Clueless in a job fair at Trinoma


It was 4 p.m. when, as was my habit, I entered the Ayala-owned Trinoma mall via the North Avenue station of Metro Rail Transit (MRT) en route to an FX taxi station. At the mall’s activity center though, a big white announcement for a job fair caught my attention.

Why don’t I try it just to check out my chances? I thought. Although unsure of myself, I registered at the booth.

A guy urging every job seeker to join his company was handing out application forms. He told me: ‘Hi ma’am, we are waiting for you. Please fill up this form and go to our booth.’

It was not the jobs and companies I had expected; I thought that other than openings for customer service representatives, there’d be other companies seeking new employees.

It took a short time to survey all of the booths. At the other end was the BPO company Convergys. I asked the woman watching over the booth if I still had to give them my resume – she just shook her head. I talked in English and was amazed that the lady in the booth appeared at a loss as to what to say in reply. Perhaps she did not expect I would talk to her that way.

With another application form in my hand, I took another round and tried the BPO named Sykes. I did the same and asked for their application form but since I got an Ascends application form in my hand I did not bother to come back.

Others who attended the job fair wore business attire while I was just wearing a casual green and brown colored top and jeans. Applicants seemed to have come prepared for this. They were even armed with envelopes and pens. Their hair were brushed up or secured in neat ponytails. I felt ashamed that I came unprepared.

When I found an empty seat, I filled up the application forms in my hand. Beside me were three guys arguing over what to write down on their application form. When done I walked to the booth of Convergys.

A minute later I was already headed to an interview. I thought I was not yet too nervous for my interview. The interviewee asked my name. As soon as she began I had trouble comprehending what she was saying: she started to talk too fast and I could not understand a thing. I gave her a nod when she would look at me; I managed to even give her a smile. I think it prodded her to give me the benefit of the doubt.

“What position are you applying for?” dumbfounded me. Was I not supposed to be applying to become a call center agent? So I told her I was applying to become a call center agent. She nodded then asked: “Are you applying for full time or part time?”

When I told her I was a student I guessed I made a mistake. I blew up my chance and she started blabbering that I had to give it a try some other time. I was disappointed to be told to just come back again, but that did not stop me from trying another BPO company.

I pulled myself up and filled up another application form. Then I immediately went to the said company’s booth. Sykes had little space for a booth and as soon as I handed in my application I was being interviewed standing up. I thought this would be conducted as fast as possible.

The same questions were asked and I met with the same disappointment. It was a mistake again to tell them I was still a student. I had thought I was gaining headway with the interviewer but I lost it. He said he had already given his comments on my application form; I hoped it was not that bad. But if I was accepted he said he would have considered me for a position right away. I was a little disheartened. That did not stop me from considering another try, but later I changed my mind.

I looked around me. These people milling the booths may be just like me who are trying out their chances, but maybe most are indeed in dire need of a job. I think that some were just killing time while waiting for the big opportunity, and every person I saw in the job fair seems to have hope in their eyes. They were probably hoping that after graduating from a four year course they might have a job and with that they might be able to help their parents if not help themselves. As for me, I still have the luxury of not worrying about looking for a job and getting disappointed, that is, until I graduate, then I would have to join those who start the day at the job fair with hope in their eyes that grew dim as the day wore on. (

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