Kick-starting your career after graduation can be intimidating, so we’ve rounded up tips from experts at JobStreet.com and Robert Walters Singapore to help you get the job you’ve always wanted.
1 HOW TO LOOK FOR OPENINGS
The struggle is real when it comes to starting your job search, so decide on what you really want and focus on positions in those areas.
Use Job Portals
Job portals like JobStreet.com and LinkedIn consolidate openings relevant to your interest, which saves you time when it comes to finding the perfect position. Best part? Upload your resume to apply for jobs even when you’re on the go!
Zoom in on Your Dream Industry
If you already know what industry you’re keen on, go straight to job portals that only reflect careers in that industry. For example, if you’re interested in joining the government, careers.gov.sg has a list of available positions. Into startups? Check out sg.startupjobs.asia.
Look Beyond Your Major
If you absolutely hated what you studied in school, you’ll be glad to know it’s OK to go into a completely different field right after graduation due to the lower opportunity cost. “Give yourself some time to pursue your dream career, but if it doesn’t work out in the way you planned, you may want to revert to your field of study,” says Chook Yuh Yng from JobStreet.com.
Determine Your Market Rate
Do some research by going on payscale.com or talk to some of your contacts in the industry before you decide on your expected pay. If you’re a fresh grad, be warned that you may not be able to demand a market salary rate if you’re looking for a job that is not related to your major.
2 HOW TO CREATE YOUR RESUME
Let’s just say googling template resumes is definitely not the best approach to crafting the document that’ll get you a job.
Include Your Profile
Aside from your education and work experience, your profile contains the most important information for employers. Make sure you’ve got your name, nationality, age and contact details down so that employers can quickly get a sense of who you are.
Include a Photo
This is not a must, but it’s still good practice to add a professional headshot to your resume. Make sure the background is clean and you’re wearing an appropriate outfit (and expression!) in the picture. PS: selfies are most definitely a no-no.
Don’t Go Overboard
Results from a survey by JobStreet. com show that your resume should not go beyond four pages. “Employers can receive up to hundreds of applications for a single job posted and spend an average of 10 to 15 seconds reviewing each resume before deciding if it’s worth shortlisting,” says Yuh Yng.
Simplicity is Key
You may be inspired by beautifully designed resumes on the internet, but the same survey by JobStreet. com revealed only 13 percent of employers are impressed by fancy resumes. So don’t worry about adding cool graphics – let your academic background and work experience speak for themselves instead.
List Your Hobbies
Applying for a position in the F&B industry? Then you may want to note down your love for baking. “Interests and hobbies can be a plus point if potential employers are able to relate them to the job. It could be an additional talking point during the interview too,” says Yuh Yng. Volunteering experience is also a plus, especially if it showcases soft skills like leadership or public speaking.
3 HOW TO WRITE A COVER LETTER
Treat your cover letter as a 30-second elevator pitch you give about yourself. Keep it short, snappy and, most importantly, use it to showcase your best abilities.
Summarise Your Skills
A cover letter serves as an introduction to your resume, so talk about how your skills, experiences and personal traits can be an asset to the company.
Keep it Short
Rambling is a big no-no, so keep things concise with information relevant to the position or company. Three to five paragraphs is the ideal length for cover letters and start cutting words if you find yourself going beyond one page.
Consider an Executive Summary Instead
Can’t be bothered to do a cover letter? The good news is, you can replace it with an executive summary in your resume. Executive summaries convey your top selling points to the employer in a glance and allows you to place emphasis on your key strengths.
4 HOW TO PREP FOR YOUR INTERVIEW
Winging your interview is definitely the worst idea ever. Make sure you’ve done your homework before going for any “chats” with a potential employer.
Know Your Resume Inside Out
Always review your resume before going for your interview. “One of the worst things that can happen during the interview is to give a different set of information from the one your resume contains. It tells the interviewer that you are not prepared and the information on your resume is inaccurate,” says Wendy Heng from Robert Walters Singapore.
Do Your Homework
As your teachers used to say, finishing your homework before leaving the house is very important. Find out all you can about the company and familiarise yourself with the skills needed for the position. Skipping this step shows you’re halfhearted about the job and that’s a total red flag for the interviewer.
We get it, office wear may not be the most comfortable attire in the world. But first impressions are crucial, so stay on the safe side by being neat and appropriately dressed. It’s also important to note that your choice of outfit should differ based on the industry you applied to. For example, bust out that pantsuit for an interview at a bank, but going a tad more casual is a-OK if you’re interviewing for a savvy new tech start-up.
Your turn to ask!
Your interviewer shouldn’t be doing all the asking. Posing questions to your potential employer is a great way to show that you’ve fully considered the position and your suitability for the job.
● Why has this position become available?
Why ask it: It’s important for you to know why this position is open. Is it because someone left the role or is it a new position? If so, why was it created? This will inform you about the management and growth expectations of the company.
● What do you like about working for this company?
Why ask it: Gaining insight into the company you’re applying to from someone who’s already part of it will help you to find out more about its culture and whether you’d be a good fit. You would also gain a sense of what the team you’d be working for is like.
● What are the measures used to judge how suitable I am for this role?
Why ask it: This is useful to know as every company operates differently. It will reveal the approach the company takes with its employees, and also point you to aspects about yourself to highlight that you may have missed out.
● What can I expect in terms of development and support?
Why ask it: This question will show that you are keen on growing, learning and staying with the company. It will also allow you to find out more about whether the role offers what you are looking for in the long run.
● Where does the job fit into the team structure?
Why ask it: Not only does this provide you with a chance to see how you can progress within the team, it also gives you an opportunity to understand the team that you’ll be part of.