Sunday, January 25, 2009

At the Job Fair

What with graduation being only a couple of months away, I found myself wandering amongst the booths at the Engineering job fair last week, checking out companies like a shopper in a supermarket. Actually I felt more like a teenager window-shopping at a mall - I didn't have any copies of my resume with me, because I didn't know that you could fill up application forms and leave your resume at the booths. I was wistfully looking around, avoiding the glances of representatives from companies that had nothing to do with IT. A few of them reminded me of the sales attendants at department stores, the ones who watch your every move as you browse through the merchandise; as soon as anyone stared at the signs on their booths or the flyers on their tables for more than a couple of seconds they would home in, like flies to exposed meat. Most of them, however, seemed not to care if anyone took interest in their companies, leaving me to read their posters in peace.

My curiosity got me talking to the people manning booths that I found interesting in one way or another. I didn't visit every IT booth - I skipped the ones I had no interest in, like IBM and Accenture. (Sounds snooty, I guess, but I'm just not into mainframes or COBOL. XP) I suppose that was an unwise decision, given the current state of the economy, but at the time I was just looking at what the participating IT companies I'd never heard of were offering. It was only after I had met up with other Computer Science students at the fair that I realized they were holding many, many more flyers than I was. ~.~ Anyway, I got to talk to different kinds of company representatives at the job fair, and each one falls under one of four broad categories:

  • HR people
Most of the people manning booths belong to this category. Some of them had nice smiles, and actually recognized me when I went back a couple of days later to follow up my resume. Unfortunately, a lot of them couldn't describe in specific terms the type of work being done by the software developers from their company; one in particular barraged me with spiels with a stubbornly serious expression on her face. She seemed impatient with me whenever I asked a question, and she didn't smile at all while she was talking, even when she first approached me. She was exactly the kind of representative I don't want to talk to at a job fair. -.- At any rate, it was probably a good thing that her company's software developers worked on mainframes; I only approached her booth 'cause I was curious about the snazzy (but uninformative XP) posters.
  • young Engineering alumni
I usually see these people giving testimonials at company talks, but at the job fair I saw a couple of them manning the booth of a big company. They were dressed in crisp corporate clothes, like the students who were coordinating the job fair; if they weren't manning booths I could have mistaken them for upperclassmen. They looked bored, and weren't so keen on telling me about their company and the kind of work they did. (I guess they must have been in the HR department, but they still seemed like students...the UP vibe hadn't quite worn off yet. ^^) One of them perked up when he saw from my resume that I was from Manila Science High School, like him; sadly, that was pretty much the highlight of my talking with them. ~.~
  • managers
These were the people I wanted to talk to at the job fair. They have a solid knowledge of the kind of work their company assigns to software developers, and thus are able to answer all sorts of questions. The longest talks I had were with managers. One of them was a middle-aged woman from a startup company; after I handed in my application form she asked me all about my programming background, then proceeded to give me a detailed overview of what work would be like if her company decided to hire me. It was practically an informal interview, the only difference being that I was clad in old jeans and a loose T-shirt instead of a knee-length skirt and a blouse with puff sleeves. (Now that I think about it, I wish I wouldn't have to go through the whole business of putting on a corporate costume and being in a formal atmosphere. It's so much easier to talk least, I won't be as nervous. o.o;;)
  • invisible people
Quite a few booths were manned by people under this category. They don't put in any effort at all in recruiting the students wandering amongst the booths; they don't even bother to pick up the fallen flyers on the floor. They just hang around, silently watching the goings-on. I avoided their booths; they looked kinda creepy. :P hehe.


Aimee said...

invisible people? xD


pero ganda yan o.o; sayang ala ka resume o.o;

Sting Lacson said...

go graduates! lol!

i've never even been to a job fair. are you taking computers as a career and writing as a hobby? or will it be the other way around? :-)

Sting Lacson said...

sonic the hedgehog?? nice lol :))

tina said...

@sting yeah, my career is gonna revolve around computers... technically though, programmers spend their lives writing. code, that is. XP i'll be writing prose during those pockets of time in between writing code ~.~ good luck to me, then...

i was wondering if anyone would notice that it was sonic :D if you click on him thrice he'll do the triple-spin thing... ^^

Rich said...

Natry ko na si sonic. Haha! Natawa ako, naisip kong makapag-ampon din ng isa.

Sabi nung isang 05, ok daw ang Mercury, sana matanggap ka dun. Mukha namang kasundo mo si manager :D