Job Searching for LGBTQ+ Students

Updating Your Resume

As we are well into Pride Month, it is a good time to talk about an important topic that is top of mind for many graduating LGBTQ+ students: job searching. Job searching for LGBTQ+ students in this political climate may sound stressful, but hopefully this guide will provide some tools to help you find safe and supportive employers.

Let’s get started with your application materials. As you start your search, you want to make sure you have your application materials ready. Aside from crafting a great resume using Smart Resume and reviewing our Effective Resumes, CVs, Cover Letters and LinkedIn Profiles Guide, you may be wondering about your name and your pronouns. Here are some answers to your questions:

1.      Should I write my legal name or chosen name?

  • You can use your chosen name on your resume.
  • I’d encourage you to also have your chosen name on your LinkedIn profile to ensure that there is consistency when a potential employer looks you up.
  • Make sure to inform your employers that you have a different legal name to ensure that they can still do an accurate background check. On some applications, there is an area where they ask if you have every used a different name where you can write in your legal name.

2.      Should I add my pronouns to my resume?

  • Anything important to you can go on your resume including your pronouns
  • You can add them anywhere, but I’d recommend at the top, under your name

3.      Will having my pronouns or chosen name on my resume impact my application?

  •  It is possible that some employers may be less supportive and inclusive, but I urge you to think about yourself when asking this question. Do you want to work for an employer that is not a safe place to work and wouldn’t be inclusive or supportive of your identity?
  • I would encourage you to use the tools outlined below to make sure you find a safe employer so that you can be your authentic self and feel safe at work.

Finding Safe, Inclusive, and Supportive Employers

After you have prepared your application materials, you’ll want to start your job search. Here are some steps you can take to make sure you are applying to employers that are safe, supportive, and inclusive of your identity:

1.      Know your rights

2.      Research the organization on the Human Rights Campaign Index

  • This will give you an idea of how supportive an employer will be, including benefits, gender affirming care, company culture, and social responsibility

3.      Review company social media, LinkedIn, website, etc. to get a feel for their LGBTQ+ support

4.      Research benefits and employee resource groups on organizational websites

5.      Research benefits on Human Rights Campaign employer search and reach out to their human resources for more information about benefits

6.      Reach out to USC Alums or current employees who currently or previously worked there  – Use LinkedIn, Trojan Network, or ask your mentors for contacts!

7.      Check how supportive the overall state is for LGBTQ+ laws and policies

  • You can look here for maps that show states that are supportive or have laws or negative policies in place
  • It is important to research this because some employers may be very supportive and welcoming, however, the state they are in is not. This means that even if they have great benefits and a supportive culture, the state laws may not allow the employer to fund or support gender affirming care


After finding the best employers and submitting your applications, you will be invited to interview. Now you may be wondering, what should I wear to this interview? Can I wear gender affirming clothes? You can wear gender affirming clothing so long as it is professional attire. I recommend looking at our Dress for Success guide to see some examples of professional dress.

I hope this article has provided you with more resources and guidance on how to find a job with a supportive employer. If you have any more questions feel free to contact us at 

By Elizabeth Banuelos-Castro
Elizabeth Banuelos-Castro