Career Advice and Specific Issues

Students from underrepresented populations often encounter issues not discussed in general career tips. This page addresses those issues and helps students prepare for possible situations they may encounter in the job search. Here you will find information on unique challenges faced by various student groups along with resources for education on policy issues.

Advice When Choosing a Career

FAQ's

Resources for Social and Policy Issues

Visa Information


Advice When Choosing a Career

Increased globalization and the need for successful relationship building has made diversity incredibly valuable for employers. Your unique background is often a great talking point for interviews and a tremendous asset for various jobs. However, it is still important to research your work environment and the company culture before determining that the employer is the right fit for you.

LGBTQ Students

  • Look for companies with a diverse population, especially in their higher ranks. Research their stance on the LGBTQ community to make sure you have the opportunity to succeed in the company based on your skills and talents. Look specifically at their nondiscrimination or equal employment policies.
  • Talk to employees to learn about the company's culture or connect with alumni who have worked there. Use LinkedIn or talk with a career advisor about finding alumni with whom to connect.
  • Consider what role you would like your identity to play in your career. This includes thinking about joining an advocacy group or participating in smaller support groups at a company. These factors can affect your decision when choosing the right workplace. 
  • Market your strengths and unique experiences gained from your LGBTQ identity. This can include your ability to overcome challenges in discrimination or open-mindedness for diversity.
  • Ask detailed questions about the company's policies such as insurance and equal employment related to the LGBTQ community. It is also helpful to discuss experiences and network with employees who have worked there. 
  • Be informed about wage discrimination and learn how to negotiate a good starting salary or raise. This information can also come from networking with other employees.

International Students

If you are an international student, you may have different career needs from other student groups on campus. Therefore we direct you to our International Students page. Learn about travel checklists, visas, taxes, and employment options. From our Resources for International Students page, you can find job resources and tips on how to best utilize your international experience. 

Students with Disabilities

  • Research the company's culture and stance on disabilities. Connect with an employee or visit the company to check out the accommodations they provide for employees. 
  • Understand discrimination policies and know the questions that employers cannot ask during an interview.
  • Disclose your disability if you need an accommodation for an interview or meeting; otherwise, highlight your skills and abilities on your resume and not the fact that you have a disability. 
  • Decide how you would like to disclose your disability and how much you want to explain. This decision often depends on if it is a visible or invisible disability. If you are not sure, schedule an appointment by calling (540-458-8595) or on LexLink with Career and Professional Development advisor to discuss your situation.
  • Be informed about wage discrimination and learn how to negotiate a good starting salary or raise. This information can also come from networking with other employees.

Multi-ethnic Students

  • Understand the questions employers can and cannot ask you to avoid discrimination. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination based on race, color, sex, religion or national origin. Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act prohibits discrimination based on genetic information. Focus the conversation on your skills and abilities and what you bring to the workplace. 
  • Research the demographics of the company and get a feel for their level of diversity. Talk with alumni in that industry and employees in the company about their experiences. Look at the diversity in the company's management and executives as this provides insight into how committed they are to diversity.
  • Find out if the company has an affinity group for its multi-ethnic employees. Review the company's mission statement and website to determine their position on inclusion and diversity.
  • Ask employers about diversity initiatives or how they plan on supporting diversity in the future.
  • Be informed about wage discrimination and learn how to negotiate a good starting salary or raise. This information can also come from networking with other employees.

Women

  • Research the company's equal employment policies and reputation regarding discrimination. Look at their demographics and talk to employees about the company's culture. Use resources such as Glassdoor to see what other women employees have said about the company.
  • Be informed about wage discrimination and learn how to negotiate a good starting salary and raise. One good resource is the book Getting to Yes (PDF can be found online), which addresses how to negotiate without giving in. Another useful site is Payscale, an online resource for different negotiation scenarios. This information can also come from networking with women employees.
  • Learn about your employment rights through resources such as the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and know which questions employers should not ask. This includes questions about marital status, children, pregnancy, and questions about your spouse. They can ask if you have commitments that require accommodations in work schedules.
  • Get involved with professional women organizations (such as the American Business Women's Association, American Association of University Women) for networking purposes and support. Through these organizations you may find a mentor you can rely on for support and advice throughout your career. 
  • Analyze the company's culture including the environment outside of the workplace. Do they have diversity throughout the company hierarchy? Are you going to have difficulties getting to and back from the workplace?

FAQ's

This section is designed to help you prepare for difficult situations you may encounter in your job search and career. Here you will find answers to questions on common issues and topics you may not have considered. If you are still unsure of any topics or have specific questions, ask your career advisor.

LGBTQ Students

International Students

Students with Disabilities

Multi-ethnic Students

Women


Resources for Social and Policy Issues

Below is a list of resources to learn more about legal rights and different advocacy groups.

Transgender Law and Policy Institute 
Center for American Progress - Independent nonpartisan policy institute - resources on a variety of social justice issues
Equal Opportunity Publications  
American Association for Access Equity and Diversity 
HRC - advocating equal rights for LGBT community
National Center for Transgender Equality 
Lambda Legal - advocacy group seeking full recognition of rights for LGBT community
Association of Women's Rights in Development - group for women's rights and sustainable development


Visa Information

Visit the U.S. Department of State for information on working, studying, or traveling abroad. The State Department also provides country specific details regarding safety and local laws.