The fear of rejection and discrimination is prevalent in the LGBTQ+ community and “coming out” is not as simple as a one-time, momentous occasion. It is a continual process where one must evaluate who, when, and how to come out, over the course of one’s life.
Not only does it encompass one’s personal life but also flows into professional life as well. Coming out is may be difficult, but it is also a liberating process where individuals assert who they are and live authentically by their standards. Various studies have shown that individuals who are out to others have lower stress hormone levels and fewer symptoms of anxiety, depression, and burnout.
Coming out is still a decision that takes a lot of courage, and determining whether you feel comfortable coming out during your job search is entirely up to YOU. Below are some ways to come to an informed decision on how transparent to be during the job search.
Coming Out on Your Resume or In the Interview
You might wonder whether to openly demonstrate your involvement with the LGBTQ+ community or attain the job first and slowly come out to your coworkers and employers. The middle ground would be to blend— a list of your LGBTQ+ activities on your resume without drawing attention to them.
No matter how you identify, you want to stand out through your impressive work qualifications and experiences on your resume, nonetheless, the addition of your LGBTQ+ affiliations subtly signal to employers, “This is who I am. Let’s talk about it.” Being aware of what you put out there not only depends on you but the trust you set in the organization and the individuals in the hiring process. Just like how you would be wary of putting your religious and political affiliations, putting your gender identity or sexual orientation is dependent on your comfort level with the organization and people involved.
First, consider whether your experiences are relevant to the position of interest. Your involvement with LGBT+ organizations could demonstrate your leadership abilities, commitment to diversity and civic engagement, teamwork, and communications skills, and more. Simply listing LGBTQ+ organizations membership without pertinent information to the job may be better off being excluded, as they may be seen as cluttering your resume with unnecessary information. On the other hand, remaining comprehensive and honest in your resume, by including your involvement with LGBTQ+ organizations allows you to expand on that topic in the interview session and get a sense of your interviewers’ reactions and knowledge of nondiscrimination policies of the company. If you can sense that the interviewers are LGBTQ+ friendly you can bring it up in the course of dialogue if appropriate. Remember that during a job interview, you can disclose as much as you feel comfortable with, of course, discuss experiences that strengthen your qualifications and showcase any skills applicable to the current job position you wish to acquire. Be aware that if you disclose your gender identity or sexual orientation in an interview though, the information is not confidential and can be revealed to the rest of the company.
Asking questions about diversity and nondiscrimination policies allows you to transition naturally into how these questions apply to you. According to outburo.com, these are a few questions to potentially ask the employer:
· Would you say that your company has a diverse employee base?
· Do you offer domestic partner benefits or other LGBT-related benefits and policies?
· Does your company/organization have an LGBTQ employee resource support or social group?
Before you ask these questions make sure that they are not clearly stated on the company website. It is important that you have researched the company/organization as well as any legal protections where you live and will be working.
Look for a company’s nondiscrimination policies, LGBTQ+ networks and company benefits through job postings, looking them up on the Corporate Equality Index, or contacting them through call or email to get a direct answer.
With several states who do not have fully-inclusive nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ+ employers, it is essential to be aware of all legal resources available to you such as the Discrimination Intake Form by the ACLU.
The Center for Career Development is here to support you in all aspects of the job search process. Remember you do not have to navigate these decisions alone. Reach out and schedule an appointment with a Career Consultant.