job search

As if searching for a job weren’t hard enough, LGBT individuals are forced to decide whether to “out” themselves to potential employers. There are a few ways this can be done, and there are pros and cons across the board. While no one should have to hide who they are, not all companies embrace diversity, and coming out on a resume or during an interview carries significant risks. Fortunately, the folks a Stanford University’s Career Development Center, which earned Out for Work’s Gold Level of certification for completing the 2013 LGBTQ Career Center Certification Program Assessment, have compiled some great tips for LGBT workers facing this tough decision. Read on for a summary of the CDC’s advice.

The Resume — As per the CDC, divulging info regarding sexual orientation on resume is a “personal choice.” That said, the resume may land you an interview, and since the first one is usually just a “screening interview” to vet potential employees, the CDC recommends not revealing anything about your sexual orientation at this time. “If you feel this is necessary, understand that you may not receive a favorable response,” the center warns. At the same time, would you want to work for a company that’s not tolerant of your lifestyle?

Mentioning LGBT-Related Job Skills — There’s a potential upside to mentioning job skills you picked up working with an LGBT organization. On the one hand, the CDC writes, you’ll feel like you’re being honest with the company. On the other hand, if the company you’re interviewing with isn’t gay-friendly, you might be passed over for the job. Either way, be sure you can tie the skills you reference back to the job you’re applying for.

Searching for “Gay-Friendly Environments” — How do you know whether you’re interviewing with a gay-friendly company? There are a few ways. First, reach out to alumni from your college, if possible, and check to see whether the company offers domestic-partner benefits. Do they have an LGBT employee association? Does the anti-discrimination policy cover sexual orientation? Does the company offer diversity training? Do they have a history of supporting LGBT causes? While you can generally obtain this information by asking “subtle questions” during an interview, the center offers a word of caution: “One should note that although an organization may have progressive policies, these will not always safeguard you from a biased interviewer,” the CDC writes.