Resources for LGBTQ+ Students

The Office of Career and Professional Development at Washington and Lee University has not vetted any of the internship and volunteer opportunity listings on this page and makes no representations or guarantees regarding any of the listed opportunities. It is the responsibility of students and alumni to do their own due diligence when applying for and accepting any of these opportunities.

Quick Links: General Career Advice | FAQs | Career Resources | Workplace Issues and Resources | Profession-Specific Organizations | Transgender-Specific Resources | On-Campus Resources

General Career Advice

  • Understand your protections against discrimination: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, or sex which includes sexual/romantic orientation and gender identity/expression. The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination based on disability. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act prohibits discrimination based on pregnancy. Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act prohibits discrimination based on genetic information.
  • Know your rights: Understand the questions employers can and cannot ask you as you proceed through the hiring process. Review a sample of allowable and prohibited questions here. Focus the conversation on your skills and abilities and what you bring to the workplace. Be aware of individual state employment laws regarding discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. See Human Rights Campaign's guide here.
  • Look for companies with a diverse population: Pay attention especially to their higher ranks. Research their stance on the LGBTQ+ community to make sure you have the opportunity to succeed in the company based on your skills and talents. Look specifically at their non-discrimination or equal employment policies.
  • Consider what role you would like your identity to play in your career: This includes thinking about joining an advocacy group or participating in smaller support groups at a company. These factors can affect your decision when choosing the right workplace.
  • Market your strengths and unique experiences gained from your LGBTQ+ identity: This can include your ability to overcome challenges in discrimination or open-mindedness for diversity. Ask detailed questions about the company's policies such as insurance and equal employment related to the LGBTQ+ community. It is also helpful to discuss experiences and network with employees who have worked there.

FAQs

Should I come out on my resume/in an interview?

  • Yes? No? Depends on you.
  • Determine what you are comfortable sharing with an employer.
  • Remember that employers often check social media -- you may inadvertently come out to them without your knowledge.
  • Putting your affiliation with LGBTQ+ on your resume affirms your values and allows you to connect with organizations that share your values. However, doing so may inadvertently screen out employers that are unsupportive of your values.

Should employment in or activity with LGBTQ+ organizations be on my resume?

  • This is completely up to you and depends on the type of job and industry you are applying to. If you are interested in joining an equal rights advocacy group, then definitely include it! Otherwise, if you don't want to share with the employer, consider creating a functional resume which groups responsibilities you have had and tasks under separate skill groups and not by organization.

When should I use my preferred name?

  • You can use your preferred name on a resume by putting it in quotation marks along with your legal name (e.g., Robert "Bobby" Doe). While it might be easier and more comfortable to use your chosen name during the interview process because that is your preference at work, use your legal name when it is requested for background checks and insurance forms. Failure to do so may be deemed as lying and considered grounds for dismissal.

How should I disclose my pronouns?

  • Not every employer will provide an opportunity to disclose the pronouns that you wish to use. If it is important to you to disclose these (i.e., you are worried others would assume the wrong pronouns), you can include them on your resume, cover letter, and/or your email signature along with your name, such as "Jane Doe (they/them/theirs)." Additionally, while it can be uncomfortable to correct someone about your pronouns in person, try practicing with trusted friends or CPD advisors to be prepared for that interaction. For example, "I noticed you referred to me as 'she' earlier. I wanted to let you know that I use 'they' pronouns. Thank you!" For additional information, visit here.

How should I dress for the interview?

  • Research the company beforehand to decide the level of formality. Dress well for the gender with which you identify. This decision can vary depending on the situation and the employer; feel free to reach out to our Career Advisors if you have questions.

How do I find information on the employer's nondiscrimination policy?

  • In addition to networking with employees and alumni who have worked there, search the company's website under sections such as "About Us" or "Mission Statement." You can also contact the company directly for more information on equal employment policies.

Career Resources

Workplace Issues and Resources

Profession-Specific Organizations

Transgender-Specific Resources

On-Campus Resources