Job Search Tips for Transgender and Non-Binary Persons

Finding work outside of the LGBTQIA+ community

It’s common to gain professional experience by working within the LGBTQIA+ community, but looking for work in this space exclusively can create a limited scope of employment opportunities. A “welcoming” or affirming environment can mean different things to people, but it might refer to a company that provides medical coverage, an open dress code or a diverse staff that includes other transgender and non-binary people.
Pro tip: While it can be difficult to know what the company culture will be like before you enter the workplace, the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index is a great place to start. Here, you can find a list of employers that create LGBTQIA+ inclusive environments.
Read more: How To Find an LGBTQIA+ Friendly Workplace

Deciding which name to include on a resume

As a transgender person, you may have a different name than the one assigned to you at birth. It’s possible that you’ve been able to legally change your name, or you may be in a situation where your name doesn’t match legal forms such as your driver’s license and social security card.
Pro tip: Your resume and cover letter are not legal documents, so you should include the name or nickname that you would like to go by at work—even if it is not the name you’ll use on your legal documents. Your legal name should be used on legal documents like those for pre-employment background checks, employment eligibility verification such as I-9 Forms and documents related to health insurance.
If you’ve decided to change your name legally but don’t know how, the Transgender Law Center’s State-by-State Overview for changing gender markers on birth certificates is a great place to start. The National Center for Transgender Equality also has useful resources to help you learn more about the name change process in each state.

Setting expectations for pronouns

As a transgender or gender-nonconforming individual, you may prefer to use pronouns like “he/him/his,” “she/her/hers,” “they/them/theirs” or “ze/hir.” While this choice might be a central part of your identity, it can still be difficult to know when and how to set the expectation for preferred pronouns in the job application process.
Pro tip: To reinforce your pronouns, consider adding them across all of your job application documents including below your name on your resume and in your cover letter in parentheses after your name and email signature. Latham often reminds clients that, “if someone doesn’t want to interview you or hire you because of your pronouns, it’s better to know that before you get further along in the application process.”
Related: Allyship at Work: What Is Gender Identity?
In a professional interview, it’s usually best to assume that misgendering is a mistake and not done purposefully. If this happens in your interview, here’s a simple tactic you can take to be an advocate for yourself in a professional way and get the interview back on track:
Politely correct the interviewer immediately after the wrong pronoun is used by saying something like, “Actually, it’s Ms. not Mr.” or “Actually, I use he/him pronouns.” Offer a kind smile and move forward with the interview.
In reality, the interviewer may be embarrassed by their mistake, so the goal is to correct the situation quickly, allow an apology and shift the focus back to showcasing your relevant experience and skills.
By Jennifer Herrity, Indeed Author
Jennifer Herrity, Indeed Author