Friday, January 27, 2006

A week at the UP Job Fair

In college, I actually enjoyed the deathly dull task of manning booths for our org. Others would avoid getting assigned to a shift like they would going to the dentist or attending Theo class, but I never minded taking on an extra shift or 2. I don't know how sitting behind a table waiting for people to come up to you can be fun, but I liked it, from interviewing member applicants to selling movie premiere tickets.

So when our company joined the UP Job Fair this year, I didn't complain when my bosses (i.e. my folks) appointed me to man our booth during the week-long event. Of course since I was needed at the office also, I couldn't afford to take on whole-day shifts for the entire week, so Hanks subbed for me when needed. By the middle of the first day of the job fair, I was relieved that I wouldn't be sticking around all 5 days because I was booooored out of my miiiiind. Foot traffic was disappointing, especially since UP is such a huge campus with a huge population. Company talks given by the major sponsors were annoying at best, inane at worst. And there were absolutely no cute guys around to ogle. It was a good thing I had the foresight to bring a book (Gregory Maguire's Son of a Witch, sequel to Wicked) and my Palm (nothing like a game of Bejeweled to help me zone out).

I also drew up a mental list of advice to graduating students applying for their first jobs:
  • Kids, if you're attending a job fair, it's common practice to be armed with many, many copies of your resume for distribution. And please, paste your photos beforehand. It shows poor preparation when you're smearing glue on the back of a 2x2 right before you hand it to a prospective employer.
  • Ask questions about the company, fer cryin' out loud! The HR people manning the booths aren't automatons sent to collect your resumes. They're supposed to be answering any questions you have about the job openings, the nature of the work required and the company itself. If you get called for an interview and know diddly-squat about the company you're applying for, then you're not going to impress anyone.
  • Don't listen to speakers from big companies who make it sound like they know everything there is to finding a job. Chances are those same big companies will be the ones turning you down and flushing your career hopes down the corporate toilet. There just aren't enough skyscrapers in Makati to accommodate all of you, my dears.
  • When the company representative speaks to you in straight English and you go "huh? ano ulit?", you lose major pogi points.
  • Sure, you just came from a 3-hour exam, you walked from Palma Hall to the Bahay ng Alumni, and it's raining cats and dogs. But you're not going to have time to explain your disheveled appearance to the person taking your resume and giving your sorry ass a once-over. (P.S. If you're applying for a garments/fashion company and you show up in a ratty t-shirt and ill-fitting jeans, don't get your hopes up that they'll be calling anytime soon.)
  • You are in no position to ask about a managerial level job opening when you have zero work experience, and your diploma hasn't even been printed yet.
  • Beggars can't be choosers. You're on that side of the booth, you don't get to dictate jack.
One last thought prompted by my week at the job fair: I am very, very appreciative of Ateneo's Placement Office for guiding us through the whole harrowing fresh-grad job-hunting experience. They taught us how to write sensible resumes, how to attend job fairs (bringing stacks of resumes with pre-pasted ID photos), and how to talk to company HR officers. They really helped us land good jobs with major companies, edging out competition from other schools. Sometimes, being spoiled has its benefits.

7 Comments:

At Saturday, January 28, 2006, Anonymous jac said...

There are actually job fairs in Canada for high school students. The job fair is usually for summer jobs though and, they don't require photos to be pasted on the resumes because they're trying not to be discriminatory.

Very funny comments there. Did you pick anyone from UP?

 
At Sunday, January 29, 2006, Blogger Twinkle said...

yeah, I didn't see any pictures on the resumes submitted by other students at the UBC career fair either. Just plain black and white sheets :D
but, thanks for the tips! they're bound to be useful for me in the future! :D
-jenica

 
At Monday, January 30, 2006, Blogger Ailee Through the Looking Glass said...

Each culture has its own job-hunting practices, so I'm sure the no-photo thing is ok there in Canada, but ID photos are still expected to be submitted here. In any case, ill preparation in any form is not the first impression you want to give a prospective employer, right? But knowing you, I'm sure when the time comes for you to start applying for a job, you'll be primed and prepped for everything. ;)

 
At Friday, February 03, 2006, Blogger donkey said...

hi ms lim! hehe talking about job fairs, would you be willing to sponsor a booth in la salle? my org is planning on organizing one, sometime march or april. you can just contact me (email me :P) if you want one, we'd be willing to accomodate you! ehehe! (even if you umm...dislike (?) la salle)

-leah (leahhcu@yahoo.com)

 
At Friday, February 03, 2006, Blogger Ailee Through the Looking Glass said...

"Dislike" is putting it mildly, hehe. ;p But even putting my Archer prejudices aside, I don't think our company would open a booth at a DLSU job fair, for the simple reason that there's less foot traffic (since the campus is off-limits to outsiders). Besides, by March or April we may have already hired the people we need. However, if the booth rental isn't that high, we may consider it. Send me a proposal through email and I'll get back to you. :)

 
At Monday, March 13, 2006, Anonymous jojojo said...

every resume talk i've attended in the states, they were like DON'T PUT YOUR PICTURE! plus we needed to keep it to a page, maximum. no blocks of text, just bullet points and white space. i had to cut out all my high school stuff, too. it was pretty sad to delete all those activities. :_( parang wala nang natira sa resume ko.

when i did my internship over the summer in mla, though, i saw 10-page long resumes with humongous pictures. hahaha. the funny thing is, the better-looking people probably did have an advantage... when recruiters were bored by resumes of qualified but blah-looking people, they were like, let's throw someone cute into the mix. might as well have some eye candy at the end of a long day of interviews. hahahhaaha.

i think there should be some sort of international standard. imagine if candidates from different countries apply for a certain position...? :)

 
At Monday, March 13, 2006, Blogger Ailee Through the Looking Glass said...

I think the common practice abroad is NOT to attach an ID photo. But here in the Philippines, where we put a high premium on appearances, photos are a must on resumes. (especially in our line of business, we need to see if the applicant has good fashion sense or not, so those who show up for interviews have to be well-dressed). But I do balk at multi-page resumes. Ateneo taught us the same thing: squeeze everything into 1 page, because no HR officer in their right mind would pore over 5 pages of your accomplishments dating back to grade school. :p

 

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