By Shannon Andre, Assistant Director, Campus & Employer Relations

Out at WorkOn Monday, October 28, Career Services, in collaboration with the LGBT Resource Center, held the inaugural “Out at Work: How to Navigate LGBTQ Identities and Your Job Search” panel discussion.  This event brought together SU students, staff, and faculty for a discussion about the process of determining whether to come “out” about your sexuality and/or gender during your job search and the added stress to career considerations.  We welcomed LGBTQ executives and SU community members on our panel from General Electric, Northwestern Mutual, JPMorgan Chase, The Q Center, and Syracuse University to share their advice and guidance in navigating the job search process.

Here are some key considerations the panelists shared:

–          When looking into companies you would like to work for, utilize resources like the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index.  This resource rates companies based on their policies and practices pertaining to LGBT employees.  (252 businesses recorded a 100% this year)

–          If you are unsure of a company’s support for those with marginalized genders and sexualities, look online for their stated value of diversity or nondiscrimination policy.   Does it include gender identity and sexual orientation?

–          When applying for a position, you should focus your resume on the skills you bring.  Let your results and performance speak for themselves on your resume and in the workplace.

–          Inquire about benefits when considering an offer.  Is the company’s health insurance policy transgender-inclusive?  Do the benefits cover same-sex partners or spouses?

–          When you enter the workforce, some companies will have employee resource groups (or affinity groups) that bring together diverse populations within the company.  Joining an LGBT and Ally employee resource group will provide you with opportunities to not only network, but also advocate for the community.

The panelists also stressed the importance of authenticity, not only to yourself but those you work with.  You need to be comfortable where you work and coming “out” will depend on the company culture, your relationships with the people at work, and your own readiness.  Ultimately, it is up to you when to come “out” during your job search process, and in the workplace you may have to make this decision multiple times.

Thank you again to our panelists for sharing their insight, advice, and stories!

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