Employer Engagement and Career Design partners with the LGBTQA+ Resource Center to support students and alumni who identify as LGBTQA+ in their career exploration, job search, graduate school search, and professional development. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Identifying inclusive workspaces
- Addressing microaggressions and bias in the workplace
- Navigating the application process as transgender and/or gender non-conforming candidates
- Disclosing social identities in the co-op or job search process
- Building community at work
- Researching LGBTQA+ legal rights across the United States and around the globe
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) is the largest civil rights organization working to achieve LGBTQ equality in the United States. The HRC envisions a world where lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people are ensured equality and embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.
Check out the following work-related resources:
- 2019 Corporate Equality Index: National benchmarking tool on corporate policies and practices pertinent to LGBTQ employees.
- Human Rights Campaign Foundation 2019: Best Places to Work for LGBTQ Equality: List of companies by industry that achieved 100% on the Corporate Equality Index.
- Human Rights Campaign Employment Map: Search for gender and sexual orientation non-discrimination laws and policies by state.
- U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission: Guide for understanding legal protections and reporting discrimination in the workplace.
The National LGBT Task Force is a non-profit that aims to advance full freedom, justice and equality for LGBTQ people. Explore their website for resources on knowing your rights and advocacy opportunities.
Immigration Equality: The nation’s leading LGBTQ immigrant rights organization that provides legal resources and an Asylum Manual for international students and families.
Out & Equal Workplace Advocates Global Resource Guide: An in-depth look at the challenges and opportunities for LGBT folks in the workplace in Brazil, Russia, India, and China.
Aperian Global’s GlobeSMART LGBTQ Around the World provides information for LGBTQA rights, legal protection, and societal attitudes on 97 cultures globally. You can complete the GlobeSMART Inventory by clicking here, which will allow you to assess cross-cultural fit in personal and professional environments worldwide.
GoinGlobal helps new and experienced job seekers find opportunities both at home and abroad. There are Career Guides by global city and country, which also provides cultural insight into living there. Access this portal through NUworks under Career Design -> Resources.
The National Center for Transgender Equality houses a wealth of resources for employment of transgender and gender non-conforming folks, in addition to tools for knowing your rights beyond the workplace. Helpful guides to navigate existing laws and policies, address discrimination, and identify people as advocates and allies include:
- Know Your Rights | Employment (Federal)
- Know Your Rights | Employment (General)
- Fact Sheet: Employment Non-Discrimination Act
Listing Your Name on a Resume/Cover Letter/LinkedIn: Your resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile allow you to build your professional brand as you choose. In any of these spaces, it is appropriate to list your preferred name. You may also list your pronouns next to your name. It is recommended to research company culture and inclusivity as well as state rights to ensure your decisions are fully informed.
Listing Your Name on Legal Documents: For many organizations, your legal name is required for background checks, social security documents, and insurance forms. However, you can still apply with your preferred name via application portals and documents (see above). If you would like to learn more about legally changing your name, visit the National Center for Transgender Equality’s ID Document Center.
Professional Attire: This article on Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Professional Attire Tips provides advice on how to dress your best for an interview or at work while remaining true to your authentic self.
For resources on continuing education, visit our Graduate and Law School resource page. You can also make an appointment to meet with Career Design’s Pre-Law and Graduate School Advisor through myNortheastern. Similar to searching for a company, be sure to look for non-discrimination policies and inclusive language when searching for graduate programs.
For LGBTQA+ specific resources, check out the HRC’s LGBTQ Student Scholarship Database.
Transgender-Inclusive Benefits: Colleges and Universities provides a list of inclusive health plans for employees and students at colleges and universities.
Professional associations are networks of professionals that share a common industry, identity, location, or a combination of these factors. They are a highly recommended resource for job search tools, education, professional advancement, and building a network. You can attend events, access virtual resources and educational materials, and view job postings through most professional associations.
Below are a few professional associations for LGBTQA+ professionals for you to leverage. For a full list of LGBTQA+ organizations on campus, visit the LGBTQA Center page. Be sure to search for more professional associations pertaining to your intersections of identity and industry:
myGWork: Global networking hub and job board for LGBT+ Professionals and Graduates
National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce: Search for state-specific LGBT Chamber of Commerce resources.
Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition: Search for similar organizations in your state outside of MA.
For even more LGBTQA+ Professional Associations, click here.
For even more LGBTQA+ Professional Associations, click here.
Center for Black Equity: Informing the Laws of Black LGBT People Globally
Minus18: Network for LGBTIQ Youth
Trikone: A space for LGBTQ people of South Asian descent
Search for organizations and resources specific to your intersections of identity online or ask a Career Advisor for support.
- Check Employer Websites
- Read their Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) statement, hiring policies, or check any job posting to assess language—do these policies protect against discrimination because of sexual orientation, gender identity, characteristics, or expression?
- Check their benefits policies (domestic partner benefits or transgender health coverage) for clues.
- Research Employee Resource Groups at the organization by identity.
2. Check Other Sources
- Personal network—Do you know someone who works there that you can ask?
- LinkedIn —Do any alumni work there that you can ask?
- Glassdoor—Companies Reviews Section
- Conduct a search in the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index
- Search the company in the news online: Have any employee complaints or discrimination issues come up it the company history?
3. Assess Through Application Process
- Assess the applications materials and if there are any disclosure forms/surveys
- Ask about diversity initiatives in the interview
- Are there any active diversity and inclusion initiatives you can tell me about?
- Do you have employee resource groups? What kinds?
- What is the protocol when an employee feels they have experienced unfair treatment?
- Does your company/organization provide any benefits that might be more likely to attract diverse talent?
- How do you prioritize diversity and inclusion in your hiring process?
- Is your commitment to diversity and inclusion represented in your C-Suite level? If not, how do you plan on reflecting this priority?
The decision to disclose your LGBTQA+ identity (or any intersections of your identity) to an employer at any point in the job search, interview process, or in the workplace is an entirely personal decision. We encourage you to leverage resources in your own community and Northeastern spaces such as the LGBTQA Center, Employer Engagement and Career Design, or wherever you feel most supported by peers, staff and/or faculty to talk through this decision.
Consider your personal comfort in coming out to an employer in addition to the company culture (see How do I assess employers as LGBTQA+-friendly organizations? above) to make your own informed decision.
As listed in the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission statement, it is important to note that in the United States, under the protection of Title VII, it is unlawful for an employer to ask questions about an applicant’s sex, marital status, pregnancy, medical history of pregnancy, future child bearing plans, number and/or ages of children or dependents, provisions for child care, abortions, birth control, ability to reproduce, and name or address of spouse or children.
Discussing any campus involvement or professional experience in LGBTQA+ spaces on a resume, cover letter, LinkedIn profile, or in an interview depends on your decision to disclose information about your gender identity and/or sexual orientation to an employer (see above question). Here are some suggested ways to list this type of leadership experience:
|Comfortable Disclosing||Not Comfortable Disclosing|
|Out in Business, Vice President||Diversity Business Organization, Vice President|
|Reach(OUT) LGBTQA+ Career Conference, Student Speaker||Career Conference, Student Speaker|
|Rainbow Graduation Award Recipient||Senior Recognition Award|
*Note: You may be asked to elaborate on your experiences in an interview, so be prepared to discuss your leadership experience with whatever level of disclosure you are most comfortable with. You should never feel pressured to “out” yourself in an application or on an interview.
Whether you have decided to disclose your gender and sexual identity to your supervisor or not, if you would like to join and leverage the LGBTQA+ network at work, search for your organization’s Employee Resource Groups. These groups within an organization are similar to student organizations, but in the workplace. Oftentimes, companies will have interest- and identity-based Employee Resource Groups that can be both social and resourceful. Search for a Pride or LGBTQA+ Group at your organization.
The Reach(OUT) LGBTQA+ Career Conference, now in its 6th year, focuses on the perspectives and concerns of queer, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, gender non-conforming, non-binary, intersex, and asexual students in preparation for co-op, internships, and professional life beyond campus. Students have the opportunity to hear from LGBTQA+ alumni and professionals in various industries about topics such as navigating microaggressions, corporate culture, gender presentation, etc. Additionally, students engage with their peers on these topics and meet with professionals to further discuss questions related to preparing for professional working environments.
The conference has been recognized as a finalist for the 2019 Career Leadership Collective Innovation Showcase and by the National Association of College and Employers with the 2016 Outstanding Diversity & Inclusion Program Award.
Information on dates and more details about the conference can be found on the Reach(OUT) website.
To get an understanding of what the REACH (OUT) Conference is all about and the topics that are discussed, take a look at these video highlights from the November 5, 2016, conference: