We asked five professionals, including CEOs and a Co-Founder, for their best advice for LGBTQ+ college and university students embarking on their early career journey. From connecting with LGBTQ+ professional organizations to utilizing LGBTQ+ job boards and resources, these leaders share their top tips for securing internships and jobs after graduation.
Connect with LGBTQ+ Professional Organizations
I’d highly recommend connecting with national LGBTQ+ organizations in your field. For example, there’s Out in Tech for tech professionals, the National LGBTQ+ Bar Association for those interested in the legal field, or the Association of LGBTQ Journalists for aspiring journalists.
If you can’t find an organization in your particular field, there are other groups like the Pride Network and the National LGBTQ+ Chamber of Commerce that organize networking events.
Taking advantage of the resources these groups offer can both help you land a job or internship and build a support network within the LGBTQ+ professional community.
Eva Chan, Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Senior Content Specialist, Resume Genius
Seek Genuine DEIB Initiatives
See “generic diversity pages” as a red flag. Most businesses claim they value diversity, but many don’t follow through with real action. You want to find a team that makes genuine efforts to build DEIB initiatives and shares the details of those efforts on their company site.
Look for dedicated initiatives and testimonials straight from the mouths of diverse teammates. When those employees are saying great things about the employer, it indicates that they’re moving beyond all the talk and making real efforts to build an inclusive culture of support.
Brian Nagele, CEO, Restaurant Clicks
Prioritize Inclusive Health Benefits
Look for health and wellness benefits that are inclusive of diverse needs and offer a suite of wellness, health, and family-building supports and opportunities to their team.
When a company offers limited benefits that leave underrepresented groups out, the message is loud and clear. Whether you plan to stick around for a short internship or a long career, you should only choose employers who recognize differing health and wellness needs and are willing to spend to take care of every teammate!
Paul Kushner, CEO, My Bartender
Target LGBTQ+-Friendly Locations
Research cities and regions that are known for their LGBTQ+ friendliness and inclusive work environments. Targeting these areas for your job search can increase your chances of finding supportive employers.
Look for cities with strong LGBTQ+ communities, legal protections, and LGBTQ+-friendly policies. For example, San Francisco, New York City, and Seattle are known for their progressive stance on LGBTQ+ rights and have numerous employers that actively support diversity and inclusion.
By focusing on LGBTQ+-friendly locations, you can align your career goals with supportive work environments and increase your chances of finding satisfying opportunities.
Roy Lau, Co-Founder, 28 Mortgage
Utilize LGBTQ+ Job Boards and Resources
Consider utilizing LGBTQ+ specific job boards and resources. For instance, one example could be the website “Out in Tech,” which connects LGBTQ+ individuals with tech-related jobs and internships. These specialized platforms cater specifically to the unique needs and experiences of LGBTQ+ professionals, providing a supportive environment where they can find opportunities that align with their goals.
By utilizing these resources, LGBTQ+ students can increase their chances of finding inclusive workplaces that not only value diversity but also actively promote a safe space for them to thrive professionally. Furthermore, these platforms often offer networking events and mentorship programs tailored to the LGBTQ+ community, allowing individuals to build connections and gain valuable advice from others who have faced similar challenges.
Overall, leveraging such specialized resources can greatly enhance the success of LGBTQ+ students in securing promising early-career opportunities.
Steve Dinelli, Founder, MarketerInterview.com