The Whys and Hows of Adding Your Pronouns to Your Resume and LinkedIn Profile

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People have been incorporating gender pronouns more frequently over the past few years into their LinkedIn profiles and email signatures. This practice has been gaining traction as culture and society become more receptive to gender diversity. The purpose is to create a more inclusive environment for gender-nonconforming people and avoid awkward situations where someone may be misgendered.

Deciding which pronouns to use—whether she/her/hers, he/him/his, they/them/theirs, or something else—is a personal matter. So, what are the pros and cons of including yours on your resume and LinkedIn profile, and what's the best way to do it? We aim to answer these questions for you with this article. 

Of course, there’s a lot more to writing your resume than determining whether to include your pronouns. If you need help with this crucial document, check out our resume services.

Let’s delve into the advantages and disadvantages of putting your pronouns on your resume and then look at how you should do it in case you opt for sharing this piece of information.  

Advantage: Connecting with inclusive companies

Including your pronouns in your resume isn’t merely a way to inform an employer of your gender identity—it also helps you weed out companies whose values may not align with yours. 

Sharing this personal information when searching for a new job can help you eliminate companies that are not inclusive; if a company doesn't want to consider someone who lists their pronouns, it’s not going to reach out to you even if you're highly qualified. Though other aspects of the organization may seem great, if you identify as non-binary or have progressive values, you likely don’t want to work in a place like this. Therefore, including your pronouns ensures that you don’t waste your time on a company with a non-inclusive culture.

Speaking of inclusivity, disclosing your pronouns—whether you identify as non-binary, transgender, or cis—shows that you are an ally to LGBTQ+ people. It helps normalize using gender pronouns so others don't feel uncomfortable including theirs. Therefore, feel free to list your pronouns, even if you identify as cis—this can still be important information for you and potential employers alike.

Advantage: Avoiding discomfort and awkward situations

When you disclose your pronouns on your resume or LinkedIn profile, it can eliminate the awkwardness that may arise if you have to correct a hiring manager who uses the wrong pronoun. This could happen in an email, during a screening, or at the actual job interview. 

Not only would this be uncomfortable for you, but the hiring manager would also be embarrassed. Emotions affect us strongly, so if you make the hiring manager feel bad—despite having no such intention—they may develop a subconscious bias against you, which would hurt your employment chances. Nobody wants to misspeak or use the wrong pronoun, so including yours in your professional information will take the pressure off of both you and the recruiter.

Disadvantage: Discrimination

Unfortunately, disclosing your gender identity on your resume could come back to haunt you. A company could use that information to discriminate against you during the hiring process. This is particularly likely if you use non-binary pronouns such as they/them or neo-pronouns that most people aren’t familiar with. Depending on the company, including your pronouns at all may dock you points as some people see this as controversial. Conservative businesses are not likely to favor candidates who include their pronouns (whatever those may be) in their resumes.

As suggested earlier, this isn’t entirely a disadvantage—if you have progressive values, this allows you to avoid companies whose cultures clash with your beliefs. Even if you were hired by a company like this, you’d likely put yourself back on the job market quite quickly. However, you may still decide that other aspects of the job are worth it. You should carefully reflect on your goals and priorities to determine your course of action.

If it's a job you genuinely want, it might be to your advantage to disclose your gender identity only after you officially land the job and start in your new position. You'll have more legal leverage after you're hired. Proving discrimination in a court of law before you get the job can be difficult, if not impossible, as an employer can easily find another plausible justification for not hiring you. Consider whether you want the job badly enough to take on the financial and mental burden of pursuing potential legal action. 

How to add your pronouns to your professional information 

As we already mentioned, whether you include your gender pronouns is an entirely personal decision. We’ve given you some pros and cons to chew on, but it’s up to you to decide. If you want to move forward with it as you apply for jobs, here are some best practices. 

  • You have a couple of options when it comes to adding your pronouns to your email signature: Either include them in a line under your name and contact information or put them next to your name in parentheses. 
  • On your resume, add them in the header, right under your name. 
  • On your LinkedIn profile, share your pronouns on the same line, just after your last name.

The bottom line is that you should do whatever makes you feel more comfortable while you're applying for open positions. Do what's right for you and stick with it. You'll feel better and be able to focus on the most important task at hand—landing your next job. If you need help crafting a stellar resume, get in touch with our resume experts!

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