Career Resources for LGBTQ+ Students
How can the URI Center for Career and Experiential Education (CCEE) help you? Explore this page to find out! As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, it’s important to understand your own identity development and determine how you can connect with resources, experiences, and people that can support you in your career development.
LGBTQ+ students and alumni can experience unique considerations during the job and internship search and in the workplace. Your identities bring unique assets and strengths into the workplace. Consider the qualities or skills you’ve developed from challenges that you’ve overcome or nuanced understanding you’ve gained by nature of your identity. We (CCEE Career Education Specialists) will work individually with you in a supportive and nonjudgmental way to help you unpack, identify, and explore your career interests, values, and goals.
CCEE is committed to Social Justice, Equity, and Inclusion. Interested in learning about our plans and actions around diversity and social justice? Take a look at our CCEE’s 2021 JEDI Strategic Plan. We are also members of the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) and share in their commitment to developing and supporting a robustly diverse, equitable, and inclusive community.
We are committed to supporting you with:
- one-on-one appointments with your Career Education Specialist (CES)
- curated resources for navigating the workplace
- cultivating relationships with employers that have a commitment to social justice, equity, diversity and inclusion in the workplace
Want to talk to someone about this page?
Searching for a job or internship is an important part of your career development. Jobs and internships, especially those you work while in college, will enable you to develop the professional skills and experience you need to make the transition from college to career upon graduation. There are many resources and techniques for searching for an internship and we recommend checking out your specific Career Cluster page for resources, however here are some additional specific resources for LGTBQ+ students.
Evaluating and researching potential employers
First, make sure to identify what you are looking for in your own job search. You might want to ask yourself the following:
- What do you want to do for your career?
- What interests and skills can you contribute to a workplace?
- What interests or skills would you or do you want to develop?
- Who do you want around you?
- What kind of work environment is best for you?
- Where do you want to be in the world?
- How does your family or community impact the process?
- Not sure how to answer any of these questions? Visit our TypeFocus Work Environment Module.
FAQs for LGBTQ+ Students during Job or Internship Search
Should I come out during a job or internship search?
The decision to come out is up to you and is based upon how comfortable you are disclosing that information. There is no requirement to do so during the job or internship search process. If you do decide to come out, you can do it in your resume, via your cover letter, during an interview, or after you start working for an organization. Make sure you discuss the status of your disclosure with your references so they will speak appropriately on your behalf if contacted by potential employers.
For more information, visit the Human Rights Campaign resource Coming Out at Work
How can I find a LGBTQ+ friendly company or organization?
It’s important for all job seekers to do research to find companies and organizations that are a good fit for them based on their values and interests. For LGBTQ+ candidates, here are some things to look for.
- Is the company known for being inclusive and diverse?
- Does the company publicly support LGBTQ+ initiatives?
- Does the company show a commitment to diversity in its mission statement?
- Does the company offer benefits to same-sex partners or spouses?
- Is diversity or cultural awareness training offered to employees?
- Does the company conduct and promote inclusive groups and events for LGBTQ+ employees?
- Does the company have non-discrimination policies in place that cover gender identity and expression?
- Will I feel safe and included at this organization?
- Does the company’s healthcare provider provide coverage for trans employees, does the insurance cover gender-affirming surgery, and are trans-affirming providers available?
- More more information, visit: Transgender-Inclusive Benefits for Employees and Dependents
- Is the company’s gender marker and name change policy available and can employees effectively navigate the process?
- Are there unisex/gender-neutral bathrooms? (Note: you can look out for this during an in-person interview or tour of the workplace).
Where can you find answers to those questions?
- Visit the company website – Does the company have LGBTQ+ resources or programs featured? Does the company provide a non-discrimination policy or diversity statement? Policies are often listed in the Careers, Jobs, About Us, or diversity-specific sections of websites.
- Speak with your professional network – Talk to people that work in that industry to see if they are aware of the organization’s policies or reputation. Also, connect with people at the organization to learn more about LGBTQ+-related programs and policies.
- Ask questions during your interview – Direct questions to company employees related to workplace culture, and if you want to be specific, inquire about LGBTQ+ policies, resources, and groups.
- Consult the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index – This resource is a valuable tool that assesses companies on LGBTQ+ policies, practices, and benefits
- Read reviews on career-related websites – Do your research to see what people are saying about the company, including its LGBTQ+ presence, on websites such as Glassdoor.com, Indeed.com, and LinkedIn.com. You can also explore professionals that work at different companies and organizations through LinkedIn’s Alumni Finder tool (for more information, visit our Networking Module).
- Ask recruiters from companies – How do recruiters and employees respond when asked about diversity, inclusion, and social justice? Can they give you an example of ways the organization promotes diversity and/or combats discrimination?
How should I dress for an interview?
For the interview, you should dress professionally and for the gender you wish to be seen as. It’s up to you to decide if you are comfortable disclosing information related to your LGBTQ+ status. Keep in mind that the focus of any interview should be on your skills, qualifications and value that you will bring to the job/organization rather than your sexual orientation or gender identity. For more information about interviewing, visit our Interviewing Module.
Do I need to use my legal name throughout the job search process?
You are not required to use your legal name on application documents such as your resume and cover letter. You can use your chosen name on these documents. Some people choose to use their first initial followed by their chosen name, and then last name. You can also list a “prior name” in materials, including job applications.
You can also use your chosen name in your social media and LinkedIn, which is a professional social media networking platform. Be purposeful in how you engage with social media, especially when it comes to your chosen name and how you prefer to present yourself. Many employers search for potential candidates on social media and what they find can influence their hiring decisions. When conducting a job search, try to be consistent with how you present yourself.
You will need to use your legal name for applications that request your legal name and processes involving background checks, social security documents, and insurance forms. If you have taken steps to legally change your name, then you may use your new legal name for these purposes. Remember that Human Resources managers are required to maintain confidentiality, but there is always some risk of disclosure. You should consult with the HR department at the organization regarding their policies, as many allow employees to use their chosen name for company email addresses and company directories.
If you are submitting materials, such as a portfolio or publications that you created under another name, you can include a notation that the materials were created by you under a previous name.
For more information, review this helpful article: Navigating Gender Identity and Expression During a Job Search
How do I share my pronouns/make my pronouns known?
Introduce yourself with your name and pronouns instead of waiting for someone to ask you. You can also put your pronouns on your resume and/or cover letter.
What do I do if someone misgenders me/uses the incorrect name or pronoun/asks questions about my identity?
Make the person aware of their mistake and correct or inform them of your pronouns. Share what you are comfortable sharing about your identity. You may also tell them “I am not comfortable answering questions about my gender and/or sexuality.” For more information, visit: HRC: Talking About Pronouns in the Workplace
What if my references don’t know I’m trans? What if they don’t know I’ve changed my name/transitioned? Or, What if my references do know I’m trans, but I don’t want new employers to know right now?
You have three options. You may choose one of these strategies, or a combination, depending on your situation:
- Talk to your references. Explain that you’re applying for jobs and you’d like to continue to list them as a reference, but that it’s very important they refer to you by the name and pronoun you use now. This option can seem intimidating, especially if you’ve been out of touch for a while, but it’s often worth a try. If they respect you and your work, they may be willing to learn about your new situation and support you in your job search.
- Talk to potential employers. Explain that even though you go by a particular name and pronoun now, people from your past may not be aware of this and may refer to you by another name. Ask them to help maintain your privacy when they call your references, by using the name and pronoun with each reference that you provide to them.If you are concerned about your former supervisors or colleagues knowing about your transition, make sure to clarify to the hiring manager or the person who will be calling your references that you do not want other employees to hear about your new name and/or gender.
- Use new references. If coming out to references or employers is not an option for you, you may need to find new references. This option is particularly useful if you’re switching careers and/or it’s been a long time since you worked. Some ways to get new references are volunteering, working in unpaid internships, and taking classes where your teachers can serve as references. This does not mean you’re starting over. Your new supervisor may be able to speak to skills/experiences that you acquired in previous jobs, especially if you’re staying in the same field of work. No matter which option you choose, you can also have a friend call your references and pretend to be an employer to double check that your references will get it right.
LGBTQ+ Internship and Job Search Websites/Resources
- 55 LGBTQ+ Job Search & Career Resources: LGBTQ+ job search resources for different geographies/locations, recent grads, and specific industries.
In addition to the resources on your Career Cluster Page, there are a variety of LGBTQ+ focused websites you can use to search to support your career development.
- Pink Jobs: LGBT, gay friendly jobs and candidates
- Campus Pride Jobs: Job Board for Campus Pride, which represents the leading national nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization for student leaders and campus groups working to create a safer college environment for LGBTQ students
- LGBT Connect: Connects employers with the LGBT community
- Out and Equal: Main focus is to help connect organizations that support and value diversity and inclusion within the workplace
- Out for Work: Supports LGBTQ students as they transition into the workplace
- Pro Gay Jobs: A site dedicated to helping LGBTQ candidates find positions with companies committed to diversity in the workplace
- Indeed.com and Idealist.org: Search jobs using keywords like “LGBTQ” or “gender” to find LGBTQ+ work and organizations
Gain Even More Experience
There are so many ways to gain experience before you graduate! In addition to internships, consider:
Resume & Cover Letter
Your resume and cover letter should highlight the most important information relevant to the specific job to which you are applying, which is why every resume and cover letter you write will be different. You will want to showcase projects, classes, and internship experience. You can also include work you have done that is related to LGBTQ+ initiatives, social justice, diversity, and inclusion. We recommend taking a look at your specific Career Cluster page to view sample resumes from your major and for industry specific resume formatting advice. For your reference below, we have also included links to important resume and cover letter resources including professional development modules, quick tip sheets, and videos. Lastly, you can refer to a sample resume and cover letter that showcase how a student highlighted their experience in LGBTQ+ on and off campus.
FAQs for LGBTQ+ students related to resumes and cover letters
Should I come out in my resume or cover letter?
The decision to come out is up to you and is based upon how comfortable you are disclosing that information. There is no right or wrong answer to this question, and no requirement to do so during the job or internship search process. All application materials should be customized for the specific position to which you are applying. If you do decide to disclose your sexual orientation or gender identity in your resume or cover letter through your work and experience with LGTBQ+ organizations or initiatives, make sure you showcase the skills (leadership, problem solving, critical thinking, communication, etc.) you have developed and illustrate how they apply to the opportunity.
Conduct research on the organization to determine its company culture, as that can affect your decision. You never know who will review your resume and what biases they possess, so some candidates don’t disclose select information during the initial application process. Remember, you can always ask questions about diversity, inclusion, and company culture during the interview.
For more information, visit the Human Rights Campaign resource Coming Out at Work
What name should I use on my resume?
You are not required to use your legal name on application documents such as your resume and cover letter. You can use your chosen name on these documents. Some people choose to use their first initial followed by their chosen name, and then their last name. Keep in mind that a resume is one of the first interactions you’ll have with a potential employer, so using a name that aligns with your identity will guide the employer to see you in that way.
You will need to use your legal name for processes involving background checks, social security documents, and insurance forms. You should consult with the HR department at the organization regarding their policies, as many allow employees to use their chosen name for company email addresses and company directories.
How can I word LGBTQ+ experience on my resume?
If you are open to sharing your (actual or perceived) sexual orientation or gender identity and connection with LGBTQ+ initiatives and experiences, you can provide specific examples that reflect your affiliations such as: Intern, URI Gender and Sexuality Center; or Coordinator, LGBTQ+ Pride Week.
If you prefer not to disclose your (actual or perceived) sexual orientation or gender identity and connection with LGBTQ+ initiatives and experiences, you can still present the work you did on your resume. You can list organizations by an acronym or use a generic term to describe them, such as: Intern, Diversity Student Campus Group: or Coordinator, MSSC Campus Event. If you use acronyms, know that you may be asked to define/explain them in an interview. Another option is to omit LGBTQ-related experience on your resume.
Can I include jobs and experience on my resume that I completed under a different name or before I transitioned?
Yes, you should include that information (as long as it is relevant for the job to which you are applying). The fact that you transitioned doesn’t mean you start over regarding your professional skills and experience. You can include content on your resume without granting permission to contact your former supervisor or employer. (Keep in mind that a potential employer may do an internet search, so you should be prepared to address what they might find regarding your identity.) If the potential employer is trans-friendly, you can tell them why you don’t want them to contact the former employer or you can provide the name and contact information for a former coworker that worked there and is aware of your transition.
Should I include my pronouns on my resume?
Adding your pronouns to your resume is a personal decision. Review the following resources to determine if you want to include your pronouns on your resume and how to do so. https://www.mypronouns.org/ and https://www.topresume.com/career-advice/pronouns-on-resume
LGBTQ+ CONNECTIONS AND RESOURCES
Throughout your career, creating and building your network will be important to your advancement and success within your field. Below are a variety of LGBTQ+ and diversity-related resources that may be helpful to you as you build your support system as a URI student.
- Office of Community, Equity & Diversity: The Office of Community, Equity and Diversity strives to create a diverse, equitable, and inclusive University in which every individual can learn, work, and thrive.
- URI Gender and Sexuality Center: The Gender and Sexuality Center prides itself on providing Education, Engagement, and Support for the URI campus community and beyond.
- Careers for the Common Good Education Panel: Hear from URI employer partners that share their commitments to diverse hiring practices
- Out and Proud at URI: Out and Proud at URI promotes the visibility of URI’s LGBTQ and Allied Faculty and Staff, and encourages mentoring, awareness, and networking. Our goal is to increase our sense of community and to let our LGBTQ students, staff and faculty know that they are well supported and not alone here at URI.
- URI Department of Gender and Women’s Studies: Study Gender and Women’s Studies at URI and transform the way you think about yourself, others, and the world. Consider how gender intersects with race, class, ethnicity, sexuality, and other characteristics to share our lives.
LinkedIn is a professional social media platform that allows you to identify and connect with people, companies, and groups to build your professional community. Consider requesting informational interviews with contacts you identify through to build your relationship with your LinkedIn connections.
The LinkedIn Alumni Finder Tool is a great resource that can help you find URI alumni anywhere in the world! You can search for alumni based on your interests and career goals. Check out the link to the LinkedIn Alumni Finder Tool and Tip #1 on this LinkedIn Quick Tip Sheet.
FINDING A MENTOR
The value of a good mentor is priceless. A Management Mentors survey found that 80% of the CEOs it polled had mentors and they attributed their access to insider knowledge, power, and fast-tracked careers to having mentors. The links below teach you how to find and build a relationship with a great mentor of your own. Try to find a mentor that you can connect with about making the transition from college to the professional world, working in a specific job or industry, or navigating the workplace as a LGBTQ+ professional.
- A Guide to Understanding the Role of a Mentor
- Science of Mentorship | Shawn Blanchard TEDx Talk
- How To Find a Great Mentor | Tips for College Students, Recent Grads, and Young Professionals
- How to be a Star Mentee Quick Tip Sheet
- URI CareerConnect: Connects undergraduate students with alumni who want to provide personal career coaching and assist in expanding a students’ professional network. It’s a great way to find a mentor!
UNIQUE CAREER CONSIDERATIONS AND ASSETS FOR LGBTQ+ STUDENTS AND PROFESSIONALS
As a LGBTQ+ individual and employee, your identities bring unique assets and strengths into the workplace. Consider the qualities or skills you’ve developed from challenges that you’ve overcome or nuanced understanding you’ve gained by nature of your identity. Some unique concerns that LGBTQ+ have conveyed include:
- being the only or one of a few LGBTQ+ person(s) in a workplace
- often having to cover or downplay aspects of their authentic selves (e.g., by hiding personal relationships or changing the way they dress or speak) in order to avoid discrimination (includes code switching, which is shifting the language they use or the way they express themselves in conversations)
- facing the threat of discrimination against in the workplace without legal protection (LGBTQ+ identities are not protected classes under federal law in the same way race, sex, religion, national origin, age, and disability are – to learn more about states and their anti-discrimination policies, visit the State Equality Index)
- encountering lack of respect by being addressed by non preferred pronouns and/or not being able to access restrooms that are consistent with their gender identities
- learning how to deal with unconscious bias and stereotyping (implicit bias) throughout their career journeys
- enduring workplace harassment and possible feelings of being unsafe in the workplace
What You Should Know: The EEOC and Protections for LGBT Workers
Click here for more information
We (CCEE Career Education Specialists) will work individually with you to help you unpack, identify, and explore your career interests, values, goals, and workplace experiences. If you have questions and would like to connect with a career professional about LGBTQ+ content specifically, contact Lisa Kuosmanen. We also encourage you to connect with people in your emerging professional community, including networking contacts and mentors, about these considerations.
LGBTQ+ Professional and Academic Resources
Additional LGBTQ+ focused websites and related resources you can use to search to support your overall academic and career development.
- URI Gender and Sexuality Center FAQs: Answers to common questions related to the URI LGBTQ+ community.
- Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index – A valuable tool that assesses companies on LGBTQ+ policies, practices, and benefits
- Human Rights Campaign: America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve LGBTQ equality
- Human Rights Campaign State Equality Index: A comprehensive state-by-state report that provides a review of statewide laws and policies that affect LGBTQ people and their families
- LGBTQ Professional and Student Associations: A listing of professional and student organizations listed by industry
- Queer in AI: Queer in AI’s mission is to raise awareness of queer issues in AI/ML, foster a community of queer researchers and celebrate the work of queer scientists.
- Out Professionals: The nation’s leading LGBTQ networking organization
- National Center for Lesbian Rights: LGBTQ people, especially transgender people and LGBTQ people of color, experience high rates of discrimination and harassment in the workplace. For many years, NCLR has been fighting to secure equal treatment of LGBTQ people in the workplace through litigation, policy, and legislation.
- Transgender Workplace Law and Diversity: A blog related to the legal, political, and policy issues of LGBT workplace diversity
- National Center for Transgender Equality: Social justice organziation dedicated to advancing the equality of transgender people through advocay and empowerment
- Out for Work: Supports LGBTQ students as they transition into the workplace
- Lambda Legal: National organization aimed at achieving full recognition of civil rights for GLBTQ individuals
- Out and Equal: Out & Equal is the premier organization working exclusively on LGBTQ workplace equality
- Pride at Work: Pride At Work represents LGBTQ union members and their allies. We organize mutual support between the organized Labor Movement and the LGBTQ Community to further social and economic justice.
- Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals: Includes job listings for college and university positions
- FinAid.org: List of Financial Aid Links for LGBTQ+ students
- NGLLC – National LBGT Chamber of Commerce: A non-profit advocacy organization dedicated to expanding economic opportunities and advancements for members of the LGBTQ community
- 39 LGBTQ+ STEM Innovators and Resources: Includes some of the most inspiring, innovative individuals and organizations making a difference for the LGBTQ+ tech community.
- Resources for LGBTQ Professionals in Tech : This resource covers the importance of STEM careers being more inclusive to LGBTQ employees, and ways this can be achieved
The following are scholarships available to LGBTQ+ students.
- Lipsky/Whittaker Scholarship Fund: The Lipsky/Whittaker Scholarships are awarded to Rhode Island youth who identify as a member of the LGBTQ+ community. This scholarship serves individuals up to 24 years old.
- Stonewall Foundation: The Stonewall Community Foundation partners with donors to provide scholarships for LGBTQ+ students.
- Human Rights Campaign: LGBTQ Student Scholarship Database
- Point Foundation: LGBTQ+ undergraduate or graduate students enrolled full time at a four-year accredited college or university in the United States are encouraged to apply.
- Live Out Loud Scholarship: Through this scholarship, LGBTQ+ youth can apply for funds to pay for education-related expenses to pursue a degree from an accredited college, university, or technical/vocational program. Students must be from New York, Connecticut, or New Jersey.
- Traub-Dicker Rainbow Scholarship: The Traub-Dicker Rainbow Scholarship was established by Peggy Traub and Phyllis Dicker to encourage and support women-identified lesbians in their pursuit of higher education.
- Wayne F. Placek Grants: The Wayne F. Placek Grant encourages research to increase the general public’s understanding of homosexuality and sexual orientation, and to alleviate the stress that lesbian women, gay men, bisexual women, bisexual men and transgender individuals experience in this and future civilizations.
- Victory Congressional Internships: The Victory Institute’s Victory Congressional Internship is developing the next generation of out public leaders. Each semester, the Victory Congressional Internship brings outstanding LGBTQ undergraduate students to Washington, DC, for an intensive leadership program.
- Pride Foundation: This scholarship program supports students who: Show leadership potential either within the LGBTQ community or within their field of study, Lack a broader LGBTQ community support system, Face additional barriers to educational access, including students who are economically, racially, socially, geographically, or politically disenfranchised, Demonstrate significant financial need.
- Rainbow Scholarship: The Rainbow Scholarship awards deserving lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) students who aim to participate in high-quality, rigorous education abroad programs. To be considered for the Rainbow Scholarship, applicants must self-identify on the Fund for Education Abroad (FEA) scholarship application.
- NOGLSTP Out to Innovate Scholarship for LGBTQ+ Students in STEM: The Out to Innovate™ Scholarships, established in 2011, are intended for LGBTQ+ undergraduate and graduate students pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) programs. The scholarships are designed to promote academic excellence and increased visibility of talented LGBTQ+ students in STEM careers.
- National Gay Pilots Association: NGPA is proud to have given away over $750,000 in scholarships to aspiring aviators to help them become safer, more qualified members of the worldwide aviation community.
- Kay Longcope Scholarship Award: NGPA is proud to have given away over $750,000 in scholarships to aspiring aviators to help them become safer, more qualified members of the worldwide aviation community.
- Gamma Mu Foundation: The Gamma Mu Scholarships Program provides support to gay men who want to further their education at a college, university, or vocational or professional training program.
- GSBA Scholarship Fund: GSBA awards educational scholarships to LGBTQ and straight-ally students who are committed to making a difference in the world.
- Center for LGBTQ Studies Duberman-Zal Fellowship: An endowed fellowship named for CLAGS founder and first executive director, Martin Duberman, and partner, Eli Zal, this fellowship is awarded to a graduate student, an independent scholar, or an adjunct from any country doing scholarly research on the lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender/queer (LGBTQ) experience.
- Colin Higgins Youth Courage Award: The Colin Higgins Foundation is dedicated to supporting LQBTQ youth in underserved communities and the programs and organizations that foster and build their leadership and empowerment.
- Asian and Pacific Islander Queer Women and Transgender Community (APIQWTC) Scholarship: The APIQWTC scholarship supports queer Asian and Pacific Islander women and transgender people in their pursuit of technical/professional training or higher education.
- College Scholarships.org: List of LGBTQ+ scholarships