Cruising for a Job
The LGBT career fair Out to Work launched in September 2007 so mainstream businesses could connect with LGBT employees. By 2009, more than 2,000 preregistered for Out to Work, and almost 3,000 LGBT people and straight allies showed up at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center, where it is held.
What was once a service to open-minded businesses is now a vital event for job seekers.
Out to Work is co-produced by the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center and the Greenwich Village-Chelsea Chamber of Commerce, and it is held at the Center. The LGBT career fair is modeled after a similar event run by the San Francisco LGBT Community Center.
Initially organizers invited companies to Out to Work according to their rating in the Corporate Equality Index, a Human Rights Campaign initiative that assesses companies’ friendliness to LGBT employees. Recruitment is no longer necessary, says Ector Simpson, director of cultural programs & volunteer management at the Center. “Eighty percent of this year’s companies had been present at previous job fairs.”
Those companies run the gamut, from health and wellness providers to media conglomerates. Some visitors may be surprised by the large turnout of banks and insurance companies.
Tips for Making an Impression
At Out to Work, companies are more likely to make introductions than job offers. So it’s important to make an impression that will differentiate you from the crowd.
Arriving super-early is one way to do so. “You want to catch recruiters when they’re still fresh,” Simpson says, adding, “Make sure you have plenty of resumes and envelopes with your name on them, and that your attire is professional.”
The Center runs employment workshops covering these and other preparatory measures -- even entry-level computer skills -- throughout the year. “The job search is ongoing, so we provide these classes on an ongoing basis,” Simpson says. Check the Center’s online calendar for dates.
The 2010 edition of Out to Work will be held September 16. Preregistration should begin in early July.
For More Information About the LGBT Career Fair
• The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center, 208 West 13th Street between Seventh and Greenwich Avenues
• Phone number: 212-620-7310
• Hours: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
• Visit Their Website