Scared Graduate

It’s your final year of school, and soon you’ll have a full-fledged degree on your hands. In the next few months (or even shorter, hopefully), you’ll be a working adult, and be counted amongst the 3.4 million people in Singapore’s labour force.

But wait! Before throwing that mortar board in the air and framing up your degree, don’t forget to make the most out of everything your university or polytechnic has to offer you. Once you graduate, chances are, you won’t be able to enjoy the benefits (some of which you might not even have realised) of being in an educational institute.

Here are some of the things that should be in your checklist:

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1) Start Applying for Jobs 6 Months Before You Graduate 

apply for jobs
Photo Credit: Cartoon Stock

 

This may sound like common sense, but it’s important to get a head start on job applications. It usually takes a month before employers get back to you on your applications, so starting early means you’ll have job offers before you graduate. A month is a long time to be doing nothing, so why not start early while you’re still studying?

Also, practice makes perfect. Your first few job applications will be spent fine-tuning your CV, rewriting your cover letters, and honing your interview skills. You probably aren’t going to ace any salary negotiations right off the bat, and having a few job interview experiences in the belt will give you the confidence you need to be able to negotiate better terms and benefits for what will likely be your first full time job.

 

 

Read also: 3 Steps to Discerning Your Career – A Fresh Grad’s Reflection

 

2) Ask Your Teachers and Professors For Testimonials and Referrals

While you’re still fresh in your tutors’ minds, ask for a testimonial from them. This will help your future employers get a better idea (and impression) of you before they hire you. Remember that your teachers also have other commitments as well, so offer to write the testimonial for them if they like – this also means that you get to put what you think are your best qualities in the testimonial.

In addition, most job applications require that you list down two or more character referees. Rather than asking friends and family, have your former professors be included as character referees. It looks more credible and impartial.

 

3) Get a Certified Copy of Your CCA Record

Most tertiary institutions will provide a certified copy of your CCA (co-curricular activity) record upon request, but it’s usually not automatically given to graduating students. Check with your institution’s CCA department to see how you can obtain a copy.

It might not seem that useful at first, but there are two benefits to having a school certified copy of your CCA record. First, it provides validation for all the CCAs listed in your CV. Second, it might remind you of some ECA that you took part in but forgot, and thus help boost your resume as well.

 

 4) Get Your Resume Vetted

resume
Photo Credit: Ari Agency

Every university and polytechnic has a career guidance department, which is a good place to start if you want someone more experienced to vet your CV. No amount of Internet advice and resume help books can boost your portfolio better than a person who’s seen and improved hundreds of resumes.

Sometimes it’s the choice of words or the way you present your educational and work experiences that makes all the difference between a cookie cutter CV or an outstanding resume. A well-trained eye will be able to spot these differences, and don’t forget, that’s what the career guidance department is for. So walk on in and ask a career guidance counsellor to check out your curriculum vitae!

Read also: 4 Mistakes to Avoid in Your Resume

 5) Attend Career Guidance Workshops

career guidance
Photo Credit: TASI Online

Towards the end of your final semester, your inbox will start getting bombarded with emails for resume workshops, job interview seminars, personal grooming talks, and many other sessions that offer free advice and training for prospective job applicants.

Sign up for them, especially if they’re free. They might not seem important while you’re rushing out your final year project or mugging for that one last paper, but you’ll be thankful for the extra skills and knowledge they bring when it comes down to your future employment opportunities. Also, they tend to make you think more about your upcoming career paths and how to present yourself, which is always a good thing.

 

 

6) Sign Up With All Your Alumni Clubs/Networks

Again, this is especially so if membership is free. These networks tend to provide freebies, possible job openings, and other opportunities (provided you read their emails). It’s likely that you’re going to be automatically subscribed to them anyway, but always take the chance to maximise your networks.

This will prove especially useful in future, if your job requires you to tap on your networks to access a broader base of potential clients, consumers, or even employees. These alumni clubs are usually very helpful if you need to broadcast (relevant) information to like-minded people, and are often your foundation for future networking.

 

7) Maximise Your School’s Print Facilities

printing
Photo Credit: Laser Age

 

Many tertiary institutions have discounted printing prices (as compared to printers outside of school). You’re going to need to have at least ten copies of your resume on hand, as well as copies of all your relevant certificates and transcripts for job interviews. This adds up, especially when you’re an unemployed student. So appreciate the low printing prices while you still can.

Just watch out for those printer jams!

 

 

 

 

8) Research Potential Employers and Industries

Remember how I mentioned you should start applying for jobs six months before you graduate? This is an excellent reason why. When you get called in for a job interview, use your free access to your school’s subscribed databases to read up about your future company as much as possible.

If you’ve never used these databases before (how did you do any research papers?), start with your school’s library website. You probably won’t get a chance to have unlimited access to JSTOR, Lexis Nexis, and Factiva after you graduate (and your account is shut down), so use it as much as you can now.

Going into a job interview having thoroughly researched the company will give you the additional confidence and knowledge to answer any potential questions the interview might ask, and also prompt you to ask the right questions as well. Google is useful, but paid databases will give you the edge.

 

9) Make More Friends and Invest in Them

enjoy the friendships

This may sound slightly mercenary, but this will be the last time you can make friends as easily and quickly. Firstly, you won’t have the chance to be exposed to as many strangers as you would be in your classes. Secondly, the people you meet will be more wary and guarded, since it’s difficult to be friends with your colleagues at the workplace. 

Treasure the friends you have. Get to know more people, even if it’s your final semester. Just like signing up with your alumni clubs, this will help your broaden your network. And you never know when you might meet your soul mate, or best friend, along the way.

 

10) Enjoy the Last Semester of School

Most importantly, enjoy your last few months as a student. Don’t be so caught up in maximising every last minute of your academic life that you forget to stop and smell the roses. You may not know it now, but this will be the “good old days” that you talk about in the future.

Sign up for that mountaineering trip that you have been procrastinating to all these years. Accept every invitation for a meal with your schoolmates. Ask your professors out for coffee. Form a team and take part in your varsity’s sports day. Support your friends at school performances. Organize cook-outs at your place for your classmates. Perform in a school play.

A time like this will never come by again. You’ll have a lifetime to work after you graduate, and the older you get, the less your education matters (although it’s still important) in your resume. But you’ll never be able to access as much free stuff, get to know as many different people, or have as much freedom as being a student.

Have fun as your education draws to a close. And always, always keep your student pass/ID – the amount of discounts you can get with it is staggering (provided you still look like a student).

Each week, we bring you interesting reads from all over the world to bring new perspectives to your work. Enjoy!

1) An Inspiring Message for Graduates

Mashable, Matt Petronzio

A cute cartoon which illustrates how learning is a life-long journey – it’s all about creating your own hoops and redefining your limits.

message to graduates
By Grant Snider, Incidental Comics

[more…]

 2) Debunking the ‘No Friends At Work’ Rule: Why Friend-Friendly Workplaces are the Future

Forbes, Dorie Clark

Do friendships have a place in the office? Yes, says this article. Given that work makes up majority of your time on weekdays, your relationship with your colleagues do matter. It’s argued that friendships with colleagues can potentially hinder decision making and doing what is best for the company since the friendship is at stake. A friendly workplace has it’s benefits – advantages include increased work satisfaction, greater productivity and better employee retention.

3) Awesome Places to Work: These Startups Have Better Perks Than Free Food Or Beers On Tap

Business Insider, Julie Bort

If you love your job, your company’s culture probably played a big role in that. Here are 10 startups, noted for their interesting employee perks. One company, Commerce Sciences has the tradition of having the last person to join the company to create a ‘starter’s kit’  for the company’s next hire. The kit is personalized, containing anything creative and funny to help get the newest employee get started at work. Another cool company, HubSpot,  has their staff switch to a randomly assigned desk every 3 months. This encourages employees to mix with other colleagues and forces them to clean up their workstations.  I find both ideas to be the most practical and fun (at least in the context of Singapore).

 

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!

career job fair

Here is a list of career fairs that are upcoming for the rest of 2013. Prep yourselves! These are great opportunities to network with your potential employers, learn more about their job vacancies and drop off your resumes.

Learn more about the employers that you will be meeting by reading work reviews shared by actual current and former employees. Click here to get a good sense of what salary to expect from your potential employers too.

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1)       TechStartupJobs Fair Singapore 2013

If you are keen on working in this vibrant start-up scene, this job fair is for you. This will be a great place for you to meet and network with founders, and young start-ups. Up your chances of being hired if you demonstrate passion and come with technical/marketing skills. Who knows – you might just be joining the next Facebook or AirBnb.

 

Details as follows:

Venue: Plug-in@Blk71

Date: 28 October 2013

Time: 6pm

Click here to learn more.

 

2)     JOIN STARTUPz! Job Fair

Organized by StartupJobsAsia, this is the place for entrepreneurial-minded job seekers to connect with many cool employers and be part of the dynamic start-up scene.

Venue: 1 Marina Boulevard, Singapore 018989 – Microsoft Auditorium, 21st Floor

Date: 14th November 2013 (Thursday)

Time: 3 – 8 PM

 Click here for more information.

Sign up here.

 

PAST CAREER FAIRS

Here are the details for career fairs that are already past to keep in mind for the next year.

 1)      JobsCentral Career & Education Fair 2013

This was held on 24 – 25 August 2013 at Suntec Singapore Convention Hall.

Click here for more information.

 

2)      STJobs Career & Development 2013

This was held on 13 – 14 July 2013 at Marina Bay Sands.

Click here for more information.

 

3)      Employer and Employability Institute (e2i)

This was held on 29 – 30 May 2013 at Braddell Heights Community Club.

Click here to view all their job fairs.

 

4)      CAAS Aviation Open House 2013

This was held on 25 – 27  July 2013 at Max Atria @ Singapore Expo.

Click here for more information.

 

5)      Asian Career Fair with Japan

This was held on 15 June 2013 at Raffles Town Club.

Click here for more information.

 

6)      SEMICON 2013 Job Fair

Leading semi-conductor companies exhibited at this fair with numerous vacancies for technicians, engineers etc. It was held on 7-9 May 2013 at the Marina Bay Sands Expo & Convention Centre.

 

7)      WDA Job Fair & Carnival

This fair is mainly targeted at those who are thinking of rejoining the workforce, with workshops and sessions to prepare job seekers for interviews as well as providing career guidance. It was held on 7th April 2013 at the Toa Payoh HDB Hub.

 

8)      Social Work Career Fair 2013

Employers that took part include Ministry of Health, Singapore Prison Service and more. Event was held at NUS The Shaw Foundation Building on 19 March 2013.

Click here for more information.

 

9)      Early Childhood Career Fair 2013

This was held on 20 April 2013.

Click here for more information.

 

10)      Singapore Actuarial Society

This was held on 22 March 2013 in Singapore Management University.

Click here for more information.

 

11)      Varsities

Most universities and polytechnics hold a career fair for their graduating batch of students each year. Here is where students find internship opportunities and learn what fresh grad jobs are available.

  • Nanyang Poly

The exact dates of the event have yet to be announced, but it’s likely to take place towards the end of November. In 2012, the career fair was held on 30th Nov which hosted 60 over participating companies and education providers. Job seekers can even have their resume photo taken at a small fee.

Click here to learn about  last year’s event.

 

  • Ngee Poly – Advance 2013 Further Studies and Career Fair

The job fair took place on 25th Jan 2013.

Click here to learn about last year’s event.

 

  • Republic Poly

The event is already over, which saw over 70 employers. It took place on 5th February 2013.

Click here to learn about last year’s event.

 

  • Temesek Poly

The fair was on 7th Feb where there 65 participating companies.

Click here to learn about last year’s event.

 

  • Singapore Poly

Over 80 employers took part in last year’s job fair which was held on 21st Nov 2012.

Click here for more information.

 

  • NUS Career Fair 2013

Over 200 companies came to recruit and network with the students. The event was split into 2 days (29 Jan 2013 and 1 Feb 2013) with 2 sets of companies exhibiting on each day.

Click this link for more information.

 

  • NTU Career Fair 2013

The event featured more than 200 companies, held on 22 Jan 2013.

 Click here for more information.

 

  • SMU Career & Internship Fair 2012

It was held on 11th Oct 2012 at the Concourse T-Junction of SMU.

Click this link for details.

 

  • SIM Job Fair

It was held at the SIM Headquaters on 14 March 2013.

Click here to see more information.

All the best for your job search!

 

  • MDIS Career Fair 2013

This was held on 26 – 27 Sep 2013 at MDIS Campus (SAMTAS HALL)

Click here for more information.

 

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.

[more…]

 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.

Here are some practical wisdom from 3 respectable individuals to inspire and help you see your career with clearer lenses. All the best!

www.businessinsider.com

 

1. Amazing Career Advice for College Grads From LinkedIn’s Billionaire Founder 

Business Insider, Nicholas Carlson

There is always wisdom from hindsight. Learn in these 113 slides from Reid Hoffman what he took to 15 years to figure out. Among my favourites: ‘Do not dismiss jobs that pay less cash but offer tremendous learning’ &  ‘Graduation is not the end of learning, we are all works-in-progress’.

 

 

2. 10 Success Rules Your Mum Taught You

Inc, Geoffrey James

Here are some things your mum has probably told you many times that can be transferable to the real working world. 3 Cheers to all mothers!

3. Warren Buffet Shares His Most Essential Advice for Generation Y

Sean Levinson

Did you know he has a fear of public speaking? Learn from what Warren Buffet, CEO of Berkshire Hathway, about what he has to say about success.

I second this quote about working only for those who pay you fairly: “I do very little negotiation with people. And they do little with me, in terms of it … if I was a woman and I thought I was getting paid considerably less than somebody else that was equal coming in, that would bother me a lot. I probably wouldn’t even want to work there. I mean, [if] somebody’s gonna be unfair with you, in salary, they’re probably being unfair with you in a hundred other ways.”

 

 

Source: StudentBranding.com

 

Muneerah’s journalism career has allowed her to be very familiar with employment issues in Singapore. For more than three years, she covered stories on organized labor and employment for NTUC This Week and she also contributed to various magazines, such as Human Resources and Career Central, and other online platforms.

 

So the school vacations are here and you’ve scored yourself an internship. Your work wardrobe is ready and you’re eager to start your new journey to learn, develop skills and gain experience, but how do you make the best out of your internship? In most companies, interns come and go every year. Here are tips on how you can avoid being the intern nobody remembers after you leave.

 

 

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Before you step into the office

It all starts even before your first day on the job. Familiarize yourself with the company and its products and/ or services. Learn as much as you can and do your research. You wouldn’t want to be utterly clueless on your first day there and the prior knowledge will help you set the context. Before you start your internship, talk to your employer about the skills and experience you hope to obtain during your time there. It would help them understand what you are aiming to achieve and how they can best help you in those aspects.

“I have to do what?!”

But of course, you don’t always get to do what you want and sometimes, it’s not about what you’re assigned to do; it’s about how well you do it. Sometimes you may be asked to do things that are rather dull and monotonous but you should do your best out of these mundane tasks, and then some. Compiling and updating a database for the mailing list may not be the most fun job in the world, but go the extra mile and search for those missing postal codes while you’re at it. If you can earn your manager’s trust by doing the boring tasks well, you can be sure that he/she will entrust you with more complex tasks in time.

Read also: 3 Steps to Discerning Your Career – A Fresh Grad’s Reflection

Be independent and resourceful

Sure, you’re new to the job and the company’s internal system, but you cannot expect your colleagues to guide you at the drop of a hat when you need help. Sometimes they have matters that need their immediate attention before they can attend to your queries so you will have to learn from past samples or through trial and error. That’s not to say that you cannot ask for help, but there will be times when you may need to figure things out on your own. Being resourceful and the ability to think on your feet is a much sought after characteristic in almost any job.

Show initiative, volunteer and be helpful

Prove that you are always willing to learn even if you lack the knowledge and know-how. Initiative goes a long way and you’ll be surprised at the kind of opportunities that might come your way if you offer to help when you are able to. It can be something as simple as helping to answer a phone call if your colleague is away from the desk and taking down messages (if that is the company culture). Besides helping them, you might you never know who is on the other line and the contacts that could be made by simply answering a call, and we all know contacts matter a lot in the working world.

Read also: 10 Tips to Increase Productivity at Work

Suck it up

Internships are meant to be a training ground and even if there are times that it sucks being the intern, there is something to learn out of every situation and you can use them as examples in interviews with potential employers in future. So strap on your can-do attitude, have an open mind and positive attitude going into your internship.

While you are getting a taste of the working world through your internship, use the opportunity to learn about yourself; your strength and weakness, the type of employee you want to be and the type of career you want for yourself. Before your internship ends, get your supervisor and colleagues to share their feedback on your performance there and their comments on areas where you can improve on.

It is often said, one of the best things you can do for yourself, is to learn about yourself.

 

 

 

1. 14 Signs You Love Your Job

LinkedIn, Dharmesh Shah

Life is too short to do a job that you dread going to. Why waste both your time and that of your employer? 

Do you find joy in the tasks you are doing at work and find fulfillment in your job beyond the dollars and cents? How do you treat your colleagues and your boss? The answers to these questions can be an indication of whether it’s time to move on to a new job.

[more…]

 

 

2. Why Every Job Seeker Should Have A Personal Website, And What It Should Include

Forbes, Jacquelyn Smith

Increasingly, employers are Googling their candidates before interviewing and accepting them. Creating an online presence for yourself is critical in helping you to demonstrate your capabilities and provide employers a good idea of you. Include on your website your portfolio, testimonials and other creative work you have done.

Don’t have a website yet? How about learning coding from tutorials on CodeAcademy or Code.org.  To create websites with ready templates, check out Weebly (no coding required!).

3. Coding is the Must Have Job-Skill of the Future

Mashable, Adam Popescu

How about learning the language of the very device you are interfacing with right now?

4. The 7 Ways Successful People Approach Their Work

Forbes, Laura Shin

Habits are what make or break you. Try keeping a log of how you spend your time at work.  Wean from checking you emails too often. Plan your schedule a week in advance and break down a big project into smaller parts. Keep on sharpening your skills. All these will go a long way in help you build up your career capital.

5. 8 Business Tips from Jack Welch

The Gospel Coalition, Trevin Wax

Here’s some wisdom from Chief of General Electric, Jack Welch.

“It is virtually impossible to know where any given job will take you. In fact, if you meet someone who has faithfully followed a career plan, try not to get seated beside him at a dinner party. What a bore!”

 

 

6. Is This Meeting a Waste of Time?

Inc

Yes it is – if there is no clear purpose of for meeting and that there is no better way to do it in an informal manner.

Bessie is a freelance writer and has 10 years of HR experience. She is currently a Regional HR Business Partner with a US MNC. 
One of the common questions that you can expect during a job interview is the salary question. Employers will usually ask about your current salary and expected salary for the role to assess your suitability. Some of you may find it rather uncomfortable to disclose your expected salary since you are unsure of the chances of securing the role. On the other hand, some of you are perfectly comfortable declaring that you are expecting a minimum of 20% increase from your base salary.
What is the right way to give to an employer so as to ensure that you are not giving the impression that salary is the main factor for applying the job? Under such a situation, below are some suggestions on how you can handle this tough question.

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Do your research

Before you attend the interview, it will be useful to research on the average market pay of the applied position. Several big recruitment agencies publish such salary information on an annual basis and are available to public on their website. Jobiness.sg is also a good resource whereby you can review the available salary data submitted by employees in various companies. Such information will provide you with an estimated range that you can expect for similar position. However, do bear in mind that salary ranges in companies and industries differ significantly. Hence, you should only use these information as a guide in preparation for the interview.

View Salary Data of 1000s of Jobs in Singapore

Negotiable

The term “negotiable” is usually the easiest solution when handling a salary question. Most interviewers tend to probe further in order to understand your expectation. If you are really unsure of how you are expecting, decide on a range that you are looking at. For instance, you could tell the interviewer that you are looking at a 10% to 15% increase, but you are willing to negotiate based on the salary range for this position.



READ ALSO: How Companies Determine Salaries for New Employees



Declare your minimum expectation

If you have in mind the least amount that you can accept for the role, do inform the interviewer of that minimum expectation. This is especially applicable for candidates who are considering a career switch. With no relevant experience in the new role and industry, you may not receive the same or higher salary as your current role. While considering the satisfaction that you can expect in the new role, it is also realistic to consider the lowest amount that could support your current lifestyle. As an Engineer, you may be earning a basic salary of $4000 while career switch may mean a reduction at least $1000. Do consider if the reduction is an amount that you are able to accept. You should be open to the interviewer and tell him or her that you are willing to accept a pay cut but $3,500 may be the minimum that you will consider.

You are strongly discouraged to tell the interviewer that you are willing to negotiate when you are not. The interviewer will be able to determine if they should continue with your candidacy if your expectation exceeds the salary range. In that way, it will save time and effort for both the company and yourself.

State your actual expectation
You may be one of those candidates who decide on a job solely based on the offered salary. There is nothing wrong with that but it is advisable to discuss that openly during the interview. If the interviewer is aware that you will not consider a role unless there is a 20% increase, it will help them to decide if they will like to continue with your candidacy based on your relevant experiences, job fit and internal salary structure and equity. Interviewers have met many candidates who tell them that they are willing to negotiate on the offered salary. However, when the job offer is presented, candidates turn it down immediately with the reason that the offered salary is less than the amount that they are expecting. That could set a very negative impression of you as a candidate. If you are attending interviews in the same industry, don’t be surprised when word gets around as the people within do know each other.

READ ALSO: Questions to Ask at the End of the Job Interview 

On a closing note, regardless of whether your interview is from the Human Resource or the hiring manager himself/herself, the same method applies when answering the salary question. Another mistake that candidates make when handling salary questions is asking too many questions in return. Examples of these questions include – “how much will you pay me for this role”; “what is the salary range for this position”; “what other monetary allowances can I expect”. These questions are internally sensitive and should be avoided until the advanced stage of the interview process when you are confident that you will be offered the job. Otherwise, these questions may bring down your overall interview scores.



What was your interview experience like? Share with us here.

 

Photo Credit: Wetfeet