Mapping Out Your Dream Job

Do you have a dream job? If so, do you have clear professional goals to reach your dream job? Before you decide your dream job, better map it out first!

In order to move forward, you need to identify your professional goals. It allows you to plan for the types of work experiences you’ll need to get the dream job. Also, it gives you an objective to work towards mapping out your dream job, now! Here are several ways to create a blueprint for your dream job:

1. Turn your head to the future, not the past

Everyone had a past, which was either bright or dark. Well, nobody should be living their past anymore. Don’t let your past determine your future.

Now, map your future that you want to achieve. Those are your work, accomplishments, financial goals, personal relationships and more. This map can be updated whenever you feel it needs to be renewed.

Yes, nothing lasts forever. If you feel that you lost interest in your current position, you can always look to other areas. Moving from one company to another is also possible.

Write down your career goals, such as a new skill or a promotion. Stick to it! Work towards it one by one.

2. Be perspective

Sometimes, a bad day can easily changed your mind about the future. “Maybe, I’m not supposed to work here!” kind of thing. Before that happen, make a list of the things you love about your current position. Just focus on the good things before you make a decision that you would regret in the future.

If you want to stay, you need to raise the bar. Discuss with your boss and colleagues to try something new. Mentor a younger co-worker or take an assignment that you never done before. Basically, you need to integrate with the company. That way, you can be inspired and energised during your work days.

3. Explore new ways to accelerate your career

Mostly, career is not a climbing ladder anymore. This is not a bad thing, because you are able to find a few creative ways to get your dream job instantly. Just know yourself and your strengths, always leverage your network, and keep developing the skills you need. Learn from a capable mentor and hear his/her advice. You can also change your dream job based on current situation and your mentor’s advice.

How to Answer These 4 Most Common Interview Questions

For people who have been through plenty of job interviews, we realise that common interview questions do exist. Let’s take a look at these most common interview questions and how to answer them.

1. Why do you want to fill this position?

People at the company you’re applying for would love to hear about what makes you want to apply for that position. Of course, they expect to hear an exceptional answer from you. In order to do that, you need to identify a few key factors that make the role a great fit for you.

Sometimes, the answer might not be enough, because it’s all about you. Honestly, this question also forces you to share the reason on why you love the company. Your admiration to the company could be the reason you’re considered as a stand-out candidate.

2. Can you tell me about yourself?

You’ve heard this question all the time, but there’s a chance you still fail to answer it at its best. The hiring managers don’t want to hear it all, like your personal history. You need to make it concise when you’re answering this question.

Just choose 2-3 relevant experiences that might interest the interviewer to know about. Make sure you can convince them that those accomplishments are the right capital for the position you’re applying for.

3. What is your expected salary?

There’s no exact way on how to answer this question. The right answer depends on your education, skills, and experience. If you’re clueless, then do some research on what you should be paid. Apart from that, be a flexible candidate. Tell the interviewer that you respect your skills, but you are still willing to negotiate. It shows that you really want the job.

4. Any questions for me?

Do you often say “no” for this question? If yes, you’re throwing a chance on becoming a noticeable candidate. Be curious enough about the company and its culture. That way, the interview can draw a conclusion that you’re one passionate candidate.

Ask the interviewer about how much they love working at the company, or the company’s future plan. They will be happy that you care about them.

 

Those are the most common interview questions with tips on how to answer them. Let’s land the job on your next interview!

What to Do After Networking Can't Help You Land a Job

Everyone knows that networking is crucial when you are searching for a new job. However, you might be a bit unlucky on networking. Say, your circles can’t really help you to get your dream job. Or, you are simply not that good at networking.

Unfortunately, you need to land a job as soon as possible. Yet, branching out to new people takes a lot of time. The only thing you can do is leverage the people you already know. Here are a few things to do:

  1. Give some help

Yes, you’re the one who needs help. But let’s be honest, nobody will ever help you if you never did a favour before. Most people will ignore your demanding email, and left you feel that they are not being helpful. However, it’s normal for them not to help you, because you always there when you need something.

Be the person who is always open to help anyone. People will remember you little help, and most likely help you back in the future.

If you urgently need their help, you can at least not to be too straightforward. Ask them about something before you ask for their favour. Remember, offer to help them after they did a favour. A “thank you” is just not enough.

  1. Explore social media

In this digital era, you don’t have to be that clueless anymore. You can easily know if your friends and acquaintances knew someone important. LinkedIn pops on your mind when we’re talking about networking. The site is probably still the best online resource for job search and professional networking, but don’t forget the others.

Facebook can be supremely helpful too. Go search for people at the company you’re applying to, and you might find their mutual friend is your friend. This friend could link you with your future colleagues. Or, if it sounds too stalk-ish, you can just shoot a status update to tell your Facebook friends that you are looking for a contact at a company of interest.

  1. Drop a networking email

People can’t simply read your mind, or your status update (if they are too busy at work). Drop him/her an email is the easiest way. Tell them that you are actively searching for a job with your skills, experiences, and expertise. If you have clear position and company, it will be better for them. They can tell you right away if they can help you or not.

job search

Are you unemployed for the past few months? Or are you unhappy with your current position and (secretly) looking for a new job? If your answer is “Yes” to either one, it’s time to kickstart your job search! It will be even more crucial for fresh graduates.

Don’t think job search as too easy. You have to be ready, since you have unlimited competitors. Here are several tips to kickstart your job search:

1. Networking all over again

 

Yes, you are part of the industry already. You knew some important people who you can contact anytime. You might want to find an appropriate way to connect with them to get back on track of employment. However, keep meeting someone new and make friends. Don’t only go to the same conferences and places. Think outside the box. Try any social opportunities like volunteering and parties.

Remember, a good recommendation from people is the best bet for getting a job. Let people in your network know your ability and your dream job, then ask them for leads. Seriously, you need someone who tells your next employer on why you are perfect for the job. Otherwise, it will be much harder to get a job.

2. Create job search plan

Not only business, job search also requires a plan. You have so many things to do. Ranging from making the magnificent resume, arrange for references, to review your online presence and reputation. Make a timeline of priorities to get those tasks done.

Also, you need a lot of time to research the companies you are about to apply for. You are the one who first decide whether the company will be a good fit for you. If you like the company so much, then you should craft the best resume and cover letter for them. Plus, looking for someone who can give you a recommendation to land a position there.

3. Stay optimist

Even though you are on the hard times on your life, make sure to take care of yourself (mentally, physically, and emotionally). Do some positive routines that you always want to do, such as workout, eating healthily, and spending more time with family and friends.

The good habits will keep you more balanced. At the end of the day, you will stay optimist to get the perfect position on your dream company.

 

Good luck on your job search! When is the next job interview will be held?

Reasons for not getting promoted

You’ve been working in this company for many years. You could consider yourself to be doing a rather good job all along. You’ve remained at this position for a long time. The last time you remembered getting a letter of promotion was a decade ago. Everyone else seems to be getting promoted except you. Why is this so?

Check out these reasons that unfold possible reasons why you are not getting promoted.

 

  • You are not good enough

After all these years, you have not developed the skills that are necessary for promotion. You did not get the chance for promotion as someone else had the necessary skills.

  • You are not a leader

Let’s just say the position of a manager. You need to possess leadership qualities to take on that role. If you do not have leadership skills that are vital for the role, definitely you would not be considered for the role.

  • The company can’t promote you

The company cannot afford to promote you, especially when the company is affected by the bad economy.

  • There are no positions for you

It is possible that there are no positions above you that you can be promoted to. In such cases, it would be good to speak to your boss to let him know of your goals so that he can consider you when a position is available.

  • You do the minimum

You are doing “just enough”. Your boss expects you to go the extra mile, beyond simply following instructions.

  • You are not visible

You may be doing well in your current position. However, your efforts are not noticed by your bosses. Volunteer yourselves for activities or tasks or contribute actively to the company through opinions or ideas to make yourself ‘visible’.

  • You are a slacker

Last to come, first to go is your ‘trademark’. You like to give excuses all the time for your mistakes. Who is going to promote someone like this?

 

Maybe you have already spotted yourself in one of the seven above. Don’t just sit and wait for something to happen. Do something to make your promotion happen!

Money happiness

I’m sure you’ve heard plenty of advice about how to increase your salary – job hop, make sure you get at least a 20% increase between jobs, don’t reveal your current salary, and so on. And we do this all in the hopes of being happier, because we’ve been ingrained with this idea that salary directly correlates to happiness.

Does it?

More money doesn’t make you happier – to an extent

According to this article, there is a solid benchmark at which money stops making you happy – USD75,000. That’s approximately a monthly salary of SGD8,000, meaning that any increase in your salary after that won’t necessarily make you any happier. But as the article cautions, before you rush out to chase after that magic figure, remember that there are many other factors that affect your happiness.

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Also, since we need to deduct 20% for CPF, that ideal figure for your salary is probably closer to SGD10,000.

Since the dawn of time, there have been sayings that money doesn’t equal happiness, like “money is the root of all evil” or “money isn’t everything”, and it feeds our innate belief that a higher salary isn’t going to buy you happiness. What this research study proves is something that humans have always believed, that material value will not equate emotional joy.

That answers the question, doesn’t it? A higher paycheck won’t necessarily make you happier because there are other, more important things in life. Check out Maslow’s hierarchy of needs – once you can fulfil basic physical needs, material things cease to be of value. You need to self-actualise, that is, do the things that you were born to do.

Read also: Passion vs Paycheck

Happiness

But wait – more money does make you happier

However, a more recent article debunks that theory, and proves that no matter your income level, a bigger increment will make you happier. Which makes sense, when you think about it – why would the rich want to be richer if they’re already achieved the maximum amount of happiness that money can buy?

The problem with this article is that it goes against our fundamental belief that happiness increases in direct proportion to wealth. It indirectly says that human beings are, at heart, mercenary creatures who crave pleasure above all else. It implies that humans are no better than animals, in that sense. It insults our sense of self-worth as people, because we always think we are above our basic desires.

But a bigger bonus does make you happier, doesn’t it? You can buy more things, it gives you the sense of more freedom and you have to worry less about cost. Happiness isn’t always so easy to see in others, but their number of worldly goods is. We assume that the more stuff someone has, the happier they are.

Read also: Find Meaning in Your Job

Which one is right?

With these two conflicting studies, what is the answer? After all, the studies have been conducted by reputable institutions, and they both clearly have the evidence to back up their thesis. Both make sense, and yet they can’t both be right, can they?

Can money buy you happiness?

I believe that question can only be answered individually, not on a mass, homogenous level. And to answer that question, we must answer another question first.

To figure out whether money can buy happiness, we must first ask ourselves what happiness is. And that’s the fundamental problem – happiness isn’t universally measurable. Different things contribute to happiness in different ways for different people. A chai latte certainly doesn’t make every drinker equally happy, just as a café mocha isn’t everyone’s drink of choice. Remember the old saying, “one man’s meat is another man’s poison?” We were all wired differently, and hence we all have different preferences, favourites, and (Facebook) likes.

However, because we assume that what makes us happy will make everyone else happy as well, we project that definition of happiness on to others. We see other people possessing things that would make us happy, but then we see that those people don’t value it as much as we do. We then come to the assumption that they don’t value it as much as we would, because they have so much of it and are therefore much happier than we are.

We don’t realise that they look at us the same way. We have the things that they would like, but we don’t value it as much as they do. They then think we don’t value it because we have so much of it, and are therefore much happier than they are.

Perhaps we have been projecting our version of happiness on other people, when in fact, all of us place a different value on different things. 

And so was born this misconception that with more things, come more happiness. This is simply because we all value things differently.

So what’s the answer?

It’s not how much money you have, but what you do with it, that makes you happy. Unless you’re Uncle Scrooge, who loves money for the sake of it, a fat paycheck itself won’t bring you happiness.

Don’t get me wrong – more stuff isn’t going to make you happier either. It’s practically the same thing as money. What will bring you happiness is, as Maslow pointed out seven decades ago, is self-actualisation. Doing the things that you were born to do.

What that means is to create. To make art. To help others. To make or do things that brings others happiness. To add to the collective happiness of the world. And not doing this as a one-off or only when we have time, but doing this constantly, on a regular basis.

This translates into doing a job, being in an occupation, and having a career that hinges upon adding happiness to others, instead of being based on how high a salary that job can give you. Ultimately, this means that your line of work is much more important to your happiness than how much you get paid. Make it a career that you can be proud of, an occupation that lifts up other people instead of manipulating them.

Because it’s when we make others happy, that we bring true happiness to ourselves.

RESUME

Mandy Webb is a career and workplace expert and an experienced course instructor on Job Seeker topics. She has worked in both Singapore and Australia and specialises in Resume and Interview Skills.

A resume is the first impression and contact you will ever have with a potential employer. As such, it is of paramount importance to ensure you present an excellent image just as you would with any person you are meeting for the first time in real life. In my experience as a course instructor, I have edited hundreds of resumes. Most of them unfortunately commit similar mistakes that could very possibly eliminate them from being considered right away.

Here are the top 4 common mistakes that you should avoid in your resume:

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1. Irrelevant Personal Details

A broad spectrum of categories lie under the umbrella of Personal Details. I have come across countless job seekers, young people especially, who often get carried away with listing personal details. It is certainly apt to include personal details such as your full name, address and contact details. However, your resume, being a summary of your professional profile is often not the appropriate platform to list your hobbies, interests, political affliations, religion and even your age.

Do note though that there are exceptions where listing hobbies and age would be beneficial. Let’s take for example, a situation of a fun, creative marketing company searching for a suitably outgoing individual. In that case, you could list relevant hobbies to highlight your fit with the organization. Similarly, in cases where a company is searching for a junior intern, it is apt to list your age. Otherwise, there is really no need to list your personal hobbies or age if it is not relevant and does not contribute to the overall image you want to give.

Also, do remember that the aim of a resume is to score you an interview to prove your suitability for the position. Listing irrelevant personal details that might unknowingly allow you to be discriminated by the employer’s own personal preferences will only serve to defeat the purpose.

 Read also: 5 Tips on Preparing for a Job Interview

2. Inappropriate Email Address: What Impression Does Your Email Address Give?

Most people would have email addresses in this day and age, making email addresses a very common contact listing in resumes. Unfortunately, most people do not seem to pay much attention to their email addresses. In my career as a course instructor, I have come across various inappropriate email addresses listed on resumes. These inappropriate email addresses can contain swear words or evoke an unprofessional image that you do not want to give (For eg. Partygirl_5201@yahoo.com.sg). Given that a resume is your chance at a first impression and the first point of contact you will ever have with a potential employer, I strongly suggest creating a simple and professional email address. Something as simple as your full name will usually suffice.

 

3. Length: Does Your Resume Exceed 3 Pages?

The average employer can receive well over 30 to 50 applications for a single position. In my career, I have had opportunities to interview and work with employers, many of whom have confessed to only briefly browsing through or not even reading resume applications simply because they are too busy. Keeping your resume at a strict maximum of 3 pages will not only encourage your potential employer to read through but also reflect your understanding of resumes, ability to summarize main points and critical thinking skills. I once had a University Professor who was made redundant submit to me a resume of 7 pages, listing every single one of his proud achievements and endeavours in detail. Remember, a resume is a summary of pointers relevant to the employer – do resist the urge to pen down your entire life summary!

 Read also: 5 Questions to Ask at the End of a Job Interview

4. Over Generalised Resume Content: One Size Does Not Fit All

Every job advertisement features different criteria, even if they are of a similar industry. I have come across resumes that listed attributes such as  ‘easy going’, ‘friendly personality’ for a Manager position when keywords such as ‘leadership’, ‘communication’, ‘people management’ would be more apt. Simply copying and pasting a list of keywords will do you no favour as compared to moulding your resume to the listed criteria for every different job advertisement.

In summary, it is crucial to remember the purpose of submitting your resume – you want to make to make a good first impression and obtain an interview for an opportunity to demonstrate your fit for the role. Be sure to make effective use of your 3 pages to list relevant points and create a good impression!

resign from job

One of the most unpleasant things you’ll ever have to do in your career is resign, but everyone has to do it at least once in their life. It feels like you’re rejecting a relationship that you’ve spent time to build up, but it’s important not to view it so negatively.

Instead, look at it constructively. If you’re not satisfied at your current position, you won’t be bringing out the best in yourself or the organisation. Leaving will benefit both – you’ll be able to maximise your potential at another organisation, and the next person who comes in will have a chance of adding greater value to the company as well.

Just as with a job hunt and accepting a new job, exiting your current employment requires a lot of preparation and effort. Here are the steps to resigning effectively:

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 1) Talk To Your Supervisor/HR

Reasons to resign can be broadly split into push or pull factors, but regardless, you should always try to talk to your supervisor or human resource (HR) manager first to resolve it. All things being equal, it’s usually better to stay in the same company for a long time, rather than spend short amounts of time in many different companies, simply because less time is spent acclimatising to a new environment and more time is spent being productive.

Pull factors in this case would be a better salary offer or a more interesting job scope. If it’s for better pay, let your HR know that you’ve been given a better offer, and let them match it. Or if it’s a more interesting scope of work (don’t confuse this with job description), talk to your supervisor and let them know. Chances are, you’ll receive a similar or even better counter offer. You won’t know if you don’t try.

Push factors are a little trickier – it’s most likely to do with an unpleasant supervisor, colleague(s), or work environment. If you’re unable to speak to your supervisor, try HR; if you’re unable to speak to HR (or HR is your supervisor, like in a small company), then try your best to get a third party to mediate your issues. But don’t bring up resignation yet.

If you’ve tried your best, and the push or pull factors still remains – then you’ve got to prepare for your resignation.

 2) Look For Another Job First

If you’re leaving because of a pull factor, you’ve got it made. Skip this step.

If you’re leaving because of a push factor, you’ve probably got a lot of pent up energy inside you. Channel that energy into a search for another job. Especially if you’ve been out of the job hunt for a while, you’ll need some time to sharpen your interview skills, tweak that cover letter, and polish up your resume. And you don’t want to pick up just any job – find a place where you’ll fit and shine.

Practically speaking, it’s also wiser to look for another job first, because it’s difficult to explain a gap of unemployment on your resume. And if you’ve been employed for a long time, the sudden shock of unemployment can be both jarring and depressing.

Once you’ve got a job offer, it’s time to begin the resignation process.

 3) Check Your Company Policy

The actual resignation is (usually) easy. It’s the lead up that’s difficult, especially reading up on company policies – these are things you don’t usually read until you have to leave. Follow this checklist to make sure you’ve got all your facts right.

–          How many days of notice you have to give (it’s either in your contract, or HR booklet).

–          How many days of outstanding leave you have (it’s the amount of leave days you’re entitled to and how many days of leave you’ve taken).

–          When you’re getting your bonus payout. If it’s soon (one or two months), consider waiting until you’ve gotten your bonus before you leave. However, check if there are stipulations for staying on if you accept the bonus.

–          Your payday. Consider scheduling your last day of work after your payday (in that month), to prevent any issues with your last drawn salary in the company.

–          Other miscellaneous claimable benefits. Once you’ve tendered your resignation, these benefits will most likely cease, so consider claiming them before you leave.

Once you have all this information on hand (and you’re prepared to resign), you can prepare to (but not actually) resign.

4) Prepare An Answer About Your Resignation

Think about what you’re going to say when asked why you’re resigning. If it’s a pull factor, that’s pretty easy. But if it’s a push factor, it’s usually wiser to be tactful about why you’re leaving.

If possible, try to mention the pull factors that are making you leave, like a better job offer (even if you did seek out that job yourself) or even a more interesting industry that you’re entering.

Also, being Asians, it is usually best to mention that you have another job to go to after you leave. Leaving without having another job is usually seen as an act of spite, pettiness, and defiance, and it’s not an impression you want to leave behind at your old company.

 5) Prepare Your Resignation Letter

resignation letter

This is easy to Google, but remember you can set your own last day of work in your resignation letter. You can also include the amount of leave outstanding if you wish, but that HR will also calculate that for you.

Make two copies of your letter, one addressed to your supervisor, and one addressed to your HR manager. Make three copies of each letter, and date all your letters. Keep one copy of the letter for yourself as a spare.

Give one copy of the letter to a colleague you trust. If that’s not an option, mail the letter back to yourself (so that you will have a date stamp on it). This is to verify your intent to resign. It’s important, in case the resignation conversation turns sour and you are terminated. In that case, you have proof that your intent to resign came before the resignation, and will aid you in such a dispute.

Of course, place each letter in an envelope, and address it to the relevant person.

It’s best to prepare your resignation letter at least one week in advance.

Read also: How to Draft a Graceful Resignation Letter (a.k.a. How Not To Burn Your Bridges)

 6) Resign

Schedule a private meeting with your supervisor for at least an hour, but don’t let them know it’s because you want to resign (that’s what the meeting is for). If they press for a reason, let them know it’s HR-related. Most of the time, supervisors will have a sense of what the meeting is about.

Bring the letter in with you (in an envelope), and let your supervisor know that you’d like to resign. The first question will probably be why, which you will have prepared earlier, and the second question will probably be about your future career plans.

Be polite and humble when resigning. Although you have indicated your departure date in your letter, be as flexible as possible about your last day of work. Remember that your duties and responsibilities will still have to be fulfilled by someone in the company, and they will need time to find your replacement. Be as helpful as possible in that respect, because you want to leave on a good note.

Be prepared that your supervisor might be unhappy about your decision, and maintain your cool if that should happen. Ideally, everyone should leave the room with a positive mindset about moving forward, but if it doesn’t happen, stick with your decision.

 7) Your Last 30/60/90 Days With The Company

Regardless of your level of seniority, your last days at the company will have a lot of impact on your colleagues. How you conduct yourself during this period will probably be magnified in the memories of your coworkers, so be extra careful about your behaviour during this period.

Finish all outstanding projects before you leave. This is a given, but it also means not taking on new projects if you don’t have the time to. Be polite when you refuse. Your colleagues might not be happy at the time of refusal, but in the long run it will benefit you to have completed all the work that you were allotted before leaving.

Be proactive and helpful as much as possible. This is to dispel the mentality that people who are serving notice have a less responsible and less hardworking outlook. In turn, this will help improve your colleagues’ impressions of you (remember, you can’t change that once you’ve left).

Archive your work and make it as easy as possible for the next person to pick up from what you’ve done. Filing may be dreary administrative work, but put yourself in the next person’s shoes – wouldn’t you want a good handover?

 8) At Your Next Company

Don’t ever badmouth your previous company, even if you left because of push factors. It doesn’t reflect badly on the company, it reflects badly on you. And remember that your colleagues haven’t gotten to know you yet, so there isn’t the benefit of context to see your grousing in. If you don’t wish to talk about your previous company, then don’t. People will understand.

What If I Receive A Counteroffer After I Tender?

It’s entirely up to you.

If you accept it, make sure the counteroffer meets or exceeds your requirements. Don’t settle for a mediocre counteroffer, because this reflects upon your own standing as a person – you’re easily bribed. Also, remember that accepting a counteroffer brings another set of possible expectations – that you’re only doing this job for the money, that you’re scheming. Be prepare for such impressions to follow if you accept a counteroffer.

Remember to keep this positive mindset throughout the whole resignation process – resigning benefits both you and the company you’re leaving, by reallocating resources more effectively. With such a perspective in mind, you’ll be able to resign both peacefully and effectively.

job search

It is almost impossible to organize a job search without the use of technology – the Internet provides a wealth of networking and career search opportunities like never seen before. To make things even better, albeit more confusing, a new application for productivity and organization pops up about once every week or so, seducing you with promises of making your search ineffably neat and efficient.

 Unfortunately, more is not necessarily better (nor faster). If you’re a perfectionist like me, you would no doubt want to exhaust every single avenue for the best jobs possible. The information and knowledge to be found online can become overwhelming, to say the least.

 

Here are three ways to make your job search less mind-bending.

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 1. Narrow down your desired job choices

It is extremely tempting, especially as a brand new graduate, to want to try out for every and any job that seems interesting or simply doable. Unfortunately, this means the list of job possibilities would be too wide and too long to make any sense of.

Focus on a certain industry or job type that you are keen on pursuing in the long run. For example, don’t just stop at “I want to be a marketing executive” – step two should be narrowing that down to the industries that you would like to do marketing in, such as being a marketing executive in a F&B company, and so on.

 

Read also: Top 5 Reasons Why You Didn’t Get a Call After Applying For a Job

 

2. Go low tech, reach out to your circles

Forget about all those productivity apps and monster job aggregation websites – most jobs aren’t posted. For a start, all you need is a simple word document, and your social networks. Once you have narrowed down your desired job choices, look through your contact list and see if any of your friends, relatives, or even acquaintances are currently working or know someone who is working in the particular industry – better still if they are working in the very company you want to join.

Don’t be shy. An employer will very much prefer to get referrals than having to spend those few hundreds posting job advertisements when their trusted colleague has a friend with skills that they are looking for. Send your resumes to your “network” which can include people from your school, relatives, former co-workers – people who can vouch for your character.

In fact, statistics show that employers are increasingly relying on internal referrals to find job prospects. Larry Nash, director of experienced and executive recruiting at Ernst & Young, claims that “a referral puts them in the express lane”. Indeed, your social network is your best bet for nailing the job of your dreams.

If you simply must use some application to aid your job search, I recommend using Dropbox to keep all your documents in a single, highly accessible location.

 

Read also: 3 Steps to Discerning Your Career

 

  3. Develop a job hunt system

If you don’t feel secure leaving your job chances to your social network, job search sites are your next best bet. However, don’t randomly dive head-first into the amalgamation of job descriptions. Create a routine for going through these sites.

Many of these job search sites, such as JobStreet.com.sg or JobCentral.com.sg, allow you to search for specific job titles and industries to quickly eliminate other job listings that you are not interested in. Bookmark the specific search pages that contain the jobs that you desire, and systematically run through them daily so that you can grab job postings as soon as they come up.

Additionally, certain job sites, such as Indeed.com.sg, even offer automated email updates for the specified keywords that you are looking for. Google Alerts also provides automatic alerts if there are any mentions of positions are looking to apply for online, which are sent straight to your email inbox. Such automated systems are extremely time-efficient, and can shave off several hours from your job search process. Utilize these to your advantage.

The job search process can be downright exhausting or even depressing. Do not let it get to that stage – keep it simple and sweet, and avoid over-cluttering yourself at any costs.

Fresh Grad's Reflection on Job Hunting

Job hunting is a daunting process for many graduating students because most of us had went through the conventional route to obtain a degree. The major decisions we had made during the 16 years of Singapore’s education are probably limited to the choosing of secondary school, junior college/polytechnic and the courses to pursue in universities.

 We are so used to judging our success with a common yardstick, i.e. GPA. A high GPA means you are a successful student. Holding an appointment within a CCA means you have leadership. Therefore, having good grades with an excellent CCA track record would land you a good job. To an undergraduate, a good job may simply mean a high paying job in a big international organisation.

Once we step out of the university, the standards which we are so used to judging ourselves no longer apply. No one cares about your GPA after you have graduated. The only yardstick to reflect most of our achievement is now relegated to the comparison of salary.

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Step 1: Identify career goals

Unless you believe that only job titles and salary are indicative of your career success, there are no common yardsticks which we can benchmark ourselves against our peers. In fact, I believe the competition does not exist between you and your colleagues but it is within yourself. How do you constantly improve and outdo yourself? And what are the indicators which we ought to use to grade ourselves?

 

The answer will differ according to individuals.

You will probably have an answer once you have a clearer picture of what you want to achieve in 20-30 years’ time. It took me a year to get a better idea of what I want to pursue in my career. So set aside a year before you graduate to think about your career.

  •   Find your interest. Start reading widely. Talk to your friends. I realized that I am reading more as compared to my times in university. Reading exposes you to unfamiliar topics and thoughts. Investment papers, personal finance, biographies, science magazines, philosophy etc.
  •   Seek a mentor. A good way would be to look around your organisation or those around you. Are there anyone who are 20 years your senior whom you would like to emulate?
  •   Be accountable to your family. As much as we would like to pursue our interest, we need to be responsible for our family finances as well. Would your career choice impact your family’s financial well-being?

 

Step 2: Identify skillsets to develop

Once you start to have an inkling of what you want to achieve in your career, the decisions which you make will be slightly more straight-forward. First, identify the competencies you need to achieve what you set out to do. Then find a company which will offer you the opportunities to develop them.

  •   All jobs will enable you to develop competencies. Are they relevant? Are you consciously identifying, learning then applying them?
  •   Take a look at the Harvard Competency Dictionary for a list of the competencies.
  •   Self-directed learning. Start working on these competencies now. Time is too short for us to be good at everything, but it will be even shorter if you don’t act on it now. Take ownership of your learning and growth.

 

Step 3: Which company?

Hopefully, the above questions are answered before you graduate. Rather than casting your net aimlessly, your job search will be more directed. Have you ever wondered about the reasons why people advise that you ought to stay at least 3 years in the job, besides the risk of being labelled as a job hopper? It is because these competencies need at least 3 years to be developed. So the crucial question to ask when you approach a company is whether it can offer you an environment to learn for at least the next 3 years? That will also determine when it is time to move on.

  •   Determine the breadth of exposure and depth of the company’s expertise. What is the background of the management team? Is the company able to expose you to a variety of assignments or will you be doing the same work day in day out? Is the company competent in the work it does? If you want to learn, then obviously go for the best you can find.
  •   Coaching culture within the team. Does the management team place emphasis on training of junior staff? Is there a methodological approach in development and training for the next 3 years?
  •   Ethics and ethos. Does the company engage in work which you aren’t comfortable with? How far are you willing to stretch yourself in this aspect?
  •   Salary should not necessarily be the top priority at this point in time. Nonetheless, it can be a contributing factor to job satisfaction as well. Does the salary commensurate with your job scope? If the salary is too little, you feel overworked and frustrated. Remember Herzberg’s Motivation-Hygiene Theory? Challenging work gives positive satisfaction while salary is a hygiene factor which does not generate positive satisfaction, but its absence would cause dissatisfaction.

 

Other issues to look at once you have settled down in your job

 Once you have secured a job, you can focus on the other pertinent issues.

  • Insurance. Look into insuring yourself. Then insure your parents for their medical needs. Go for coverage that is sufficient and not excessive.
  • Investment. Start reading up on where the money which you are saving can be parked, rather than in a POSB Saving Account. Do think about making quick bucks from the stock market. Even if you manage to do so, you are not going to be always so lucky. More importantly, look beyond the ROI of your financial investment. Continue to invest in yourself through courses and training, it will be one of your best investment
  • Part-time job. Find a part time job that can offer you experience relevant to your aspirations. Or even better still, start a ‘part time’ enterprise! Do not look for a part time job that merely trade your time for money.

 

These are the wisdom that I had gathered from talking to friends and mentors about job search. I hope these points will get you thinking and guide you in your next steps. To those who are graduating, your first job only comes once in a lifetime. Steward this opportunity well. To those who are already in the workforce, it’s never too late to go back to the drawing board and make the switch.

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Tan Ming Hui graduated from Nanyang Technological University in 2011 from Mechanical Engineering. He is now a Management Associate at PSA.

What was your job hunting experience like? Share it with us today.