Job seekers flock to 5th annual GLBT Job Expo at SMU

Posted on 29 Apr 2010 at 6:00pm
By DAVID TAFFET | Staff Writer taffet@dallasvoice.com

Recruiters say jobs available; most urge job hunters to check websites

"More jobs are available now than in the last few years, and they’re all listed on the website."

That was the message from recruiters at the fifth annual GLBT Job Expo held Wednesday, April 28, at Southern Methodist University.

Some recruiters did interviews and took resumes. Others talked to applicants about their agencies or companies and helped direct them to particular departments.

All said they were impressed by the quality of applicants that this job fair attracts.

Organizers said the event was moved to a larger location on the SMU campus than originally planned — and still space was tight with the larger-than-expected crowd.

But several recruiters said this expo was laid out better than most that they attend.

Two representatives with the National Security Agency came from Washington to talk to potential recruits from the LGBT community. The NSA reps, however, were quite secretive about their Dallas mission and would not talk to the media.

Rafael McDonnell from Resource Center Dallas, one of the event sponsors, said he made contact with them at an Out & Equal meeting and was delighted by their attendance.

Literature at the booth indicated that they were looking for people for cryptoanalysis skills, computer/electrical engineering skills, foreign language and math skills.

The local office of another branch of the federal government, the Environmental Protection Agency, was more forthcoming.

Although they have no current openings, Craig Weeks of the Dallas EPA office said he expected job postings this summer for environmental scientists and attorneys.

He said that Dallas’ air was not up to national standards for ozone levels (compared to Houston’s which suffers from pollution from its refining industry). With no immediate remedy in sight, job security, once vacancies are posted, is ensured.

Weeks said the Ross Avenue office is on three DART rail lines, a perfect way to help protect Dallas’ air.

Other companies and government entities had a number of jobs to fill.

Capital One has been rapidly expanding in the Dallas area. Recently, their mortgage division has been consolidated in Plano. They expect to eventually employ 1,000 people in that office.

Megan Taub-Smith is a recruiting director for MetLife. She was looking for financial advisors. She said this expo attracts high-quality job seekers.

Normally, Taub-Smith said, she finds one or two out of 70 resumes worth pursuing at a job fair. At the GLBT Job Expo, she already was interested in seven or eight of the 50 resumes she received.

Jose Cruz was among the deputies from the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department recruiting corrections officers from the LGBT community. He said 40 detention jobs were open in Dallas County and they hoped to fill five to 10 of them from the applicants at the fair.

He mentioned the necessary qualifications.

"Honesty, commitment to do the necessary work, clean criminal background," Cruz said. "Size doesn’t matter but have confidence in yourself to do the job. Be tough, strong-minded."

In addition, applicants must be at least 19 years old, citizens, registered with selective service and able to pass a psychological test, a polygraph and a physical exam.

By the middle of the afternoon, Cruz sat with a stack of resumes that he said he would pass along for the next round in their recruitment process.

David N. Walsh, an enforcement agent with Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, wanted word to get out about the good things his agency does. He assured that they have no interest in closing bars.

"If we closed the bars down, we’d be out of business," he said, noting that liquor license fees fund the agency.

Walsh had information with him about one current posting for an auditor but said other positions are available on the website.

He encouraged people to apply with the agency and said it was a great place to work and was very diverse.

The team from Texas Instruments said they got "great resumes from engineers" and were "taking them and passing them on," while Raytheon was talking to applicants, but said telling them to go online to apply.

Erika Curry of Metro PCS, based in Richardson, was doing "mini-interviews" but encouraged anyone who missed the expo to look on their website and that they were hiring.

"We’re here to direct you to the website," a representative from the city of Fort Worth said.

"Retail and corporate jobs are all on the website," Tino Gonzales from Best Buy said.

In addition to stores throughout the Metroplex, Best Buy has a regional office in Farmers Branch.

Recruiters from a number of companies — including Bank of America, whose southwest headquarters is downtown, and, McKesson, a pharmaceutical and medical supplies company with an office in Lewisville — said more jobs are open this year than last.

The North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce, Resource Center Dallas, Dallas Voice and Cox School of Business were the event sponsors.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 30, 2010.

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