Career Resources for LGBTQ+ Students
What is an LGBTQ-Friendly Organization?
An LGBTQ-friendly organization is one that protects lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer individuals from discrimination in their organization. Many of these companies also help organize LGBTQ+ support groups and social events for the LGBTQ+ individuals who work for them.
What should I consider before applying to any company?
There are many employers that are inclusive of LGBTQ+ employees, but there are still many who are not. When deciding which company is best for you, consider what it would mean to you to work for a company that supports their LGBTQ+ workers. Here are some questions to help you reflect:
- Will I only work for a company that I know is LGBTQ-friendly?
- Would I work for a company that does not have any formal considerations for their LGBTQ+ employees?
- What does working for an inclusive company mean to me?
Identifying LGBTQ+ Friendly Employers
- Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index - national benchmarking tool on corporate policies and practices pertinent to LGBT employees put out by the Human Rights Campaign. The Report is based on a number of criteria including:
- Equal employment opportunity policy
- Employment benefits (including transgender-inclusive medical coverage)
- Organizational LGBT competency (trainings, resources, or accountability measures)
- Public commitment to LGBT support
- Human Rights Campaign's list of Best Places to Work for LGBTQ Inclusion
- Job Fairs, e.g. Werq! Chicago Windy City Times Job Fair, ROMBA (Kellogg), Lavender Law & LAGBAC (Law, Pre-law)
- Speak to current and former employees to ask questions about the company culture (NU alumni are a great resources)
- Northwestern-based resources:
- Affinity groups: Rainbow Alliance, Queer Pride Graduate Student Association (QPGSA)
- Our Northwestern-Alumni Network
- Northwestern Network Mentorship Program (can sort by sexual orientation, and sex- transgender)
- Northwestern University Pride Alumni Club (NUPAC)
Additional Considerations before Choosing an Employer
- Does the organization provide same-sex partner benefits?
- Is there an LGBTQ+ employee resource group?
- 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?
Additional Job Search Resources
- LGBTConnect - job board for anyone seeking LGBTQ-friendly employers
- Out Pro Net- job board for LGBTQ community
- TJobBank - employment opportunities for the transgender community
- PinkJobs - LGBTQ friendly job board
- Out & Equal - LGBTQ Careerlink offers tools and resources focused on LGBTQ inclusion in the workplace
What Interview Questions are Illegal for an Employer to Ask?
- Do you have HIV or AIDS?
- Are you transgender?
- Are you in good health?
- What prescription drugs are you currently taking?
- Have you ever been treated for mental health problems?
- How many days were you sick last year?
- Do you have a disability?
When should I Come Out at Work?
There is no ‘right’ time to come out. It is an important, and personal decision. There may be times when you can be outed during the interview process:
- Background check
- Medical exams
- It may help to hear from other folks about their experiences or seek out stories.
Additional Considerations for Transgender Students
- Can I use my chosen name on a resume or cover letter?
- Yes. Resumes and cover letters are not legal documents. You are not required to list your legal name on either document. Think of using alternative naming options.
- Will I have to use my legal name at any point in the job search?
- Yes. Unless you have made legal arrangements to change your name, unfortunately, you will need to provide your legal name for background checks, social security documents and insurance forms. Most organizations will allow you to use your preferred name for company contact information, email, and phone directory. Human resource professionals are bound by confidentiality and can be a good source of information.
- The Laws that Protect You - Learn about federal, state, and local laws that explicitly protect LGBTQ people. and people with HIV, federal and state bans on sex discrimination, and other more general workplace-related laws that may be useful.
- Gender Identity Discrimination - Frequently asked questions about gender identity and the workplace.
- Lambda Legal: Know your Rights - Rights in the workplace and legal guide LGBTQ community.
- Transgender Workplace Rights - Answers to common questions about transgender workplace rights.
- Lambda Legal Help Desk- Confidentially call or email to get information and resources regarding discrimination related to sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and HIV status.
How NCA can Help
At NCA you can expect a non-judgmental and safe space to ask any questions or express any concerns related to your personal identity. Career Advisers and Career Counselors can help you navigate the resources in this document, and can help you identify Northwestern alumni who may be able to serve as an additional resource or mentor during your personal career development journey.
Some content on this page has been adapted from a 2017 Lambda Legal presentation & Georgetown University Career Center