Finding a job can be both exciting and challenging, but candidates from the LGBTQ+ community often face unique issues and concerns. This guide is a comprehensive resource tailored to empower LGBTQ+ job seekers on their professional journey. We’ll delve into the critical topics of knowing your rights, evaluating job opportunities, exploring industries, crafting impactful resumes, and mastering job interviews. We aim to provide you with the knowledge and support necessary to thrive in your career and ensure your authentic self is respected and celebrated throughout the process.

Know Your Rights

In a 2020 landmark Supreme Court decision, Bostock v. Clayton County brought significant progress to LGBTQ+ job seekers by expanding employment protections under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This pivotal ruling clarified that discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity is a form of sex discrimination, making it illegal for employers to discriminate against LGBTQ+ individuals in the workplace.

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It’s now unlawful for organizations to make employment decisions, such as hiring, firing, promotions, or compensation, based on a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

Understanding the implications of this decision is crucial when navigating the job market. Being informed of these rights empowers you to advocate for yourself during the job search and enables you to pursue opportunities without fear of employer discrimination.

Evaluating Job Opportunities

Despite recent legal progress, not all workplaces are equally inclusive of LGBTQ+ professionals. It’s essential to thoroughly research and evaluate potential employers to ensure you find an organization that provides a safe and welcoming work environment. You can gather important information about each organization you are interested in by using the following tools and techniques.

The organization’s website

One effective way to assess an organization’s commitment to LGBTQ+ issues is by exploring its website. Examining various sections and features will give you a look into the organization’s culture, policies, and commitment to equality. Consider these key areas:

  • Company Culture: Review the organization’s mission statement and values section. Look for support for LGBTQ+ issues, diversity, or inclusion. An organization explicitly mentioning equality and LGBTQ+ individuals in its values is more likely to prioritize an inclusive and supportive work environment.
  • Diversity & Inclusion Policies: See if you can find a dedicated section or policy statement on diversity and inclusion. Look for policies addressing LGBTQ+ inclusion, nondiscrimination, and equal opportunity employment. Clear and comprehensive policies show an organization’s commitment to fostering an inclusive workplace for all employees.
  • News & Events: Explore the website’s news or events section. Look for mentions of the organization’s participation in LGBTQ+ events or any contributions to related groups or causes. Active engagement demonstrates an organization’s support and allyship with the LGBTQ+ community.
  • About Us & Leadership: Navigate to the “About Us” page and see if the organization provides bios or other information on its top employees or management team. These details can give you insight on whether diverse candidates have been able to ascend to leadership positions. A diverse leadership team can signal an organization’s commitment to representation and equality.
  • Company Size: Pay attention to the size and scale of the organization as reflected on its website. It’s important to note that Title VII only applies to organizations with 15 or more employees. However, other state or local protections may still apply.

LinkedIn

In addition to an organization’s website, LinkedIn can be a valuable tool for LGBTQ+ job seekers to assess the inclusivity of potential employers. You can learn a lot about an organization’s workforce, engage with current employees, and inquire about LGBTQ+ support or resources. Here’s how you can use LinkedIn to evaluate job opportunities:

  • Explore the “People” section. Visit the company’s LinkedIn page and navigate to the “People” section to gain a broader view of its workforce. By reviewing current employee profiles, you can better gauge the diversity and inclusivity of the company. Are diverse candidates employed at various levels, including leadership? Look for representation of any LGBTQ+ individuals or allies in high-profile positions.
  • Reach out to employees. LinkedIn allows you to connect with and message professionals directly. Consider contacting employees who work for or have worked for the organization to inquire about their experiences. Respectfully ask about the workplace culture, support for LGBTQ+ employees, and the organization’s commitment to inclusivity. Engaging with current or former employees can provide information beyond what’s publicly available.
  • Look for Employee Resource Groups (ERGs): Many organizations have LGBTQ+ Employee Resource Groups or similar groups. Look for these groups on LinkedIn and explore their activities and engagement within the organization. Active and well-supported ERGs can indicate a healthy company culture of diversity and inclusion.

Glassdoor

Another resource to consider during your research is Glassdoor.com. This popular platform offers a range of insights into companies, including employee reviews and ratings. For LGBTQ+ job seekers, exploring an organization’s Glassdoor profile can provide valuable perspectives from current and former employees on the company’s culture. Consider using these strategies to evaluate your job opportunities:

  • Read employee reviews. Glassdoor’s employee reviews are a goldmine of first-hand experiences, and can give you insight on overall employee satisfaction. Use the “Diversity” tab to explore Diversity, Equality & Inclusion (DEI) ratings and search reviews by demographics (including sexual orientation and gender).
  • Read company responses. Some organizations actively respond to employee reviews on Glassdoor. Take note of how the company addresses feedback. Does it only respond to positive reviews, or does it also acknowledge employee concerns? See if you can find company responses about any LGBTQ+ issues, and try to get a sense for how they handle criticism.
  • Compare multiple reviews. Remember, Glassdoor reviews represent individual experiences, not an entire organization’s culture. Personal experiences may vary, but common themes will often appear. Read numerous reviews to gauge consistency and patterns before making a judgment.

Indeed

Indeed had its beginnings solely as an online job board. Now it allows current and former employees to leave reviews of the companies who post jobs. The reviews are presented similarly to Glassdoor but with less detail. Consider using both platforms to gather as much data as possible and do the following:

  • Read employee reviews: Indeed hosts reviews from people who work or have worked at various organizations. Employers can’t respond to employee comments on Indeed, but it’s still a good source of first-hand accounts. You can also use the search function to find reviews using specific keywords or phrases.
  • Compare Reviews: As on Glassdoor, wait to draw a conclusion about a company until you read several employee reviews. Look at both positive and negative feedback, and note any patterns or frequently repeated comments.

Google

When investigating job opportunities, you can uncover plenty of information through a simple Google search. Start by typing an organization’s name along with terms like “LGBTQ,” “diversity,” or “inclusion.” This search can yield insights that help your decision-making. Leverage Google searches to evaluate job opportunities by looking for:

  • Awards & Recognition: Search the organization’s name along with terms like “LGBTQ+ award” or “LGBTQ+ recognition” to discover if the company has received accolades for its inclusivity efforts. Positive results may include awards from local LGBTQ+ advocacy organizations, diversity and inclusion rankings, or recognition for workplace equality.
  • Initiatives & Programs: Look for information on the organization’s LGBTQ+ initiatives, ERGs, or programs that promote diversity and inclusion. Positive results will highlight equality-focused initiatives, such as diversity training, equal opportunity policies, or mentor programs.
  • Event Participation: Search for mentions of the organization’s involvement in LGBTQ+ events. Positive search results may show the organization participating in Pride parades, sponsoring conferences or seminars, or engaging with LGBTQ+ community organizations. This active participation can reflect a company’s commitment to the LGBTQ+ community beyond internal policies.
  • News Articles & Press Coverage: Comb through news articles and press releases related to the organization. A search like this may uncover controversies, discrimination lawsuits, or negative incidents involving LGBTQ+ issues. It’s important to check for these red flags before you move ahead with any employer.
  • Social Media Presence: You can explore the organization’s social media platforms, such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Check for posts or interactions showing the organization’s support for LGBTQ+ causes, celebrations of Pride Month, or engagement with LGBTQ+ employees or communities. A positive and active presence on social media can indicate an inclusive and supportive work environment.

The HRC Corporate Equality Index

In the pursuit of LGBTQ+ inclusive workplaces, job seekers have a valuable resource: The Human Rights Campaign’s (HRC) Corporate Equality Index (CEI). Each organization listed in the CEI is assigned a rating based on its LGBTQ+ workplace policies and practices. The rating is on a scale of 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more comprehensive LGBTQ+ support. This index rates over 1,000 organizations using three criteria:

  • Workplace Protections: The CEI assesses information on employers’ nondiscrimination policies, and evaluates their practices related to LGBTQ+ workplace protections.
  • Inclusive Benefits: The CEI also assesses an organization’s employee benefits package. It looks for inclusive policies related to healthcare coverage, parental leave, retirement plans, and other benefits that support LGBTQ+ individuals and their families.
  • Corporate Social Responsibility: The CEI considers an organization’s commitment to LGBTQ+ equality beyond internal policies. It analyzes information on an organization’s public support for LGBTQ+ causes, philanthropic initiatives benefiting the LGBTQ+ community, or engagement with advocacy groups.

Your personal network

If you know someone who has worked for the organization you’re applying to, consider reaching out to them to ask their opinion. Inquire about their overall experience, the workplace culture, and how the organization handles LGBTQ+ issues. This is your chance to ask tough questions you may want to avoid asking in an official interview. Here are a few example questions:

  • Have you observed any allyship or support from management or colleagues toward LGBTQ+ employees?
  • Are LGBTQ+ individuals in leadership or management roles within the organization?
  • How supportive is the organization of LGBTQ+ employees’ professional growth and advancement?
  • Have you personally witnessed any instances of LGBTQ+ discrimination or harassment within the organization?

Be sure to approach your conversations professionally. Respect any confidentiality concerns that people may have regarding their experiences or the organization. Remember that while it’s important to seek information, it’s also important to maintain trust and confidentiality within your personal and professional connections.

Top LGBTQ+ Industries and Employers

As employees have shared their experiences on websites like Glassdoor, specific fields have stood out as more accepting and friendly. According to a survey conducted by Glassdoor during Pride Month 2022, several industries and employers were recognized for overall LGBTQ+ friendliness. The survey sought to assess the employee experience of LGBTQ+ community members, using data from over 209,000 reviews. With this data and the HRC’s rankings, we’ve created a list of industries and employers recognized for commitment to LGBTQ+ inclusion and support.

Real Estate

The real estate industry had the highest satisfaction rating in the Glassdoor study, scoring 3.99 out of 5. When researching real estate companies ranked by the HRC, we found that those with a 100/100 score include:

  • CBRE Inc.
  • Cushman & Wakefield
  • JLL
  • Zillow Group

Information Technology

The technology industry placed second in the highest-rated industries, scoring 3.91 out of 5. The Glassdoor study called out Microsoft and Google specifically, ranking them as the first and second-best employers of all sectors. Microsoft and Google have also earned perfect CEI scores and are recognized by the HRC as National Corporate Partners. Brands owned by Microsoft include:

  • Bing
  • Microsoft Dynamics
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft Visual Studio
  • MSN
  • Windows
  • Windows Live
  • Windows Mobile
  • XBOX
  • Zune

Brands owned by Google include:

  • Analytics
  • Android
  • Chrome
  • Chromebook
  • Google Fi Wireless
  • Google Workspace
  • Waze
  • YouTube

Legal

Third place on Glassdoor’s Highest Rated Industries for LGBTQ+ Employees is the legal industry. LGBTQ+ employees give their work in the legal field a score of 3.89 out of 5. Legal organizations scoring 100/100 on the HRC’s index include:

  • King & Spalding LLP
  • LexisNexis Legal & Professional
  • Robert Half
  • Shook, Hardy & Bacon LLP
  • Thompson Coburn LLP

Construction, Repair & Maintenance Services

The fourth-best industry on Glassdoor’s list is the Construction, Repair & Maintenance Services industry. Employees gave this production-based industry a score of 3.81 out of 5. Companies top-rated by the HRC include:

  • Arcadis U.S. Inc.
  • Suffolk Construction Company, Inc.
  • Turner Construction Co.

Energy, Mining & Utilities

The final industry that ranked well in Glassdoor’s study was the Energy, Mining, and Utilities industry. LGBTQ+ employees gave this field a score of 3.79 out of 5. The HRC recognized 20-plus energy companies, but only six earned a perfect score of 100/100. All the organizations below are working to provide workforce protections, offer inclusive benefits, and maintain social responsibility in the energy and mining industry:

  • Alliant Energy Corp.
  • Dominion Energy
  • Duke Energy Corp.
  • Enbridge
  • Great River Energy
  • Komatsu Mining Corp.
  • Xcel Energy

Writing Your Resume & Cover Letter

Creating an effective resume and cover letter can be challenging, but it can be especially difficult for LGBTQ+ job seekers. Questions like whether to include LGBTQ+ community involvement and how to handle pronouns and preferred names can be tricky to navigate. Below we’ll explore some best practices to help you present your authentic self while ensuring your safety and success in the job application process.

Research & Tailor

Investigate the companies and positions you apply for. Customize your resume and cover letter to align with any of the organization’s values you share. Highlight your transferable skills and experiences relevant to the job. Emphasize achievements and demonstrate how your unique perspective can contribute to the company’s success. Your ultimate goal is to land a job, so approach your writing with this in mind first.

Identity

Deciding whether to indicate you are LGBTQ+ on your resume is a personal choice. Above all, prioritize your security and well-being. If you’re in an environment where being open about your identity could compromise your safety, it may be best to err on the side of caution. Consider your financial situation, industry, and the area you live in. Just because a company is affirming, fellow employees and those in leadership may not be.

Names & Pronouns

Your resume is a marketing document, not a legal form. So if your preferred name differs from your legal name, feel free to use your preferred name on your resume. Also, as providing preferred pronouns on social media and professional networks becomes more common, inclusive workplaces will value your disclosure.

LGBTQ+ Community Involvement

Highlighting your involvement in LGBTQ+ community organizations, volunteer work, or advocacy demonstrates your commitment and dedication to causes that matter to you. Employers often appreciate candidates with diverse community engagement and recognize the value of volunteerism. Although this involvement doesn’t necessarily “out” you, weigh the risks of discrimination against the benefits of showcasing these experiences.

Resume and Cover Letter Examples

Your resume and cover letter shouldn’t just position you for your target job, but also your target employer. You can use them to help find an LGBTQ+ inclusive organization by showing your experience in similar work environments. In the examples below, see how Janice focuses on collaboration and working with diverse populations — two themes that overlap with desired employers in her field.

As a last step before you submit your resume to each application, consider adding brief descriptions of the places you’ve worked. These descriptions are optional but can help LGBTQ+ candidates further show related experience and move toward a work culture that welcomes and supports them.

  • Resume Example

Janice Jones
(123) 456-7890 | [email protected] | Chicago, IL 34567 | www.linkedin.com/example | she/her

Profile 

Research Assistant with 3+ years of experience. Skilled at helping coordinate social-behavioral research under supervision of a principal investigator. Thrive in team-oriented work environments, building productive relationships with diverse colleagues. Adapt quickly to support the needs of multiple research projects and stakeholders.

Key Skills 

  • Data Collection
  • Data Management
  • Informed Consent
  • Literature Review
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Online Survey Software
  • Participant Interviews
  • Project Facilitation
  • Research & Analysis
  • Statistical Software
  • Subject Recruitment
  • Team Collaboration

Experience 

Research Assistant, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL | June 2021 to Present
[Brief organization description]

  • Perform literature reviews for inclusion in grant proposals and scientific manuscripts
  • Recruit and interview diverse research participants, and schedule study visits
  • Coordinate informed consent discussion and enrollment in research studies
  • Conduct simple analyses using SPSS
  • Perform data management, including entering, preparing, and cleaning data
  • Create charts, tables, and figures based on results
  • Assist with IRB applications

Research Assistant, Rush University, Phoenix, AZ | May 2020 to May 2021
[Brief organization description]

  • Helped coordinate two federally-funded research studies on HIV, hepatitis, and sexually transmitted diseases in vulnerable LGBTQ, Black, and Latinx populations
  • Collaborated on subject recruiting and enrollment efforts
  • Performed informed consent of participants into research studies per study protocols
  • Conducted computer, phone-based, and in-person research interviews and assessments with subjects
  • Ensured accurate, complete, and timely data entry and data analyses using SPSS software

Education

Bachelor’s Degree — Psychology, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA

  • Cover Letter Example

Janice Jones
(123) 456-7890 | [email protected] | Chicago, IL 34567 | www.linkedin.com/example | she/her

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Ms. Meiling Li
Hiring Manager
XYZ Institute
(123) 456-7890
[email protected]

Dear Ms. Li:

I’m a research assistant with 3+ years of both qualitative and quantitative experience. Your job posting jumped out at me, as my background is an excellent fit for your new Research Assistant role.

Through my career so far, I’ve been recognized for strong collaboration and accuracy in social-behavioral research under the supervision of a principal investigator. My work highlights and credentials include the following:

  • Focused on recruiting, interviewing, and supporting diverse research participants
  • Helped coordinate two federally-funded research studies on HIV, hepatitis, and sexually transmitted diseases in vulnerable LGBTQ, Black, and Latinx populations
  • Adapt quickly to support the needs of multiple research projects and stakeholders
  • Team player who builds productive relationships with colleagues of varying backgrounds and work styles

This is just a sample of the research skills I offer. The enclosed resume contains a full overview of my related experience.

I look forward to telling you more about how I can help your organization, and I am available to talk at your convenience. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Janice Jones

Interviewing & Following Up

A job interview is an important opportunity for employers and job seekers. It allows employers to learn more about candidates and enables applicants to gather information about the prospective employer. We’ll explore best practices for making an excellent first impression during job interviews and highlight the importance of follow-up actions. Then, we’ll discuss how these conversations can serve as a platform to learn more about an employer’s LGBTQ+ inclusivity and culture.

Preparation & Presentation: Before the interview, thoroughly research the company and position to familiarize yourself with its values, mission, and culture. Dress professionally, reflecting the industry and company standards. Practice answering common interview questions and prepare examples that highlight your skills and experiences. Present yourself confidently, maintaining good posture, eye contact, and a friendly demeanor.

Active Listening & Effective Communication: During the interview, actively listen to the interviewer’s questions and provide thoughtful responses. Engage in two-way communication by asking relevant and well-researched questions about the company and the position. Demonstrate your genuine interest and show that you’re proactive and engaged.

Workplace Culture: The interview is an opportune time to inquire and learn more about the organization’s work culture. You may also ask about specific LGBTQ+ policies, benefits, and inclusion efforts within the organization. In an on-site interview, take note of the work environment, such as gendered bathrooms or dress codes, to gain insights into the organization’s commitment to inclusivity. And keep in mind that small talk with hiring managers or potential coworkers can give you a glimpse of the organization’s culture and values as well.

Follow-Up: After the interview, send a personalized thank-you email or note to express your appreciation for the opportunity to interview. Reiterate your interest in the position and briefly highlight relevant points discussed during the interview. This courteous gesture helps you stand out and leaves a positive impression on the interviewer.

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Jacob Meade

Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW, ACRW)

Jacob Meade is a resume writer and editor with nearly a decade of experience. His writing method centers on understanding and then expressing each person’s unique work history and strengths toward their career goal. Jacob has enjoyed working with jobseekers of all ages and career levels, finding that a clear and focused resume can help people from any walk of life. He is an Academy Certified Resume Writer (ACRW) with the Resume Writing Academy, and a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) with the Professional Association of Resume Writers & Career Coaches.