ROMBA Career Summit: Reaching Out for LGBTQQI Business Recruiting!

Are you going to the 17th annual ROMBA Career Summit in Chicago Oct 8-10th?  

"The Reaching Out LGBT MBA & Business Graduate Conference is the annual conference of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) graduate business school students - the largest gathering of LGBT business students in the world."
In my work with UGA MBA students I support them with all aspects of their career planning, job search, interviews and salary negotiations. Additionally, I also provide corporate relations support to the companies that want to recruit on campus. I help bridge the communication gap between candidates and company recruiters. Lately, I've had more and more requests from private practice clients who want coaching on National Business Career Expo's.  So, that is the inspiration for this blog post. 

The Reaching Out Career Summit and Expo is an annual MBA conference and career expo. It is hosted in a different city and state each year. In 2015, it was hosted in Chicago, Illinois from Oct 8-10th and overlapped with the NSHMBA Hispanic MBA Career Expo in Chicago Oct 9-11th. Some of my MBA students attended both events to maximize their professional exposure and business contacts.

ROMBA "The conference presents a dynamic line-up of industry speakers, workshops and panelists representing all sectors of the business community, from finance and entrepreneurship to non-profits and entertainment & media."

ROMBA Gold Sponsors
From a recruiters perspective, they want to promote their company brand and to meet eligible business candidates. From a candidates' perspective – they just want a job! I've had graduate MBA students attend this event and they reported that it's a good use of their time and efforts. Also, they said it was inclusive and they felt very comfortable participating at this unique event. 

ROMBA Student Admissions.

A Career Expo, isn’t a first date, it is a first hello. You cannot expect a job from a career fair! There are many interim steps to reach this lofty goal. At the expo make a great first impression and stand out from the crowd. If you're lucky, you'll score a ticket or invitation to the employer 'after-parties,' and evening social 'mixers'. Go if you're invited. At these events, practice your networking and communication skills. Exchange business cards and meet decision makers. Recruiters will assess a candidates' demeanor, handshake, inter-personal skills, attire and confidence at these socials. If you make a great impression, you may be offered an interview. 

With these reset expectations, you are on track. So let’s begin.

Top 10 Career Fair Strategies

1) Without a Career Expo Action-Plan you are wasting your time and the employers time. Quality of contacts, is much more important than quantity. Prior to the event, review the Career Expo website. Research the employers and review the list of registered companies. Create a first tier list, second tier list and third tier list of employer that you would like to speak to.

2) Review the exhibitor floor plan – know where you are going. Work the convention floor in an organized manner. Arrive early, begin at the back of the room, where the recruiters are still fresh. You may want to begin with your third tier companies 'just for practice.'

3) Wear comfortable shoes. Bring a roomy, briefcase or portfolio. Ideally you can sling your bag over your left-side. Keep your right hand free, for shaking hands. You do not want to fumble the first impression. Store the brochures you receive in your portfolio, not jumbled up in the free bag. you receive at the event.

4) Treat the recruiters’ as human beings, not just machines to dispense information and hire people. Don't monopolize their time when there are many others candidates who are waiting. Be polite. Don't just drop off your resume, this is very 2000's. Make a lasting impression and interact with representatives. Be friendly and confident not sullen and anxious.  

5) If you only interact with recruiters, you have missed out on 50% of the networking. Interact with the Career Fair organizers, people at the registration desk, career coaches, attend workshops, speak to the presenters. Network with other attendees even while you are standing in line. You never know who you can help or who can help you. 

6) Create a “verbal business card,” your 45-second elevator pitch. Tell employers what you're seeking and the value you can add to the organization. It should not be a memorized speech.

7) Get regular, Business Cards printed. A new trend is creating a mini-resume on your business card. and or creating a digital business card. These look like 3 inch CD's with the ends squared off. Each disk can store your entire website, resume, bio, samples of your projects etc. These are especially hot for professionals in Technology, Social Media and Marketing. There are specialty companies which can burn these mini CD's for you.

8) Proxemics and Body language: A strong, firm handshake, projects confidence. Other essentials are fresh breath, good eye-contact and a smile. Maintain personal space and don’t invade the space of the recruiters. Dress professionally.

9)  If there's a career expo as part of the conference you can apply for jobs several weeks BEFORE the event.  The more recruiters see you and get to know you, the more they will remember you.  See my blog post on Resume Fashions What's Hot, What's Not!
10) After the expo, follow up! Send a thank you card or letter to employers who spent time with you. By this I mean a traditional, snail mail letter with a stamp and envelope. It is much harder to discard or ignore this, than a quick email which may be discarded. Follow up with select employers and remind them of your conversations and anything that was memorable about you. Delineate how you can contribute and reference any specific jobs you discussed at the fair. See post on Cover Letter Fashions What's Hot, What's Not!

Happy job hunting! Keep me posted on your career progression. I'd love to hear your success stories...

Author: © 2015 -present All Rights Reserved - Sharon B. Cohen, MA, Counseling Psychology, CPRP. Career Counselor and Career Transition Specialist. "Virtual Career Counseling: helping business professionals, reach their career potential!"

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