It's difficult enough to find a job for anyone these days, let alone a transgender candidate. In an interesting exchange I heard not long ago (between a lesbian and trans woman) about jobs, the trans woman told the lesbian "she had a choice to wear gay." Meaning of course, she could "femme" it up to get hired and or stay hired. We can discuss all the possible scenarios of that exchange forever but in the mean time, trans folks remained unemployed at an estimated twice the national rate. Fortunately, there is help beginning to emerge.
US News and World Report recently ran a useful article called "How to Manage a Job Search as a Transgender Candidate."
One of the initial problem/solutions which caught my eye was :
Deciding how to handle disclosure of your identity. Choosing whether and how to reveal that your gender identity is different from the gender you were assigned at birth is personal, but some application materials will inquire about your legal name. Some transgender job seekers have not changed their legal names, but those who have might run into trouble and confusion if an employer requests they submit to a background check that requires paperwork. “An application is a legal document, and if what you report doesn’t match with what an employer finds, they could let you go," Farley** says. She recommends job seekers write the first initial and surname of their legal name on applications. “That allows a job seeker to include the information that’s required by law, but not to have to qualify birth gender.”
Other ideas were job fairs. If you are fortunate enough to live close to major metropolitan areas, a few even have transgender job fairs. Of course, I am not one of those but at the Trans Ohio Symposium last spring, two major financial institutions had hiring presentations. As a former employer and a retired one now, one of my biggest hiring points was how a person looked and acted. It's easy for me to say but I think getting dressed in my best business professional attire and going to any job fair, could be beneficial. At the least, the company would see immediately if they may have interest in me. Anymore, with all the on line resume shuffle going on, the most we can ask for is a human face to sell ourselves to
Of course, networking was mentioned as well as sites such as LinkedIn. Finally, simple basics such as word of mouth and studying a companies CEI Index. Which is the: Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index, an annual report that scores major businesses according to their practices and policies pertinent to LGBT employees. The top CEI score an employer could receive is 100 percent – this year, Apple Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. were two of the companies to earn top marks.
So there you go, a few ideas on getting a job. I know it's a tough world out there!
**Clair Farley, is the associate director of economic development for the San Francisco LGBT Center, which runs the nation’s first Transgender Employment Program.