Ashley Rizzotto works in the Office of Career Development with current undergraduate students, graduate students and alumni to ensure the confidence and success of those she meets with.
“Should LGBT-related activities be included on the resume? Should your sexual orientation be mentioned on your resume or in a cover letter?”
In writing your resume, consider your audience ahead of time. Ask yourself, “Is it important for me to be out in the workplace?” If so, being forward with the relevant work or volunteer experiences working within the LGBTQIA community can help you identify employers that will be accepting and provide a safe space for you. When conducting research on the work environment, ask yourself “Is it likely this organization will look favorably upon LGBTQIA+ activities?” If you are concerned it may be an environment that is not friendly, you may choose to omit some experiences, to be minimalistic with the information or to move on to another company that would be more welcoming.
No matter the approach you choose, focus on the transferable skills you have developed. When it comes to coming out on the resume, it is your choice to keep or downplay LGBTQIA+ affiliated organizations or experiences.
If you’d like a more private approach, but want to include an experience, you can abbreviate the title of the organization, for example:
YouthSAFE – Queer NC as an organization, can be abbreviated to “YouthSAFE”
Bullet points should be skill-oriented and can address the populations you assisted, so if you were writing:
- Organized annual LGBTQIA Leadership Summit for 30 students
- Facilitated educational workshops on sexual identity and coming out
You can take a private approach by removing LGBTQIA and focus on skills, so it could look more like:
- Organized annual Leadership Summit for 30 students
- Facilitated educational workshops on identity development and community education
If you opt to do this and are asked by employer “What is YouthSAFE?” you can respond with a simple explanation such as “YouthSAFE is an anti-discriminatory organization” if you don’t feel comfortable sharing the details of the organization.
Most importantly, you should always feel comfortable claiming your experiences and achievements. Include LGBTQIA+ specific awards, scholarships, advocacy work or involvement in LGBTQIA+ student organizations in ways that are comfortable to you and make you proud.
This article focuses on sexual orientation and identity expression, but if you have questions relating to navigating the job search in regards to being genderfluid, non-binary or dealing with any identity matter that you aren’t sure of how to proceed, consider visiting the Office of Career Development. We are here to see you, hear you and support you.
*Credit to University of Texas at Austin for the inspiration for this article.