LGBTQ+ Students


University Career Services understands the unique factors influencing the career development and job search of LGBTQ+ students. Our team is here to help you every step of the way.

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How to find an inclusive work environment

There have been recent gains in legal protections of LGBTQ+ employees, but the environment varies greatly by state and company. Be sure to research the places you are considering for work. One of the best resources is The Human Rights Campaign, which has a map that details workplace legislation by state.

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Companies/job search sites

When searching for employment, there are many factors you may wish to consider, such as the organization’s reputation within the LGBTQ+ community, non-discrimination policy, values, benefits offered, support mechanisms such as Employee Resource Groups, and the number of LGBTQ+ folks in leadership roles. Below are resources to help you identify LGBTQ+ friendly organizations.

Note: Use keywords such as LGBTQ+, gender, and equality in the search bar of any job site, including Handshake, Mason’s job and internship database to find employers promoting Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) values. 

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When to Disclose

It is important to know that you do NOT have to disclose at any point in the job search process. This decision is entirely up to you and how comfortable you feel disclosing your sexual orientation, sex, or gender identity. If you do choose to disclose, there are generally three opportunities to “come out” to an employer: 

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1. Resume/application


Names: Your chosen or preferred name may be used on your resume, cover letter, and Handshake/LinkedIn profiles, which are not legal documents.

Pronouns: Personal pronouns can be added to your email signature, resume, and Handshake/LinkedIn profiles.

You have several options for how you may choose to share your identity or involvement with the LGBTQ+ community on your resume. Check out this sample resume for ideas. Visit our Resume page for answers to questions like, "How do I include experience on my resume if I can’t or don’t want to disclose the name of an organization to which I belong(ed)?" and "Do I have to use my legal name on my resume?"


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2. Interview


Dress: Dress in gender-affirming clothes while also remaining mindful of the company/industry norms. Take a look at our Pinterest page for ideas on how to dress in a way that honors your identity in a professional setting. If an employer has a dress code with clear expectations for traditional gender expression, this may be an important factor in deciding whether this is the right work environment for you. 

Be prepared to discuss any experiences that are on your resume. Visit our Interview page for answers to questions like, "Are there things an employer can’t or shouldn't ask me?" and "How do I let people know what pronouns I use?" As interviews should be a two-way conversation, feel free to ask about company culture and their commitment to DEI.


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3. Onboarding

Once hired, you will need to provide further documentation about your identity. You will be asked to provide government-issued identification, and names of spouse/partner and dependents for enrollment in benefits. This may mean you are disclosing sensitive information that you may not have shared during the application process.

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How to Build a Supportive Network

Cultivating a supportive professional network means being proactive in connecting and building relationships with others. While building your community with people who share your values, you may discover new career opportunities. Use these resources to connect with those who share your identity and will support your career success.

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LGBTQ+ Friendly Organizations
  • Out Professionals: Offers meaningful networking events and other career-building and life-enriching programming for LGBTQ+ professionals
  • Out to Innovate™/NOGLSTP: Empowers LGBTQ+ individuals in STEM by providing education, advocacy, professional development, networking, and peer support   
  • Out for Undergrad (O4U): Sponsors and supports high-achieving LGBTQ+ undergraduates to participate in professional programs (conferences and career fairs) focusing on marketing, tech, business, and engineering
  • ​​​​​​Pride at Work: AFL-CIO group that seeks to integrate LGBTQ+ concerns into the larger labor movement
  • ACLU: The Lesbian and Gay Rights Project offers articles, news updates, and legislation summaries of workplace issues affecting LGBTQ persons