQIA+ student preparing to enter the workforce, you may encounter some unique challenges as you embark on your career journey for which you may have a number of questions. These questions may be related to career planning, professional development, and your sexual orientation and gender identity. At the Temple University Career Center, most staff members are Safe Zone certified and we are prepared to offer you support throughout this process!
To be "Out" or Not "Out"?
Searching for a job and starting a career can be a very stressful time. Many LGBTQIA+ people have additional concerns related to their gender identity, presentation, and sexual orientation. Many people are not sure if they should be "out" at work or when to "come out" at work. Determining your own comfort levels and using your best judgment throughout the job search process is key. There is no right or wrong answer, and you must do what feels right for you.
What would you say?
- Being "out" is who I am. Being visible will provide me with equal treatment and support
- Being "out" is only a small part of what defines me as a person. I prefer to be selective with whom I tell and don't tell.
- I am not comfortable sharing information about myself. Very few people know that I'm "out".
Your answer can help you decide whether to:
- Target LGBTQIA+ friendly companies. A great place to seek LGTBQIA+ friendly organizations is the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index.
- Lean toward LGBTQIA+ companies.
- Choose an environment where you will maintain your privacy.
Do Your Research
State laws and policies that affect the LGBTQIA+ community vary considerably. Check out the laws and policies where you are seeking employment: State Maps of Laws & Policies
Employment Law in Pennsylvania:
- The state does NOT prohibit employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
- Prohibit discrimination against public employees based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Review the company website and speak with current employees at the organization. You may also pay attention to the language used on their website. Some questions to keep in mind as you research include:
- What types of training do they provide that are sensitive to LGBTQIA+ relations?
- Do they offer employee resource groups for LGBTQIA+ persons, either informal or formal?
- Are there gender-neutral facilities?
- What are the benefits for partners and spouses?
Presenting Yourself on a Resume
Once you have determined your level of comfort with your career path as an LGBTQIA+ person, it is important to consider how you will present yourself and your brand. Resumes come in many different formats and can vary based on the industry you are targeting, so check out our Resume Resources to learn more about the best resume format for your current industry interests. We recommend tailoring your resume to the position and company for which you are submitting an application while being mindful of that company culture and values. If you have a question about how to articulate a particular LGBTQIA+ experience on your resume, we can help you! Stop in during same-day appointment hours Mondays and Wednesdays from 1:00pm - 2:00pm to have your resume reviewed by a career coach or outreach specialist. You can also make an appointment on Handshake, over the phone, or in-person at the Career Center.
Presenting your role on a chronological resume would resemble:
Queer Student Union, Member (January 2016 - Present)
Temple University, Philadelphia, PA
- Provided support for campus events, including National Coming Out Day Rally and Queer Articulations Film Festival.
Presenting your experience in a "functional" resume to highlight accomplishments according to skills rather than the organization would resemble:
- Leadership: As a President of a student organization, worked with a team of seven officers to plan educational outreach, social activities, and mentoring events.
- Communication: Delivered public addresses at four campuses attended by 100+ students, faculty, staff, and alumni.
- Graphic Design: Created marketing material for the 2017 National Coming Out Week campaign.
Presenting Yourself in an Interview
By the time of your interview, ideally, you will be familiar with the culture of the company or organization for which you are wanting to work. Your level of comfort in your interview could depend on whether or not you chose to be “out” on your resume. The interview is an opportunity to learn more about the organization as well as “test the waters” in relation to sexual orientation and gender identity in the workplace.
- Do your research on the companies you are applying to, including what their company culture might look like
- Know what legal protections you have based on state and local laws
- Know your comfort level as far as being "out" at work
- Be sure to know your resume well so that you can talk about how your skills match the job position
- Set up a mock interview at the Career Center with one of our coaches to practice beforehand
- Be authentic and true to who you are
- Make sure to send a thank you note within 24 hours of the interview