When working with a member of the LGBT population, it is imperative to become aware and educated about the issues that are unique to their career and vocational needs. Having a knowledge of effective interventions ensures that the client is receiving information and skills that will aid them in better coping with their sexual identities, dealing with workplace issues, and obtaining higher job satisfaction. Not only are these interventions applicable and useful for LGBT individuals, they are also practical for emloyers looking to increase the awareness, sensitivity, and overall understanding of the LGBT community within their company.

Chojnacki and Goldberg (1994) focus on utilizing the Sexual Identity Formation (SIF) Model by Cass (1979, 1984). They present both the person and environmental aspects that need to be examined when career counseling LGB clients. The 6 stages of the Sexual Identity Formation Model include: 1. Identity Confusion, 2. Identity Comparison, 3. Identity Tolerance, 4. Identity Acceptance, 5. Identity Pride, and 6. Identity Synthesis (Chojnacki & Gelberg, 1994). As the LGB individual advances through the stages, they become more comfortable with their identity. This model is useful to career counselors in that it increases awareness that not all LGB persons are alike, that they can differ in the extent that they possess positive LGB identities, and that these differences in identity impact career concerns (Chojnacki & Gelberg, 1994). By assessing where a LGB individual is developmentally in regards to the SIF Model, one can more effectively assess what type of work environment best fits their needs. This article attempts to show that services to LGB persons can be conceptualized within traditional career paradigms, but that awareness and sensitivity to LGB issues creates a new dimension of concerns to which career counselors must be responsive (Chojnacki & Gelberg, 1994).

Datti (2009) discusses the use of Krumboltz's Social Learning Theory of Career Decision Making to assist LGBT individuals during the counseling process. Counselors need to become knowledgeable in addressing issues such as the coming-out process, minority status, cultural and family values, self-esteem, and identity confusion (Datti, 2009). Counselors are encouraged to communicate to clients their acceptance of diversity as it relates to sexual orientation, because LGBT individuals typically perceive less support and guidance in their academic and career decision making compared to heterosexual individuals (Datti, 2009). In addition to increasing a counselor’s education, simple advertising can enable an openness and acceptance to diverse populations including sexual orientation, such as providing access to publications, websites, informational school bulletin boards, and interesting literature containing LGBT friendly messages (Datti, 2009).

As with any career development training, assessment measures are a beneficial tool that can be used to address issues related to career development of LGBT individuals. Just as career development models seek to increase job choice in relation to job satisfaction, Datti (2009) states that assessment measures can provide understanding of the individual to ultimately aid in overall career satisfaction. LGBT career development can be looked at from a social learning perspective in creating friendly environments and providing appropriate assessments (Datti, 2009). Ultimately, LGBT individuals can make career decisions appropriately beyond just choosing an interesting occupation.

Gedro (2006) identifies a model of homosexual identity development created by Vivienne Cass that is used to understand the confusion that GLBT individuals experience. The model describes four stages that people go through that can be helpful to understanding when assisting in career development. The first stage of the model is first awareness of homosexual feelings, followed by testing and exploration phase (Gedro, 2006). The individuals move into an identity acceptance and identity integration stage of development (Gedro, 2006).

The use of role models is an effective intervention in career development and career choice. Exposure to these role models can assist in career development; however, LGBT individuals have limited exposure to role models who share their sexual orientation. Exposing struggling members off this population to role models in power can help to eliminate inherent notions of homophobia, heterosexism, and sexism (Gedro, 2006). According to their research, LGBT individuals typically avoid occupations that hold stereotypes against gays and lesbians, however this can be diminished. Counselors can assist in expanding research and increasing the understanding of the importance of role models for LGBT individuals in relation to career development (Gedro, 2006). Another beneficial movement for counselors is to provide mentoring services, relationships and development training to support the unique needs of GLBT population (Gedro, 2006).

Those who are “out” at work have overwhelmingly higher levels of job satisfaction, commitment to their place of work, advancement within the company, and experienced much less internal conflict between their work and home lives. The overarching theme with homosexual employees who reported this high rate of satisfaction is that they felt supported and accepted in their workplace. Griffith and Hebl (2002) claim that organizational support is the biggest key to making homosexual workers feel comfortable in the workplace. They cited a method for employers to recruit and retain homosexual employees using the attraction-selection-attrition theory. The theory basically states that companies that want to bring in new gay or lesbian employees need to visibly and formally emphasize three things: representation of the minority in their company, corporate support of homosexual employees, and formal protective policies (Griffith and Hebl, 2002).