Our country has made great progress regarding the LGBT community over the past few years, but things are still not perfect, and members of this community still often encounter discrimination from their peers and even potential employers.

When looking for a job as a member of the LGBT community, you will probably encounter some form of discrimination or questioning about your sexual identity, whether it is subtle, explicit, or entirely unintentional. However, you are not alone in this situation, and there are many examples of LGBT individuals in high profile jobs.

Whether you succeed in finding a job mainly depends on your approach to the line of work that you’re interested in. Here are few tips to keep in mind when you’re searching for your target jobs:

Find Companies That Care for LGBT Candidates

Get on the internet and search for companies that actively hire LGBT applicants or provide financial support to LGBT causes and community programs.

There are numerous firms that include LGBT support as part of their diversity initiatives. So if you fear discrimination from regular employers, seek out a company that is looking to hire diverse candidates.

Some big-time companies like Apple, Google, Deloitte, and Ernst & Young provide equal employment opportunities to members of the LGBT community. Even if you aren’t looking for a job at any of these big corporations, there are other small companies who make equal opportunity employment their priority.

Do Extensive Research

Before you apply to any company, do some background research on how they treat LGBT employees.

First, find out if their diversity initiatives and policies include measures to aid the LGBT community. Another good idea would be to search for companies with diverse employees at higher levels of management. You want to make sure that the company you’re joining will reward you for hard work, irrespective of your background, culture, and in this case, sexual preference.

If possible, try to contact existing LGBT employees in the company to which you are applying and get their perspective on the workplace culture. This will help decide whether applying for a job there is worth your time and investment.

Prepare for the Interview

Before you approach the employer for an interview, make sure you are prepared to answer the difficult questions. However, remember that your goal is to land the job, not inform a potential employer of your sexual orientation.

For this, you’ll need to figure out the impact that your sexual orientation might have on the organization’s work culture and social environment. You can communicate to your employer that you don’t want to be identified solely by your sexual preferences, but rather by the work that you’re putting in.

However, don’t keep any secrets! You should be very open with your employer/interviewer, at least in the last stages of the hiring process. Only then can you gauge their reaction and decide whether their company is the right fit for you.

If your interviewer is shocked, surprised, or changes their demeanor after you disclose your sexual identity, you need to decide whether to work in their company or look elsewhere.

If their reaction is favorable, then go ahead and pursue the job. However, you may want to be wary of interviewers who seem uncomfortable with an LGBT candidate. You don’t want to work in a company that openly or even subtly discriminates against any particular community.

Keep in mind that as an LGBT candidate, you may need to go about your job search a little differently than other people. It’s great to be open and proud, but remember, there are still narrow-minded employers out there who may not hesitate to turn down an applicant purely due to their sexual orientation. Therefore, make sure to keep the focus on your skills as a prospective employee, and how you can benefit the company, and do the background research to avoid potential toxic workplace situations.

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