As a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer (LGBTQ+) student preparing for a job or internship search, there are additional decisions you will want to consider to successfully communicate the value you bring to employers. In June 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court passed a ruling that protects gay, lesbian and transgender employees from being disciplined, fired or turned down for a job based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. It is still useful for you to research employers’ commitment to diversity and especially to LGBT employees. You will find workplace differences by employer and geographic regions, and you will want to research your options carefully to meet your individual needs and goals. The Career Design Lab (CDL) coaches are available to help you navigate these decisions.
Where Can I Find Career-Related Resources at Columbia?
Columbia Pride – The mission of Columbia Pride is to build community and foster a safe environment among LGBTQ+ alumni of all schools of Columbia University in the City of New York.
Global Programs – Identify and Diversity Abroad – Provides discussion and resources for managing your identity in other countries.
Where Can I Find Other Career-Related Resources?
Out Professionals – The nation’s largest LGBTQ+ networking organization
As an LGBTQ+ person, what should I think about in my career journey?
HOW TO PRESENT YOURSELF
You will want to consider how to present yourself in your resume, cover letters and interviews. What you write in both of these documents may identify you, so you need to consider how you want to do that. You may decide to present yourself in different ways depending upon the organization and its commitment to diversity. Other considerations include what name you use to introduce yourself and how you dress for the interview. Your CDL career coach can help you consider these decisions and help you find the wording you are comfortable using.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER
- Is the company an LGBTQ+-friendly organization?
- Do you feel comfortable disclosing that you are a member of an LGBTQ+ organization?
- Do you include previous work experiences (internships, etc.) that occurred at LGBTQ+ advocacy organizations?
- How do you list your achievements from an LGBTQ+ organization on your resume?
You will find some useful resources at the Columbia University Center for Career Education: LGBTQ Students.
What should I consider when choosing employers?
Start by looking at the employer’s website, in their career section or in any section where they discuss diversity and inclusion, and consider the following questions:
- Does the organization provide same-sex partner benefits?
- Is there an LGBTQ+ employee resource group? (For example, see Ford GLOBE.)
- Does the organization have at least one gender-neutral restroom?
- Does the organization sponsor or participate in activities or events that support the LGBTQ+ community?
Review their diversity and inclusion statements. Next, check other resources that provide reviews or ratings of employers.
Here are some resources:
Human Rights Campaign – Best Places to Work for LGBTQ+ equality
Human Rights Campaign – HRC Corporate Equality Index
Job Searching while LGBTQ+: How to find a truly inclusive place to work
When researching employers, conducting informational interviews will be an important tool for you to learn more about the company from the inside. During informational interviews, you can gain additional insight into the company’s diversity commitment. Review the company’s website first before preparing your questions and only ask questions that are not answered on the website.