How to Manage a Job Search as a Transgender Candidate

Searching for a job can be a real struggle. Finding the perfect position and then making your way through the submission and interview stages can be a nightmare. It’s not as easy as simply clicking the “apply” button. You have to perfect your resume, clean up your social media, and impress the hiring manager.

Now, imagine doing all that as a transgender candidate, especially in a climate where you might not feel comfortable being your authentic self. It’s much harder for you to find work, and the truth is in the numbers. The unemployment rate for transgender candidates is 14%, double that of the population as a whole. Even in a world that is becoming more enlightened, there are still struggles. 

But all is not lost. To increase your odds of getting that dream job, consider these tips.

Finding a Suitable Job

Unless you have a specific company in mind, finding the right job can be tough. For transgender individuals, an additional issue is finding a company that will treat you as an equal, no matter where you are in your transition. As a first step, ask friends and family for recommendations. By networking with people you trust, you can find available jobs with companies that celebrate diversity.

Outside of your friends, you can also do your own research. When you find a job with a company that interests you, take a look at their website. Many companies like 3M and American Airlines are very open to the LGBTQIA+ community and share this enthusiasm on their website. When looking up a company, see if they have a section of their site that covers diversity and LGBTQIA+ employees.

You may also want to investigate what insurance the company offers, especially around whether or not they help to cover gender reassignment or other hormone therapies. Many modern insurance companies already offer hormone replacement therapies for a variety of conditions, such as menopause, so HRT might not be a far cry in terms of coverage. This commitment to adding options to the insurance plans they offer shows that both employers and insurance companies are starting to place a much higher value on diversity. 

Finally, take advantage of programs that offer job assistance specifically to those in the LGBTQIA+ community. The Trans Employment Program can help you polish your job searching skills, and they host networking events set up specifically for transgender applicants. Transgender job fairs are also popping up all over the country, so search online for one near you.

Keep Your Name Consistent

One part of the job search that many transgender people worry about is their name. From your resume to your background check, there are many different forms associated with a job search. The key is to be consistent. The best advice is to either keep your birth name on all of your documents and tell the interviewer your preferred name and pronouns once you make contact, or take the time to legally change your name first, and use that on all of your documents going forward. 

If you go with the latter option and change your name prior to applying, make sure to inform your professional references of the change, as well as your preferred pronouns. You should also use the same name on your social media profiles.

Regardless of the name you choose, you’ll want your resume to be up to snuff. Your resume should include a short employment summary, strong verbs that make powerful statements about past job skills, and achievements that you’re especially proud of. If you increased company revenue or received a special award, include that. 

Do Not Tolerate Bullying

It’s illegal for an employer to discriminate against anyone based on their age, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, or disability. There aren’t many laws associated specifically with the transgender community, but if you’re turned down or declined an interview, and it’s not based on your qualifications or lack thereof, you can take legal action. 

Once you have the job, you are further protected against any form of workplace harassment or bullying, including being excluded from activities or becoming the subject of harmful jokes. Workplace bullying is becoming more commonplace, and if you leave work feeling hurt, defeated, or worse, then you need to take the proper legal actions.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission exists to enforce the federal laws that defend those in protected classes. If you face any issue, you can file a formal complaint on their public portal.

Keep in mind that if an interviewer calls you by the incorrect name or pronoun, it’s not always intended to be offensive. If this happens during the interview, politely interject and remind them of the name and pronouns that you prefer. If the actions continue, then consider a complaint.

Always remember that you are worthy of the same level of respect and acceptance as everyone else, no matter their background or your own. Heed the tips above and use the resources in your community to find the perfect position.

Image Source: Unsplash

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