Career Fairs are a risky business, but GSBA’s first-ever Diversity Career Fair was a resounding success by all measurements. On August 15, 2014, GSBA’s Young Professionals with Pride (YPP) group produced a Diversity Career Fair hosted by CityUniversity of Seattle at their South Lake Union campus. Spearheaded by GSBA Office & Events Coordinator Randy Bowren, the YPP group saw an opportunity to connect the area’s employers with qualified candidates of all backgrounds. The event was generously sponsored by CityUniversity of Seattle, Centerpoint Institute and Regence.
Twenty-seven employers participated, over 170 resumes were submitted and one hundred job seekers (many of whom self-identified as LGBTQ) visited throughout the day. Prior to the Career Fair, GSBA had heard from a number of employers that most career fairs are only for entry level positions, which are easier for employers to fill, which is why employers are hesitate to participate in Career Fairs. However, GSBA was delighted that both employers participating and job seekers in attendance, offered a wide range of opportunities for prospective employees at all levels. There were entry level sales positions, mid-level marketing positions and positions requiring graduate level degrees.
Job seekers felt comfortable with the inclusive environment and felt that the employers were very welcoming. The welcoming atmosphere promoted meaningful conversations with potential employers. YPP Task Force member and career coach Victor Ongpin helped reduce participants’ anxiety by providing one-on-one counseling before even walking through the doors. Within days of the Diversity Career Fair, at least five people had found jobs via the connections they made at the event.
One participant responded that “the GSBA YPP Career Fair was one of the best ones I have ever attended. I felt comfortable knowing it was a LGBT-focused career fair. All the staff members were very friendly and made me feel relaxed. I felt the job fair was well organized, and most importantly, I found my new job there!” Another added that they felt safe dressing and being their true self in front of the group.
The employers, for their part, were very impressed with how prepared the candidates were. One employer enthusiastically responded that they “loved the minority focus and that people were comfortable at the Career Fair.” Aware of the demographic targets of the Diversity Career Fair, many of the employers embraced the theme in their marketing materials and presentations.
The YPP Task Force is already making plans to partner with CityUniversity of Seattle for next year’s career fair. Start planning your participation now - whether as a sponsor, an employer or career candidate. For more information on the 2015 Diversity Career Fair, please contact Randy Bowren at YPP@thegsba.org. YPP is dedicated to providing Seattle's LGBT and allied young professionals unique and valuable opportunities to enhance personal and professional development through social, educational, and philanthropic activities.