I am a member of and actively participate in several LGBT organizations. Should I list those organizations on my job application? I am concerned that it will cause me discrimination lowering my chances of an interview.

  • "It depends" would be the common short answer as I could see places where it makes sense and others where it doesn't. – JB King Jul 8 '13 at 15:04
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    No! Most people don't much care anymore, but those who do are likely to make a superficial judgement that, likelier than not, will make it LESS likely you'll get the job. Let them get to know you first. – Curt Jul 8 '13 at 23:52
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    Don't list it just because you're a member, list it if you've done something beneficial to the job you're applying for, like helped organise events, run their website etc. – Pete Jul 9 '13 at 21:55
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    Unless you work with these organizations can be translated into a benefit to a company through a job function then your work with the organization is not worth putting on your resume. This would be true for ANY type of organization to be honest. Volunteer work is slightly different in the sense, it shows you care about your local community, which is a good trait to have. – Donald Jul 10 '13 at 12:32
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    Remember in several states it is legal to discriminate against LGBT people. Unless you are applying to an organization who's main focus is to support this cause, you should leave it off. – sevensevens Feb 5 '15 at 22:30

You should list things on your application that would cause a reasonable employer to prefer you over another candidate. It is rare that club memberships, regardless of the type of club, meet that standard. Actively participating in clubs and organizations frequently makes you a more interesting and well-rounded person. But it rarely provides a reason for an employer to prefer you over some other candidate.

Occasionally, however, particularly for a new college graduate, club memberships do allow you to highlight some aspect of your skill set that you would not otherwise have. If you were the president of the club, for example, and that is the best way for you to discuss the leadership qualities you would bring to the job, it may well make sense to list clubs and organizations. If you organized successful petition campaigns and worked with the administration to change policies or with the legislature to pass laws, that likely shows a wealth of professional skills that employers are likely to value. If you are just a member of the organization or your involvement doesn't obviously demonstrate professional skills, it is unlikely to be appropriate to list the club.

If yours is one of those rare cases where it makes sense to list membership in an organization on your resume, then it's worth considering the nature of the club and whether that is likely to hurt you. To that end, one question you'd have to ask yourself is whether you would want to work at a place that would discriminate against you on the basis of sexual orientation. That's a very personal question-- some people need the job and have relatively few options, other people would rather wait for a better fit. If you can honestly answer that you would rather not take a job with a firm that would discriminate, then you just have to be concerned with whether it shows your professional skills. If you want to be considered for jobs that would potentially discriminate, then you need to determine whether the level of discrimination you perceive in your particular area and profession are likely to outweigh whatever professional benefits skills you would want to talk about in an interview. That, again, is a question that only you can answer.

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    It is rare that club memberships, regardless of the type of club, meet that standard <-- I wouldn't be so confident in this. I have had all sorts of leadership positions in my non-work organizations, which is probably a decent indication I will start taking similar leadership/responsibilities in any job I have as well (which has absolutely been the case). Oftentimes just being a member can have significant responsibilities or time commitments, too. – enderland Jul 7 '13 at 17:36
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    ""...have to ask yourself is whether you would want to work at a place that would discriminate against you on the basis of sexual orientation"" Wish I could upvote twice - that's really the root. I'll add only that when I've been in similar positions, and was willing to risk closed minds, I was able to abstract the message - "chairperson of an advocacy group, managed campaigns for policitical rights not represented in current US legislation". – bethlakshmi Jul 8 '13 at 18:59
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    I'd also agree with @enderland - though - that "rare" is a matter of opinion. I agree that not every group or every role in every group is a useful addition to a resume, but I don't see it as unusual that people may start writing, teaching, or leading in a less-high-risk venue - like volunteer work - before doing the same thing on the job. – bethlakshmi Jul 8 '13 at 19:05

Unless the job you're applying to is somehow related to LGBT concerns, I would not add them. Most jurisdictions, people are not allowed to discriminate against you (but will anyways). Think about it a different way, do people put their church affiliation on their resumes?

If I saw that on a resume, I might be concerned that your strong beliefs will clash with other people on the team - regardless of my own views.

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    They aren't allowed to discriminate against you, but try proving that. They will swear up and down that the font you pick just wasn't professional enough. – user9158 Jul 8 '13 at 3:29
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    On the other hand, I'd much rather be discriminated against in the form of not being offered an interview/job than go through changing jobs and then discover that it will be a problem. File that under "if you're going to behave like that, I don't want to work for you anyway." – Blrfl Jul 8 '13 at 17:20
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    I have no particular issue with anyone's gayness or straightness, but if I saw someone list membership in LGBT clubs on a resume, I would question their judgement (just as I would the judgement of someone who saw fit to list their membership in the Harry Potter fan club). It suggests a narcissistic self-focus that would not bode well as an indicator of the ability to work with a team and commit oneself to projects. Resumes are self-advertisements, and should be exclusively focused on job capabilities. That someone will waste this valuable real estate on somthing irrelevant, is telling. – Curt Jul 9 '13 at 15:05

I wouldn't put it on the resume because it is a "protected category" that employers aren't allowed to discriminate against. Not to say that nobody does. But just having it on their could make an employer uncomfortable. Not with you. But with the fact that they have to worry about being seen as rejecting you because of the LGBT listing.

And yes, I give this same advice to someone who asks on any protected category. Unless it is directly relevant to the job (say a deaf person doing accessibility testing - which could be an advantage), I'd leave it out.

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I wouldn't. I don't see it's relevant to the workplace: it has nothing to do with your job performance. In general I don't put any out-of-hours activities down unless they're relevant to the job.

To me, this belongs in a broad category of issues that might count against me (wrongly) if I put it down on paper, and are best discussed, if at all, at interview. That's the real question in my opinion: how much do you say at interview if asked what you do in your spare time, and, on the other hand, how do you gauge whether the working environment is likely to be discriminatory?

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Slightly different take: If you you happen to be LGTB you may want to get a feel for how this will go over in the new workplace. Regardless of the legal aspects, it's a still a place where you going to spend the majority of your (non-sleeping) time and that's the people you will be around every work day.

Putting something on your resume will help day lighting some of that, if only be the fact some employers will simply toss your resume out. But that's not necessarily a bad thing. Would you want to work from someone like that?

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  • Good point, I don't think that I would want to work for a company Like that in the long term. – kyle k Jul 7 '13 at 18:00
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    But putting it in a resume might give it a lot more stress than is due. I wouldn't hesitate to mention it casually during the interview - just as you'd mention it casually in day-to-day conversations. Posing it as an explicit selling point, though, is pushing it rather farther. – Ziv Jul 9 '13 at 16:52

It largely depends on what countries you are in. If you are in Sweden or Canada, go straight ahead. I would be more cautious if you aren't in a country tolerant of LGBTQ+.

This also varies by workplace, community, family, etc. Do some background research and attempt to make an informed decision.

Ask yourself one question: Do views on homosexuality greatly vary between different peoples and cultures?

Read this article:

I suggest a maxim of logic to you: If in doubt, err on the side of caution.

Try to find content like this, but the content must be particular to the place you are living in. Some references, for you, my friend, to look at and study:


Other Resources:

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Look at it from the point of view of the prospective employer. They don’t care about your hobbies, so they will be just wondering why you are mentioning this.

But what you are saying is of a political nature. Nobody expects problems if you are a member of a rabbit breeder club. In your case, since it is important enough for you to put it into your CV, I would as an employer suspect that you bring things into the workplace.

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Unless the leadership position is directly applicable to the job then there is no reason to mention membership in any external organizations. I would also be hesitant to mention any club that existed at a previous workplace, again unless the leadership position was relevant to the position.

There is one reason why you have to mention the external organizations: a back ground investigation. Sometimes they are looking for a reference who sees you on a regular basis outside of work, but isn't your next door neighbor. Of course the paperwork for the investigation comes long after the initial reading of the resume, and after the interview process has been completed.

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