While most degrees finish in June in Singapore and most parts of the world, some fresh graduates join the job market from January too. Here’s how to clinch a job offer even before throwing your mortarboard up in the air 🙂
1. Be kiasu and open-minded
It’s never too early to apply for jobs, in fact, starting six months before graduation is ideal. Sticking to job portals alone seem convenient, but you’re just getting your feet wet in the search! Don’t forget to browse company websites and go to job fairs. Think of it as a buffet — you get a better idea of the cultures across a few industries and companies and be kaypoh about what types of talents they are looking for. To get a more realistic view, start talking to people in the roles and industries you’re considering. Just be sure to filter the gripes of workers who may be feeling ‘stuck’ in their roles.
2. Soul search monthly (or lose yourself, just kidding)
Understanding yourself isn’t magic. It takes work, and it pays off! You could start by asking yourself some questions monthly. Making it a regular routine is important, because we morph (for the better) as we go about our days.
- What makes you happy, excited or satisfied?
- Do you enjoy helping people or would rather build things or come up with ideas?
- Is there anything that you cringe – crunching numbers, speaking to a large group or even a small one?
- What are the causes you care about or what is YOUR purpose, long term and short term?
If you are completely clueless, job and personality profiling tests are your best guide. The MBTI test may be your crystal ball to gaze into yourself…
If you don’t start building your dream, you’ll end up building someone else’s. While you don’t have to start a business to live out your sense of self, knowing the reason why you are in a certain industry matters!
3. Earn another badge of honour (and grad trip funds)
Take up one more internship in your final semester, or a side hustle to show your determination to excel and repertoire of skills and capabilities. Use your time meaningfully in your last months as a student, play hard too! Interning and hustling helps you to discover what you love, or hate, while building up your skill sets and portfolio! As a soon-to-be graduate, you will not be working for free. Find out what makes you tick as you hustle and make some dough for allowance or grad trip funds.
4. Excel at the search
The best product would not sell without good packaging. Master the art of resume and cover letter crafting right from the start of your career by looking at samples and tips online! Protip: Read it from the receiver’s perspectives. Are the core skill sets highlighted? Do the previous work and education experiences listed show a good fit to the role at hand? Tailor each resume and cover letter for your dream roles – that’s your hook to the hiring manager to call you up for the interview and getting that job offer later. Become SO good at the search itself, because this is just the beginning. 🙂
5. Sell yourself at the job interview
Having a successful project or endeavour to highlight in your resume and elaborate on during job interviews is crucial for fresh grads. What else are you going to talk about with your prospective employers, if not an insightful sharing or evaluation of your most recently completed Final Year Project (FYP) or deeply enriching (even life-changing) overseas internship? Here’s a great motivation to finish your FYP well: that future job offer. If you do not have any highlights in your college life to speak of yet, it’s not the end of the world. Well, almost. Save yourself with point 3, if not ALL of the above.