So after much deliberation, you’ve decided to close the door on Singapore university education. Whether it’s the cost or purely personal reasons, we’re sure that you’ve thoroughly weighed the pros and cons of pursuing a university degree. That means that you’re set on starting down the path to becoming a full-time working adult! Well, now that you’ve decided to dive into the choppy waters of your first job, we’ve put together five strategies to guide you through the transition from school to work!
If you’re still deliberating on whether or not to pursue a Singapore university education, check out our previous article here.
5 tips to ensure smooth sailing into the workforce
It can be challenging to transition from a poly or ITE student to a working professional, especially for those who have recently graduated. Long gone are the days of slogging it out in seminar rooms, group projects, and multiple chill canteen sessions on campus. Swapping all of these for a full-time office job is a big change, and students who haven’t worked in a fast-paced type of environment before may not be fully prepared for the shift. If you want to prep yourself before entering the workforce, here are five simple strategies to soften your landing into the working world.
1. Tidy up your online profiles
Ever heard of Facebook or Instagram stalking? Well those activities aren’t just confined to normal ‘social stalking’. Nowadays, even potential employers and recruiters search up the social media profiles of their potential hires. That picture of you chugging a whole bottle of vodka? Yeah, that is going into the archive folder. Cleaning up your social media profiles are a good way to get ready for the professional world. Presenting a clean cut image online is more likely to draw the approval of your future boss, as opposed to a scattering of drunken party posts.
Also, if you aren’t on LinkedIn already, it’s time to get on the bandwagon. As one of the best online networking platforms, having a Linkedin profile will allow you to share your resume and experience with other young professionals. So what are you waiting for?
2. Learn to balance your private and professional schedules
Going from a flexible schooling schedule to a 9-5 work day can be quite taxing, especially when you’re still young and bursting with spontaneity. Often, you might find yourself having to stay overtime in the office to finish up projects and reports. Drinks with friends and nights out are going to have to take a backseat when you’re holding down a full-time job.
Don’t expect to pull long all-nighters anymore. When you’re hustling at your new job, be sure to make ample time for yourself. Work-life balance is partially created by you. So learn how to schedule regularly gym sessions or downtime where you can relax! This is extremely important. Without free time for yourself, you might just let personal commitments creep into your professional life, and that will sure to lead you straight into a dumpster fire.
3. Watch your finances
Face it, whether we’re freshly out of poly/ITE or university, most of us will be broke as hell. But when you first get that paycheck, you might do a double-take. Suddenly you’re getting more than twice the amount you used to get as a student. Here’s where you might feel a little tempted to splurge. Well, your financials are no longer something to take lightly.
As a working adult, you have real bills to pay. These include student loans from poly/ITE, phone bills, possible rent to your parents or landlord just to name a few. It is super important to create a budget to figure out how much of your salary should go to these fixed expenses, before deciding to splurge on a new designer bag or a vacation. A quick tip will be to always save half of your salary if possible (or half of what’s left of it after your fixed expenses). Another way to create a good savings plan would be to set aside a percentage of your salary every month in a savings account. Having savings is a good way to start planning your purchase of big ticket items like houses and cars. Other than earning money, growing a pool of savings for a rainy day is never too ‘kiasu’.
4. We’ll say it again, network!
Unlike those who head to university, your network will be a little smaller. Networking is essential to opening doors to new opportunities in the professional field, so if you plan on making a few career moves down the road, having a stellar network will be crucial in helping you along. As mentioned above, joining online professional networking sites such as LinkedIn is a good place to start. Subsequently, consistently linking up with other professionals in the industry you’re in is also a great way to kickstart your networking journey.
5. Don’t be afraid of rejection
We can’t guarantee that the first position you apply for will be the one you’ll get. As a fresh poly/ITE grad, you’ll be wrestling with other fresh grads from tertiary institutions for the same jobs. Even if you have a sleek record chock full of internships and experience, that might not guarantee you a job. Most fresh graduates make the mistake of passively job hunting online. While utilising job portals and marketplaces could be your ticket to employment, don’t forget to tap into your real-life resources: ex-teachers, friends and parents. They might have one or two recommendations and connections that might aid you in your job hunt.
It’s no doubt that you’ll receive quite a few rejections on your first try (if you didn’t, you’re one of the lucky few). While opening up a rejection email can cause quite a sting, don’t fret. One rejection isn’t the end of the world! If you’re curious, you could always follow up with the recruiter to ask for advice on your interview or resume. TLDR: keep trying, don’t let those no’s get you down!
Tighten your #adulting seatbelt, we’re off!
The road to becoming a full-fledged working professional is a rocky one. But give yourself some credit for making it this far. You might be really afraid and confused at this point, but do seek support and help from others who have walked down the same path! Most importantly, remember your strengths and talents, those are the things that are going to help you ace the working world.
Ready for takeoff? Check out our marketplace for a new employment opportunity to jet off to.