In addition to facing the regular challenges of finding a job, members of the LGBT community must wrestle with things their straight counterparts simply do not. In a great post on her Lavender Careers website, expert Sherry Platt Berman shares “5 Career Search Tips for LGBT Professionals.” Read on to see how she recommends overcoming adversity and finding professional contentment.
1. Think About How “Out” to Be — On the one hand, coming out to your coworkers will make you feel more at ease and welcome. It’s a way to avoid the low self-esteem that comes with leading a double life. Then again, outing yourself means opening yourself up to possible discrimination, and in 25 states, it might even get you fired. “Being aware of the ramifications of your decision whether or not to be open about your sexual orientation can help you make powerful choices regarding your career path,” Berman writes.
2. Research Company Policy — Where a company stands on diversity may have a big impact on whether you go work for them. By visiting websites such as the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index, you might get a sense of the anti-discrimination policies in place.
3. Do Some Interviewing of Your Own — A job interview isn’t a one-sided thing. You’ve got to ask questions of potential employers to make sure it’s a good match. Berman suggests asking to speak with reps from the company about diversity initiatives, and you might even seek out LGBT employees.
4. Examine Your Own Prejudices — As Berman writes, some LGBT individuals may limit themselves by thinking they’ll never rise to the level of CEO, or that a certain job is “too gay” or “too straight.” “Identifying your own self limiting beliefs as well as your own deeply held dreams and goals can help you break through your internal ‘pink ceiling,'” she writes.
5. Seek Out a Mentor — By finding a fellow LGBT mentor and attending networking events, you’ll feel less alone and pick up valuable insights that will help you find a job and continue advancing once you’re there.