Friday, April 20, 2012

TM Career Fair 2012

Hello All!

It's been awhile since my last entry, and its all because I was just too swamped to even have a few hours to myself to blog. Piles of work kept finding its way to my desk, family events to attend, cakes to bake and freelance work just added itself to my to-do list this week. I'm not complaining, coz it does mean extra moolah for me... but I do miss just laying back and spending a lazy evening with my kids. From the looks of things, that might have to wait till end of the month...

Anyhoo, to those who aren't in the know, I'm currently looking for a career upgrade. So apart from sending my CV left, right and center, I've even joined my lil sister in attending career fairs and such. I was quite reluctant to go to be honest, coz I had this misconception that these fairs mostly cater to fresh grads and undergrads. But when I heard that Telekom Malaysia was having their first Career Day, I figured why not have a go at it... check things out. If nothing else, it'll give me something to blog about, right?

TM Career & Education Fair 2012

So there I was, clad in my the most formal-like outfit, armed with a stack of CVs and my job-seeker game face, going through the throngs of people headed towards Menara TM in Bangsar at 10am last April 7th. It was a balmy Saturday morning, and looking at the queue of hopefuls waiting to get in gave me a slight anxiety attack. The queue was massive to say the least! There were people queueing towards the expo hall at the TM Convention Centre, people queueing for registration in the main Menara TM lobby, people queueing to attend the talks held at the TM multi-purpose hall. I literally felt like I was queueing for an audition for Akademi Fantasia or something. Thank goodness I went with my sister, at least crowd-watching with her would help pass the time and relieve my nerves... :)

The Venue
pic courtesy of

Since we were preddy clueless as to where to start queueing, we went straight to the source, the entrance of the convention centre. The security was tight, but we managed to sneak into the lobby, only to be turned away by the event staff who shooed us to the main office lobby to get registered and obtain the TM Career Fair Passport. So off we went to get registered. Luckily Mr.Hubster told us to register online the day before so we went straight up to the express lane for our passports. Once we got our "papers", we trotted back to the convention centre entrance only to be turned away AGAIN by the security personnel. Apparently we had to attend at least one talk first, obtain a stamp in our passports, THEN only we would be admitted into the expo hall. I guess this was their way of managing the massive crowd. I reckon if they simply let people in the roof might fall in!

So we went back the way we came, speed-walking as fast as we could so we wouldn't end up at the back of the long line (yet again!) that's snaking its way from the multi-purpose hall all the way to the main office lobby. This was officially queue-you-legs-off day. After queueing for the umpteenth time in the heat and crowd, I'm so glad that I didnt wear a blazer and 3-inch heels that day. We finally made it into the hall and waited for the talk by TM's Group CEO, Dato' Zamzamzairani Mohd Isa. I went in thinking it will be just another run-of-the-mill motivational talk about TM's success and growth, but it turned out to be a pretty inspiring and enlightening story about Dato' Zam's humble beginnings and his rise to success. Of course, he also talked about TM's history, current and present plans :)

As soon as the talk was over, people started to rush out of the hall, causing massive congestion at the doors. Clearly all the education in the world could never teach some people how to queue properly without proper guidance... huhu. We got our passports stamped and followed the stream of young hopefuls headed towards the expo hall. Again, a queue. I took the time to take in the "competition". Apart from the occasional experienced-looking hopefuls (some came with their kids & babies!), about 80% of the attendees were fresh grads or undergrads.. and I was feeling extra conspicuous and a tad "aged" at that moment. But I kept thinking positive thoughts and started to plan what to say to the executives manning the department booths in the hall. First impression is everything after all.

The 4th time we had to queue.
(This was how it looked like after about half an hour of waiting...)

When we finally entered the hall, we were greeted by a sea of applicants. Imagine a mini Wall Street stock market scenario with alot less hands in the air if you will. There were so many people that you almost missed the beauty of the Kristal Hall where the whole shindig was held. The booths were lined up against the walls, and each booth was swarmed by hopefuls. Initially, I only targeted 3 booths, but in the end managed to hand out more CVs to other department booths as well. Most of the departments were really just collecting handed out CVs, but some actually did take the time to look through my resume and chatted with me. You see, a piece of paper (the CV) shouldn't be the make or break of an applicant. On paper, all that's apparent is my not-so-flattering CGPA from 9 years ago. But if you took the time to actually TALK to me, then maybe you can see something more than just those numbers. And its those executives who did "chat" with me that handed out an approved stamp on my form and led me to the next step: Assessment.

So I was led up to the 2nd floor of the convention centre for the Assessment test. At this point, it was already almost 3pm, and I was exhausted from all the queueing, and famished from missing lunch. We had to wait to be called for the test, but at least it was in a well-conditioned, seated hall. Each department has a different set of assessment tests, unique to each job vacancy. After finally being called for the test and completing it, I was asked to come for an interview the next day. A part of me was relieved, as I get to take a break from all the waiting and can go fill up my growling tummy. But in the back of my mind I knew that that night would be a nerve-racking ordeal of anticipation and anxiety. Who doesn't have pre-interview jitters, right? And this would be my first interview in 4 long years. How would I handle it?

The next day, I returned to Menara TM for the interview. I was taken to the waiting room to wait with a group of applicants. I was number 46. 46!! And there were more filing in. An executive appeared and called about 15 of us to follow him. Off we marched to the corridor of interview rooms to await our turn to face the firing squad  (or should I say hiring squad?) Haha. The whole corridor was thick with nervous anticipation. Some, like me, managed it with some light-hearted banter. Some was busy reading and re-reading their CVs, hands white-knuckled and shaking. When my turn came, I was quite surprised that they called me by name and not by number. Hoping against hope that that was a good sign, I walked in with as much confidence as I could muster. The interview went well, I think. I just hope I made a good enough impression to stand out from the rest.

So that was my first career fair experience. All things considered, I must say that the TM Career Fair was a runaway success. The concept (passport and step-by-step filtering) was simple, effective and systematic. TM might have underestimated the amount of people who would be coming and applying for jobs, though. The event staff looked just as harrassed as the applicants haha. I just hope the next time TM decides to hold another event of this magnitude, they'd be more prepared for huge crowds and have more "crowd-wranglers" to help smooth things along. As for me... I just hope I get a callback. Do wish me luck my lovelies... :)

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