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Employer Insights for Navigating the Job Search as an LGBTQ+ Student

Engineering Career Services is introducing a blog series in addition to our diversity resources located on our website and diversity guides for students housed within Handshake (located under “Career Center” > “Resources” > Keyword: “Diversity”). This blog entry is the first of a series addressing specific job search considerations for underrepresented and diverse candidates. We recognize that identities are intersectional and that identity markers do not exist independently of each other, and we offer this information to those who would like to apply it in their job search. Today’s blog is written with contributions by Bill Gulker with Ford Motor Company, Amanda Ball with GE, Brad Ross with ExxonMobil, and Mary Gattuso with CVS Health.

How does your company support LGBTQ+ employees?

Amanda: GE people are global, diverse, and dedicated, operating with the highest integrity and passion to fulfill GE’s mission and deliver for our customers. In that spirit, GE’s affinity network, The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender & Ally (GLBTA) Alliance invests in cultivating the GE leaders of today and tomorrow. At GE, we believe in bringing your whole self to work.

Brad: ExxonMobil (EM) People for Respect, Inclusion, and Diversity of Employees (PRIDE) is a formal Employee Resource Group (ERG) that is sponsored officially by the corporation. EM PRIDE supports and enhances employee recruitment, retention, and development by supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and ally (LGBT+) employees; encourages awareness and understanding of diversity and inclusion issues around sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression in the workplace; and promotes full inclusion to ensure employees can bring their whole selves to work. The group is global with 2000+ members (including Straight Allies) and 13 local chapters and counting. We just celebrated our 10 year anniversary of being officially corporately sponsored this year in 2018.

Mary: In November 2017, CVS Health achieved a perfect score for the fourth consecutive year on the 2018 Corporate Equality Index, a national benchmarking survey and report on corporate policies and practices related to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) workplace equality administered by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. CVS Health received top marks for a variety of programs, including: making gender transition guidelines available for colleagues and their managers; partnering with the Human Rights Campaign to establish pharmacy industry best practice guidelines for serving transgender patients; supporting our colleague resource group PRIDE, available for LGBTQ colleagues and their allies; and following the CVS Health Vendor Code of Conduct, which supports the inclusion of LGBTQ vendors and suppliers.

Explain the importance of Employee Resource Groups for employees.

Bill: Ford has demonstrated commitment to both diversity and inclusion by endorsing and leveraging the power of Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). ERGs are organizations of employees who share similar characteristics or life experiences, and desire to use those similarities to create cross-functional workplace connections, provide professional development and advance business imperatives. Ford’s ERGs were started in the early 1990s and now include thousands of employees in a number of organizations throughout the world. Ford’s senior leaders actively demonstrate visible commitment to diversity and inclusion by serving as key sponsors to our ERGs, which provide support, guidance and resources. As a result, our ERGs have supported our company by helping the business to attract, develop and retain talent. Read more about Ford GLOBE here.

Brad: ERGs are critical to support the Diversity & Inclusion culture across 5 key areas; Professional Development, Mentoring, Coaching, Networking, and Recruiting. These organizations facilitate open communication with all levels of management on diversity and inclusion issues relevant to their membership and allow for important network building. Each ERG is sponsored by one or more senior leaders.

What tips do you have for networking, conferences, and attending targeted recruitment events?

Bill: Ford always explores new opportunities to seek top talent globally with innovative ideas to help us compete. Whether a fresh graduate or a seasoned professional, our employees are on the forefront of developing technologies and innovations that have a positive impact on the lives of our customers and contribute to a better world. As such, we seek the best and the brightest from all over the globe by participating in a multitude of diverse career fair events. Within the U.S., Ford has partnerships with various professional organizations who strive to generate diverse talent for the company.   

Brad: ExxonMobil has worked diligently to improve its HRC score over the last 5 years to be able to participate in Out in STEM (OSTEM) and Reaching Out MBA (ROMBA) both specific to LGBT+ events. We continue to evaluate our recruitment efforts both on and off-campus and will continue to communicate more opportunities in the future.

What should candidates consider when evaluating an employer’s culture and fit?

Bill: Employee resource groups, philanthropy & community services, minority and supplier diversity, worklife flexibility & benefits programs, policies, practices, workplace, employee experiences.

Amanda: GE is proud to be named to the Human Rights Campaign’s Best Places to Work for LGBTQ Equality and have received a perfect rating of 100 on its Corporate Equality Index every year since 2014. We strongly encourage candidates seeking employment to research their employer, identify their best fit, and value compare potential companies and posting for the ideal career.

Mary: You always hear employers tell you in an interview that not only are we interviewing you to see if you will be a good fit, but you are interviewing us to see if we would be a good fit. This is very true! You should consider how your beliefs/morals align with the company that you are going to work for. You want to love where you work and be able to see how their purpose aligns with yours so that you can be an advocate for them, but also because if you work for a business that has a culture where you feel most comfortable then you will be more productive and creative.

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