Should I Put My Desired Pronouns in My Work Correspondence?

pronouns in signature

Have you started seeing co-workers’ preferred pronouns appear on work correspondence? Gender pronouns (sometimes called chosen pronouns) are the set of pronouns an individual would like others to use to accurately reflect their gender identity.

For example, you may see “she/her/hers” or “he/him/his” as part of a colleague’s e-mail signature. Or, a contact from college may have “them/them/theirs” listed next to their name on their LinkedIn profile.

The trend of individuals explicitly stating their preferred pronouns in the workplace is due in large part to more individuals coming out as transgender, non-binary, or genderfluid.

We wanted to bring you up to speed on this growing trend and help you determine if you should put your desired pronouns in your work correspondence. 

Why are Pronouns Important?

Referring to someone by their chosen pronouns is more than simply being polite (although that is an important reason). Using a person’s correct pronouns can make them feel seen, empowered, and respected in the workplace.

Conversely, calling someone by their incorrect pronouns (also known as “misgendering”) especially after they’ve made their pronoun preferences known, can make that person feel embarrassed, disrespected, and even unsafe among colleagues and co-workers.

According to the Washington Post, 32% of trans or gender diverse people surveyed feared losing their job if they came out at work. This constant stress can lead to diminished work performance, reduced creativity, and lower job satisfaction.

Should You List Pronouns in Work Correspondence?

pronouns in signature

If you are a transgender or non-binary individual, displaying your preferred pronouns in work correspondence, such as an e-mail signature line, is a simple way to let others know how you wish to be addressed.

However, cisgender individuals (those whose gender identity aligns with the gender they were assigned at birth) may also want to display their pronouns in work correspondence for three important reasons:

  1. It normalizes the practice and discussions about gender in the workplace.
  2. It helps creates a more inclusive work environment.
  3. It identifies those individuals as an ally of the LGBTQ+ community.

Should You Put Pronouns on Your Resume?

While putting your preferred pronouns on work correspondence can be a simple step, deciding on whether or not to put pronouns on your resume can be a little more complex.

Here are a few reasons why you may want to add pronouns on your resume:

  1. It can help reduce anxiety. When you include your pronouns on your resume, your interviewer will know how to address you right from the start. You can feel safe walking into the interview knowing that you can focus on your qualifications and not have to worry about potentially correcting someone who may misgender you.
  2. It’ll help you find an LGBTQ+ friendly workplace. If your preferred pronouns are on your resume and a company calls you for an interview, then chances are that may be a company that supports gender diversity in the workplace. On the flip side, any company that doesn’t call you just on the basis of your pronouns isn’t a company you’d want to work for anyway.
  3. People want to know. By and large, people want to refer to you by using the pronouns you’ve chosen. They’ll appreciate being told up front how you wish to be addressed.

Here are a couple of reasons to perhaps not include pronouns on your resume:

  1. You could face gender discrimination. Unfortunately, discrimination still exists in the workplace. If you have a unisex name like Taylor, and you list your pronouns are she/her/hers, an employer may have a bias against you, even if it’s on an unconscious level. You may have a better chance getting an interview without listing pronouns.
  2. You don’t have to. In terms of your resume, you can think of your gender identity as your race, religion, ethnicity, marital status, age, etc. You wouldn’t list any of these details on your resume because they have nothing to do with how qualified you may or may not be for the job.

If you ultimately decide to include your pronouns on your resume, then the best place to add them is directly under your name in the header. Another option is to leave your pronouns off of your resume, but to add them to your cover letter beneath your signature.

What Are Additional Ways to Support a Gender Diverse Workplace?

pronouns in signature

Using pronouns in correspondence is one part of normalizing discussions of gender and pronouns in the workplace. Here are a few other suggestions:

  • Include your pronouns in your professional resume and LinkedIn profile by adding them after your last name.
  • Start meetings by asking each attendee to introduce themselves by name and to share their chosen pronouns.
  • If you are a recruiter or hiring manager, ask interviewees what their desired pronouns are at the start of an interview.
  • Never assume pronouns based on a person’s appearance. Politely ask what pronouns they prefer to use.
  • When introducing yourself, state your desired pronouns up front. This will give the other person an opportunity to state theirs.
  • If you accidentally misgender someone, apologize for your mistake and try to get it right in the future.
  • Talk to co-workers and colleagues about why recognizing gender diversity is important.

It’s long been considered embarrassing for all involved when getting someone’s gender wrong. Classic examples include calling the man with long hair “miss” or calling the woman with the deep voice “sir” over the phone.

But today, society is recognizing that gender identity is not just limited to being either male or female. Gender exists on a spectrum and we can never assume someone’s pronouns. Using preferred pronouns in work correspondence is an important step towards inclusivity.

Maria Gold is a Content Manager/Writer for Empire Resume. She is dedicated to helping educate and motivate people with the latest career articles and job search advice. Her interests range from writing to programming and design. She is also passionate about innovation, entrepreneurship, and technology.

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