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Equality and acceptance in the workplace allow individuals to turn up to work and thrive in their environment. One way to do this is by promoting the use of gender-inclusive terms and pronouns and avoiding language which inadvertently makes people around you feel uncomfortable, disliked and even, in some instances, endangered.
Whilst you may not be opposed to the use of pronouns, you may not be adopting them and encouraging their use either. However, an individual's name, clothing, or other outward signals do not necessarily inform you how that person identifies. To prevent misgendering those in the workplace, there are steps we can take, including throughout the job searching process.
1. Update your pronouns on LinkedIn
According to LinkedIn, 70% of job seekers believe it is important that recruiters and hiring managers know their gender pronouns, and 72% of hiring managers agree. Subsequently, in May 2021, LinkedIn introduced a new profile feature that allowed members to add pronouns to their Headline.
Whether you are job searching or not, you must create an authentic profile and one way to do this by expressing your preferred pronouns on LinkedIn.
2. Add pronouns to your CV
If you want to include your pronouns on your CV, you can simply add them in the header, under your name and before your contact information. If you'd prefer not to add more information to your CV, you could also clarify this in your cover letter beneath your signature.
For some, listing pronouns early on in their job search eases anxiety they may feel going into an interview or professional situation, allowing people to focus solely on discussing qualifications and experience.
3. Disclose your pronouns in job applications
Online job applications may ask you to select your gender. In that case, you can select “non-binary” or “other” depending on your options.
Despite some people arguing that listing pronouns early on in your application may lead to discrimination – although this is illegal, others believe it will help them to rule out non-inclusive workplaces and allow them to find an employer with a good culture fit.
4. Include pronouns in your email signature
Adding your gender pronouns to your email signature is a simple step for everybody in the workplace to minimise misgendering and promote inclusivity. Pronouns are also helpful if you have a gender neutral name, like Alex, and want to clarify your pronouns.
By including pronouns in your signature, you may encourage others to do the same or even promote company-wide change. For more guidance, The LGBT Resource Centre provides several examples of what this may look like, including the example below.
5. Introduce yourself using pronouns in your interview
Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself with pronouns in an interview setting i.e. “Hi, I’m Alex, and my preferred pronouns are X”. This will also prompt the interviewer to introduce themselves in the same way. Alternatively, if you’re interviewing somebody, you can start by asking what pronouns they would like to go by to ensure you are correctly addressing them throughout the interview.
However you identify, everybody has a part to play in promoting societal change and normalising these conversations. By understanding gender pronouns and taking some of the above actions, you have the power to encourage inclusivity, minimise unnecessary anxieties throughout the job search process, and generally make the workplace a more welcoming place.
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