boston college career center
As a student identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer (LGBTQ+), you may face unique challenges within your job search. For many, it is important to find an employer that provides an open and supportive workplace culture.
You may also be contemplating whether you want to come out in the workplace and, if so, how to come out or how to discuss this on your resume or in an interview. The Career Center provides resources to help you with your job search and connect you to additional resources. We hope the resources provided below will help you with your search.
If you have any additional questions, please schedule an appointment through EagleLink to meet with a Career Coach.
A variety of resources are available to support individuals identifying as LGBTQ+ as they search for jobs and advance their careers.
Human Rights Campaign: Workplace | Explore an array of resources, including lists of best places to work for the LGBTQ+ community and advice on coming out in the workplace as transgender.
Out & Equal Workplace Advocates | Out & Equal Workplace Advocates lists many programs and resources dedicated to creating safe and equitable workplaces for the LGBTQ+ community. This site also contains a section for current job opportunities.
Out For Undergrad | Out For Undergrad helps prepare students for different careers and offers annual conferences related to business, marketing, technology, and engineering.
Out Professionals | This LGBTQ+ nonprofit network offers a free job bank that lists companies who value diversity.
ProGayJobs | This site features companies with policies that cater to the LGBTQ+ community.
Victory Institute | This site provides professional development opportunities for future LGBTQ+ leaders.
The answer to this question will vary from person to person. It is important to ask yourself what you’re comfortable with sharing and if you want to be out within the workplace.
If you’re comfortable, feel free to share skills that you’ve developed or enhanced during LGBTQ+ related experiences or activities. If you are not sure whether you want to be open about your sexuality with potential employers, you can start researching the organization to see if they are committed to supporting LGBTQ+ employees. You can utilize the resources on this webpage to conduct that research.
If you’re not comfortable sharing your work with LGBTQ+ related organizations, you can change the name of an organization to something more broad. Instead of saying you volunteered at a LGBTQ+ rights organization, you can say you volunteered at a human rights organization.
While it is illegal for an employer to ask you about your sexual orientation in an interview, it is still a possibility that they might ask you. If an interviewer does ask you about your LGBTQ+ identity, it is up to you to decide whether you are comfortable answering the question directly. Not all illegal questions are asked in an outright manner. Pay attention to the information for which you're being asked and be prepared for how you will answer if you are asked an illegal question. You can respond in four different ways:
- Address the question(s) directly by asking how that information affects your ability to do the job.
- Answer truthfully - it is your right to disclose that information, if you choose to do so. However, know now that it is open topic, interviewers can continue to ask you questions about the topic you've disclosed.
- Politely and professionally remind the interviewer that the question is illegal to ask in an interview setting.
- Don't answer the question(s), but answer the intent behind the question.
Additionally, if the employer continues probing you with questions and is making you feel uncomfortable, you should consider whether the organization offers an environment in which you’d like to work.
It is currently illegal in some states to discriminate against people who identify as LGBTQ+, but in some states it is still legal. Please visit this resource to check which states possess non-discriminatory laws based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
When looking for potential organizations for which you’d like to work, you may want to consider the company culture surrounding LGBTQ+ rights and support in the workplace. The below are a few things that you may want to consider. Most of the answers to these questions can be found on the company’s website or through sources in the media.
- Does the company have a diversity statement that includes initiatives for LGBTQ+ employees?
- What are their non-discrimination policies? Do they include gender identity and sexual orientation?
- What does their benefits package look like? Does it include Domestic Partner benefits?
- Do they provide training with awareness of LGBTQ+ issues?
- Do they have any professional LGBTQ+ groups?
- What are current employees saying about the work culture?
As in any interview, you will want to present yourself in a professional manner. You should dress professionally for the gender with which you identify – this will help guide the interviewer to use correct pronouns. Alternatively, you can also dress in gender neutral professional attire. Ultimately, you should present yourself in whichever manner will make you feel most comfortable.
Additional Resources & Organizations
Below are some additional resources for LGBTQ+ students on campus, as well as campus organizations with which you may want to get involved. Joining campus organizations is a great way to connect with your peers and expose you to additional professional development opportunities.
Carroll LGBTQ & Allies
GLBTQ Leadership Council (GLC)
GLBTQ Undergraduate Society (GUS)
Graduate Pride Alliance (GPA)
LGBT@BC (faculty & staff affinity group)
For more LGBTQ resources, please visit Boston College’s LGBTQ Resources.