More than 100 young and older adults attended Work!, the first Chicago LGBTQ Job Fair Oct. 22 at Center on Halsted. The event was sponsored by Windy City Times, Chicago House TransWorks, TransTech, Affinity and the Center on Halsted.
The free event featured job advice, break-out sessions detailing best interview and employee practices as well as legal issues in the workplace.
The latest studies show an alarmingly high unemployment and poverty rate in the LGBTQ community, especially among youth and seniors. The fair was one way to address the issue, as a follow-up to the Windy City Times LGBTQ Homeless Youth Summit in May 2014.
Vendors at the fair were: Center on Halsted, Chicago House, Christy Webber Landscapes, Harvest Consulting Group, i.c.Stars, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Cook County State's Attorney's Office, It Works Global, Lurie Children's Hospital, The Northern Trust Company, Pace Suburban Bus Service, Pastoral, Roosevelt University, Roosevelt University/Chicago College of Performing Arts, Search Inc., Steppenwolf Theatre, The Chopping Block, TransTech Social Enterprises, Uber, United Airlines, Vanite , Viridian Energy, Whole Foods and Windy City Times.
Greg O'Neill, entrepreneur and co-owner of Pastoral, hosted a session entitled "How to Get and Keep Your Job" with Adam Zebelian of the State's Attorney's Office, business owner Kinley Preston, recruitment and HR expert Julie West of The Harvest Consulting Group, and Christy Webber, president of Christy Webber Landscapes.
Owen Daniel McCarter of the Transformative Justice Law Project hosted a session on legal and discrimination issues while on the job. Angelica Ross of TransTech ran a training, "Exploring Freelance Employment Options"
"This was an extraordinary day," said Windy City Times reporter Gretchen Rachel Blickensdefer. "To see those kids come in at first looking nervous and almost without hope and then to leave with a smile on their faces and a handful of business cards was a feeling that made everyone who was a part of the organization of this first fair, volunteers and staff alike, know that it was worth every moment spent planning. All of the businesses I spoke to were energized, some taken aback by how genuine and polite every candidate was. They want to do this again next year."
Handout from the How to Get and Keep a Job workshop
GETTING & KEEPING THAT JOB: Do's & Don'ts
When Applying & Interviewing For a Position…
-Your homework, research the company online, know what they do
-Have a resume, one that is spell-checked and proof read by someone else
-Consider having a Linked-In account for your professional persona
-Watch what you are saying on social media and consider an alias screen name
-Know your own concise story, and not just what's on the resume
-Dress appropriately. Not sure what's appropriate for a position? Ask!
-Exercise excellent personal hygiene and get some rest before interviewing.
-Show up on time and ready to go. Not too early but a few minutes early is fine.
-Display a "can do" attitude and a professional demeanor.
-Communicate clearly and not in street jargon
-Come prepared with questions and actively listen to answers to the answers
-Take brief notes on key points, great to remember for a thank you note.
-Ask for your interviewer's business card at the end
-Send a brief but prompt thank you note, either by email or mail
-No call/No show under any circumstances. Give the courtesy of a call or email.
-Speak negatively about previous employers, co-workers or positions.
-Forget a copy of your resume and a pen to fill out an application.
-Ask about pay and benefits at the very start. There's time for that later.
-Sell yourself short when talking about your experience but don't embellish either.
-Forget that even if it's your first job, you have some training and experience, list it!
Once You Have Been Hired…
-Come ready to work each day. On time. Dressed for success.
-Leave your drama at home. Check your problems at the door.
-Exercise above and beyond customer service, both internally and externally.
-Communicate clearly and professionally with superiors, peers or customers.
-Be a problem solver, not just an identifier.
-Seek out constructive feedback and learn to accept criticism in a mature way.
-Exercise the Golden Rule… Treat Others As You Wish To Be Treated!
-Forget all the advice that got you the job in the first place.
-Hesitate to ask questions or ask for help. Suffering in silence helps no one.
-Engage in workplace gossip or petty behavior. Maturity matters.
-Speak negatively about your employerespecially on social media.
-Leave a company without giving proper notice2 weeks is customary.
Download the handout at the link: www.windycitymediagroup.com/pdf/LGBTJobFairDosAndDonts.pdf .
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