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Happy Pride Month! Today, I would like to discuss something near and dear to my heart:
LGBTQ+ babes getting PAID. Specifically, getting PAID at a new job.
I’m a career coach (details here), and I take a more radical or feminist perspective when it comes to career growth for marginalized folks. Some of the negotiating tactics and branding techniques that work great for cisgender, straight, and white men do not work for everyone else.
^^That discussion could be its own book, honestly. But today I want to focus on a specific question that I’m often asked by LGBTQ+ people:
“How do I make sure I work for a company that, you know, doesn’t hate LGBTQ+ people?”
Real Quick: Why Be “Out” at Work?
Workplace protections don’t extend to gender identity or sexual orientation in 26 states, so finding an employer (and new colleagues) who are supportive is critical for many LGBTQ+ folks (MAP).
I can’t tell you the number of horror stories I’ve heard, where an LGBTQ+ person starts a new job – and finds out their boss (or their boss’s boss) is homophobic or transphobic.
Even if you do your research on a company beforehand, you can still find a toxic workplace. (Companies like to put rainbows all over their social media profiles in June, but they’re not so great at fostering truly inclusive workplaces.)
Below, I’ve shared a few ways to “signal” that you’re a member of the LGBTQ+ community, without showing up to the office with a big old Pride flag.
Note: I recognize that being “OUT” at your job is a privilege that not everyone has. This blog post is meant to be a resource for those folks who have decided that having a job where they can discuss their identity (and their weekend) openly.
I use the word “out” in this piece to mean being open about your LGBTQ+ identity. I “come out” everyday, it isn’t a one-time thing!
Strategy #1: Be “Out” on Social Media!
A potential employer will ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS google you. They will look up your social media profiles. Totally respect having your social media on lock with the highest privacy settings ever.
Buuut, talking about LGBTQ+ stuff on your social media platforms is a really easy way to let your future employer know you’re LGBTQ+. You can put your identity in your Twitter or Instagram bio, just to be sure they get the message.
I have a little rainbow emoji to my name on Twitter, just to be EXTRA clear.
If you go this route, be sure that your bio is visible to other people. Secret finstas and private Twitter accounts aren’t super helpful here.
Strategy #2: Include Your Pronouns on LinkedIn
Having your pronouns on your LinkedIn (next to your name) can be a good way to be an ally to transgender folks, and it ALSO signals to potential employers that you’re HERE and QUEER.
Adding your pronouns is a social signal that you’re out IRL. You do this by editing your name on your profile, adding your pronouns after your last name.
You can also add your pronouns to the end of your “Summary” section.
Strategy #3: Include LGBTQ+ Volunteer Work on Your Resume
The best way, in my opinion, to signal your LGBTQ=ness to a potential employer is to literally have the acronym “LGBT” on your resume. A hiring manager or recruiter will see that before they head over to your social media platforms, and they won’t bring you in for an interview if they don’t like LGBTQ+ people.
Boom. Time saver.
Under the “Volunteer Experience” or “Community Engagement” section on your resume, include experience volunteering in the LGBT community. If you don’t have any experience with a specific org, now may be the time to do that!
Want more career content? Check out these blog posts:
- Negotiating Your Salary as a Queer Radical Weirdo
- Are You REALLY Getting a Raise? New Salary Checklist
- Planning Your Career: Actionable Advice
- Queer the Space: Plus Size Fashion for Masculine and MoC Folks
Extra Tip: Ask to Speak with LGBTQ+ Employees
Before accepting a new job offer, ask to speak with 2-3 LGBTQ+ people. It’s normal for new hires to want to chat about the company with people who didn’t interview them.
Doing this will help you get a feel for the org, and it will also show you how diverse the company is. If you’re going to work for a company with 1,000+ employees and they can’t find an LGBTQ+ person for you to chat with? GTFO!
When chatting with someone who is LGBTQ+ and works at the company, it’s important to ask open ended questions. The person you’re chatting with doesn’t want to “get in trouble,” and open ended questions allow them to share their experience without “bashing” on their employer:
- Hey there! Thanks for getting on the phone with me. I use (pronouns). I’m interested in working at (org name), and it’s really important to me to work for a company where LGBTQ+ people are treated well. Can I ask what you identify as, as well as your pronouns?
- Does (org name) celebrate Pride Month? What do they do?
- Do you know if there are LGBTQ+ people in HR? Do you know of other LGBTQ+ people in other departments?
- Do you feel comfortable about talking about Pride or other topics? Do you talk about them?
- Would you recommend the company to a friend who is also (your identity)?
While workplace protections don’t extend to all 50 states, both signaling your identity and vetting a future employer are good ways to try to find a great place to work.
If you’re currently on the job hunt and getting nowhere, you may need a queer career coach – like me! I offer LinkedIn consulting, resume revamps and a host of other services that you can check out here.
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