What I Learned at the LGBTQ Out for Work Networking Conference!
I was fortunate enough to attend the Out for Work LGBTQ Networking Conference in Chicago, IL at the end of September. Not only did I LOVE Chicago as a whole (think best of NYC and Boston together), but I made amazing networking connections with some truly progressive corporate companies.
The most beneficial component of the conference was when I had a one hour resume critique, and general advice session, with one of Google’s employees. She gave me some incredible advice that most anyone would benefit from:
- Don’t use more than one line of text for any bullet
- Limit yourself to 3 or fewer bullets for any job/experience
- Focus on the impact of what you did–not just what you did
- Choose verbs that reflect the skill you employed–avoid generic ones
- Don’t list a skill in your skills section that you already described earlier
- List some of your personal interests if they are good talking points
- Create an additional activities and an additional work experience section to list experiences that may be good talking points in an interview, but are not important enough to emphasize on your resume
- Create white space wherever possible to facilitate easy scanning
A key focus of the conference was coming to work as your authentic self. While this is important for everybody, LGBTQ individuals may struggle with how, and if, to come out to their coworkers. This isn’t only mentally unhealthy, but also deters that person’s ability to be productive; the employee and employer both lose out. Seeking a company that offers LGBTQ benefits, has an accepting culture, offers resources, has a diversity group, and/or allows one to express his/her gender identity is an important component in the job search process.
A key takeaway I learned was to come out at work as soon as possible. This will allow your coworkers to get to know you as the real you, prevent awkward conversations, prevent the need to lie about your personal life, and ultimately make you a more productive employee. People respect honesty and authenticity. If you’re continuously discriminated against at work for your gender identity or sexual orientation, you might be working for the wrong company. It’s important to research a company’s policies/culture, or to specifically inquire about them if it’s a smaller company, before you sign your employment contract. HRC’s Corporate Equality Index is a fantastic resource that rates corporation’s LGBTQ friendliness and policies.
The level of passion companies like Google, Lockheed Martin, Verizon, Hilton, Nordstrom, and Walgreens (along with many more companies) demonstrated was truly touching. These large corporations are actively seeking LGBTQ talent; take advantage of the plethora of networking opportunities that are available. Check out Lockheed Martin’s amazing “It Gets Better” video at the end of this post.
Lastly, check out Babson’s LGBTQ resources and feel free to reach out to me with any questions!