Make the most of your resumes, cover letters, and interviews!
TransWork Resume, Cover Letter, and Initial Interview Guide:
There have been several developments in law and public opinion which mean that the past few years have been better than ever for LGBTQ+ job-seekers. The recent legislative attacks will indubitably have a negative impact here, but it is important to remember that many governments and companies have established protections for transgender rights in the hiring and employment processes.
Your resume is a description of who you are that highlights the capabilities that set you apart. You can describe your experience, education, skills, and accomplishments. Your goal with it is to get an interview for the particular job that you are applying to, it should demonstrate to the reader that you’re a good match for their particular needs and would fit well in the role.
A resume can be broken down into content, format, and appearance:
- Content: The type of information you choose to put on your resume.
- Format: The way that you arrange this information.
- Appearance: The aesthetic appearance / look of your resume.
Generally speaking, your resume:
- Should be 1 or 2 pages in length, made up of brief paragraphs and bullet-point lists, and be presented in at least 11-point font and 0.5-inch margins. It should be revised regularly and customized for each job application that you send.
- When describing yourself you can use your preferred name, but if you move forward in the hiring process you will likely have to disclose your legal name for legal documentation (i.e. a background check or payroll). Affirming employers take steps to ensure that legal names are protected information that does not leave the spaces where it is required by law.
- It SHOULD NOT include false, misleading, or exaggerated information.
- Saving your resume in PDF format will maintain the layout and appearance when you send it electronically. If you save it in another format it is possible that your appearance will change unpredictably.
Cover letters are absolutely essential - recruiters often do not even consider a resume without an accompanying cover letter
The essential elements of a cover letter are:
- Contact information
- Content that describes how you will contribute to the company, this is your opportunity to self yourself and communicate a high degree of interest in the position and company. You also want to highlight and/or reiterate your special capabilities that might appear on a resume.
Once you get an interview:
- Most initial screening interviews take place on the phone or video conferencing, and so it is important to have a quiet space where you can focus on the interview free from distractions or outside noises. You should try be relaxed and allow your personality to shine through, but come with questions and have your resume handy so you can refer to the skills that you know you have.
- It is good to send a follow-up email to the person(s) who interviewed you, where you can ask any remaining questions and again indicate your high degree of interest in the position.
- If you move on to a later round of interviews, it is likely that the company will have their own model for what that will look like. Follow their lead about what the meeting will look like, and come prepared with questions and demonstrated interest in the position and company.
And, finally, regardless of your outcomes, please fill out our form to help us at TransWork make our program as effective as possible!
Other resources from TransWork partners and allied organizations:
- “Gender Affirming Resource Guide - 2022” from the Mazzoni Center
- “Know Your Rights - Employment” from the National Center for Transgender Equality
- “Practical Advice for Transgender and Nonbinary Folks Navigating the Job Search” from Career Services at the University of Pennsylvania
- “Workplace Rights and Wrongs, in the Transgender Rights Toolkit” from Lambda Legal
- “Employer Search” from the Human Rights Commission