Simon Fraser University is offering a new resource this fall for transgender students looking for employment: an online guide with advice on a range of issues, such as “What name should I use on my resumé and cover letter?” and “Can I include jobs I held under a different name?”
While questions like these may not occur to other job seekers, transgender students are up against unique challenges entering the workforce, including employer discrimination, a lack of understanding from colleagues and the prospect of outing themselves when using job references who knew them before they transitioned.
The guide will be available on SFU’s career services website, according to Edna Batengas, a co-op student responsible for researching and putting together the guide. She also facilitated an online discussion group to seek feedback from transgender students and alumni, drawing upon their experiences.
“The career centre realized there’s an opportunity to create something for this student population that didn’t have a resource,” Ms. Batengas said.
While SFU’s guide will mostly offer advice on resumés, cover letters, interviews and references, it will also include a section on knowing your rights in the workplace. “I think there’s a lack of education and a little bit of ignorance; not paying attention to details,” Ms. Batengas said, adding that lack of understanding and carelessness from human resources personnel and co-workers can lead to dismissal of transgender employees.
She said she hopes the guide will encourage transgender and gender-diverse students to come down to the career centre for support. “They know that there’s discrimination in the workplace, but to know that SFU career services has made this guide and we’re here to help them, we hope that encourages them.”