5 ways to maximise your opportunities at career fairs

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In our reality today, there’s a disproportionate number of job-seekers looking to fill a certain number of vacancies. As a result, the need to stand out becomes even more justified.

But what if your GPA isn’t incredibly high? What if you were never president or founder of any student club? What if your social impact is more evident outside of school, and is hardly quantifiable or measurable?

These are common questions that may cause a young adult’s self-image to become adversely affected. Fear not, my friend, because our recruiters tell me their assessment involves more than just GPA and extra-curricular activities.

Here, I present to you 5 useful tips for maximising opportunities at career fairs!

1. Ask company-specific questions

Asking general questions like “What’s your company culture?” and “How many employees are there working in Singapore?” isn’t a crime. In fact, it’s good for you to ask these questions, so you can determine your fit. Say you prefer creating new structures as opposed to following old ones – you’ll find your time more fulfilling in an open-minded start-up, instead of a rigid, by-the-book large corporation.


To really stand out, try: Researching about the company, and asking more specific questions like “What projects can I expect to work on as a Data Scientist?” and “What does the day-to-day of the Payment software engineer role look like?”


2. Speak loudly and confidently

Our recruiters aren’t hard of hearing, so you don’t have to shout. But career fairs are usually a boisterous affair, so you’ll have to speak up! And because the scene can get a little chaotic sometimes, our recruiters may hear you wrongly the first time. It’s alright; just repeat your question politely. One recruiter adds, “Be confident too. How can you convince me that you’re a stellar candidate if you don’t think so yourself?


To really stand out, try: Understanding that no one is perfect, and accepting yourself for the flawed individual that you are. Only then will you find your voice to speak up for yourself. And when you do, you’ll naturally speak in a positive and self-assured manner. You’ve got this! 


3. Show genuine interest

Being a good listener isn’t a trait only boyfriends and managers should have – it’s an essential characteristic for job applicants too! Our recruiter shares an off-putting encounter, “[The student] tried to hand me his resume thrice without even asking about our vacancies. I would’ve shared more, but I had seen him blindly handing his resumes out at every company booth. We can always tell if you’re really interested or not!


To really stand out, try: Making a beeline for companies you’re really interested in, and keeping an open mind for those that you’re hardly keen on. You’ll be surprised – employer brands in the digital and word-of-mouth space are one thing; reality is another. Ask the right questions, and you’ll find that most recruiters are extremely willing to divulge more!


4. Ask questions, not interrogate

Tone and tact is everything, you guys. You may be well-educated, but are you well-mannered? How’re you doing in the EQ department? One recruiter shares a nasty encounter with a Masters student, “[He] came up to me and started demanding explanations for why the Shopee app didn’t have certain features his eCommerce startup had. The interaction was very telling of his personality and character. It was an easy ‘no’ from me!”


To really stand out, try: Engaging your recruiter in an enjoyable conversation. A job application isn’t meant to be transactional; it’s supposed to be relational. Smile when you ask questions, word your thoughts carefully, and be watchful about your tone. 


5. Dress for the occasion

Would you dress in flip-flops and FBT shorts for your first date? I didn’t think so. The same goes for career fairs – you’ll be meeting hundreds of company representatives for the first time, so make sure you dress professionally enough! You don’t have to dress like Lady Gaga or an attorney, but make sure you don a semi-casual attire at the very least.


To really stand out, try: Ironing your clothes. This is some ultra-basic advice, I know; but crumpled clothes, no matter how expensive or otherwise, never make a good impression. When in doubt, ask the most fashionable friend you have and get him/her to lay the truth on you!


Bookmark Shopee’s recruitment events on our career site. If you can’t wait till then, just check out the available job openings here! You can also get a glimpse of how the people in Shopee are like here and here. Need more advice for your job search? We have you covered.

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