Résumés and Interviews
If you've been active in a GLBT group, how should you document this on your resume? It depends on how you answered the questions above. Those who feel strongly about being out sometimes use their resume or cover letter as a way of "screening out" non-supportive employers. (To help determine if an employer has formal policies supportive of GLBT employees, see the section on "Researching Employers")
For those who do not want to be "outed" early on in the job hunt, a simple strategy is to not include any reference to any GLBT organizations or affiliations. However, employers and graduate schools want to know how you've spent your time and the skills you have developed outside of the classroom. If you were the president of a GLBT student organization with 50 active members, and organized an annual conference or speaker series, you have gained leadership and organizational skills that are of real value to a potential employer!
As with other potentially controversial organizations, such as religious groups, you may choose to focus on the skills and accomplishments you developed rather than the affiliation. You could list the GLBT organization as "Anti-Discrimination Organization," and then document your duties or skills gained during this experience. Some people simply choose to use the acronym, GLBT, or name of the group, Pride. Another approach, which is often useful for all college students, regardless of membership in organizations, is to utilize a "functional" or "skills-based" format for your resume. This takes the focus off the organization or employer, and emphasizes the skills that you gained (see Career Services resume writing web page or handout in Career Services for information on this type of resume).
Remember, no matter how you document your participation in a GLBT organization, you must be prepared for questions in an interview. An interviewer might ask, "I see you were president of Pride for two years. Can you tell me what kind of organization it is?" This is not necessarily an attempt to discriminate against you, they might just want to know what the letters stand for. If you have decided to be out, you can respond with a simple description. If you have chosen not to be out, you may want to refer to it as an anti-discrimination organization and then focus on the skills or achievements you have as a result of your work. For example, "Pride is a campus anti-discrimination organization. As treasurer I was responsible for several fundraising activities, as well as general bookkeeping and account reconciliation." Notice how the response focuses on the skills you have to offer rather than the organization.
As with any interview situation, the key to dealing with issues of sexual orientation is to practice, practice, practice. If you are startled by a question during an interview, you may appear unprepared, embarrassed, or unsure of yourself. Take advantage of mock interviews at Career Services, and schedule individual appointments with a Career Services counselor to help you determine your approach. Let the counselor know that you would like to practice handling questions regarding sexual orientation or involvement in GLBT groups so that the interview can be tailored to your needs. Remember, all conversations at Career Services are confidential.