Job hunting can be a frustrating task for many, especially for new entrants who have just graduated and are looking to enter the workforce. In line with Workforce Singapore’s (WSG) Career Catalyst Programme, here are eight tips that Mr Joash Lee —senior career coach of seven years, gives to new entrant clients.
Discover My Career Interests
1. Paper qualifications are not everything
Although hiring advertisements may emphasise on qualifications, there are other factors that have substantial influence on your suitability for the job.
(a) Personality Type
If your personality is not suited for the job, there is a high chance that you will not last long in the industry.
WSG provides personality profiling to their clients as part of their career matching services. An example is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality test which helps you look beyond the element of extroversion and explore the other elements of your personality. Determine if you are a thinker or a feeler when it comes to decision making, and if you rely on facts or intuition to interpret new information.
Advised by Mr Lee to take up a personality profiling MBTI course, *John was able to discover his MBTI personality type —ISFJ. Knowledge about his inclinations gave him a new awareness about himself, allowing him to become more focused and selective about his career options. With a new-found focus, John successfully acquired a job in the healthcare industry. To this day, John excels at, and enjoys his job. He thanks Mr Lee for his valuable guidance.
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Rank the factors that motivate your performance —status, salary, passion etc. Determine what motivates you most and steer your job hunt in that direction. If you are motivated by status or other monetary forms, focus on looking for a job that offers you the salary and career progression that you desire.
Deliberating between job offers that ranged from corporate communications to teaching, *Julia was extremely frazzled and turned to Mr Lee for assistance. Upon realising that the job offers were from different industries and of differing pay grades, Mr Lee encouraged Julia to list down her motivating factors, and instructed her to rank them accordingly. Once Julia discovered that passion was her strongest motivating factor, she was able to pick teaching without hesitation. Today, Julia is extremely motivated at work, and has no intention to leave the education sector.
2. Find out who is hiring
One way to do so is by visiting career fairs. Before starting the job hunting process, visit career fairs to gain exposure and knowledge about the hiring market. At the career fair, seize the opportunity to speak to individuals manning the booths, and request for their name cards. Drop them an email displaying your keen interest in joining them, this displays proactivity and interest in the job role.
Alternatively, visit social media pages and job portals to scout for hiring advertisements to gauge the demand. By applying to industries that have a higher demand for labour, you will increase your chances of getting employed.
Unsure of which industry she should apply to, *Sarah was inspired to visit the Adapt and Grow Career Fair that her career coach, Mr Lee, actively promoted. There, she was able to network with employers and gain insight about the various WSG initiatives for jobseekers. In addition, Mr Lee introduced numerous job portals to Sarah and supported her by directing her to various suitable listings. As a result of her exposure to the hiring industry, Sarah acquired multiple job offers and is now a Marketing Director at an international company.
Explore My Career Options
3. Check your skill set
Once you have found a suitable position to apply for, ensure that your skill set matches that required by the job. Identify any gaps that are present and take up training courses to bridge the gap. Employers are more likely to hire candidates with skills that are relevant and up-to-date. There are many avenues that provide professional courses at a subsidised rate. Utilise these platforms to upskill and present yourself as a valuable asset to the workforce.
Accountancy graduate *Andy was looking for his first job when he realised that he wanted to serve the community. Without the relevant Social Work qualifications, Andy knew that developing his career in the Social Work industry would be difficult. Under Mr Lee’s mentorship, Andy was introduced to the various upskilling courses provided by SkillsFuture Singapore and completed his Graduate Diploma in Social Work. Now a social worker at a non-governmental organisation, Andy attributes his success to Mr Lee’s insight.
Plan My Career to Fulfil my Aspirations
4. Building a career development action plan
Come up with a list of tasks to accomplish, with the fulfilment of each task bringing you closer to securing your job of choice. These tasks include résumé writing and the acquisition of good interview skills. Consider the effort involved and set a timeline for the completion of each task. When unsure or lost, seek guidance through WSG’s career coaching.
Keep your résumé to one page. As the employer’s main priority is to ascertain if you are qualified for the position, edit out qualifications and details that are irrelevant. One tip is to split your résumé layout into two sections by creating a narrow column on the left. This allows you to display twice the amount of information without compromising on length. Although it is tricky to edit your text down to a page, by executing it successfully, it ensures that the employer’s attention is only focused on information that is salient. The employer will also see you as someone who is succinct and organised, and your résumé is now easy-to-digest.
When jobseeker *Kevin first met Mr Lee, his résumé spanned six pages. Without a concise résumé, Kevin was unable to effectively portray his suitability for the job. With Mr Lee’s help, Kevin was able to sieve out information that was irrelevant to the position and customised an impactful résumé that secured him numerous interviews. Currently deciding between four job offers, Kevin is thankful for Mr Lee’s guidance.
5. Ignore missing work experiences
It is understandable that new entrants do not have the work experience that the employer desires.
Channel your attention towards your unique selling points. Mention something interesting about yourself —leadership roles or participation in overseas exchange programmes. These experiences speak volumes about you. Employers look for candidates with certain characteristics that emulate their company’s culture. Overseas stints may indicate the presence of cross-cultural skills, a trait that is essential for working in an international company. Furthermore, some companies prioritise Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Individuals who have experience serving the community may be favoured in these companies.
Attributing her lack of employment to her missing work experience, *Cynthia came to WSG in search of a solution. Easing her worries, Mr Lee assured Cynthia of her suitability for the job and redirected her attention towards her experiences. Guiding Cynthia to focus on her unique selling points such as her leadership skills, Mr Lee taught Cynthia how to highlight her strengths during the interview. With increased confidence, Cynthia began navigating the job hunting journey skilfully and was offered a job at her company of choice.
6. Know where you are applying to
Prior to the interview, conduct research on the industry that you are applying to. Read up on milestone events such as the Global Financial Crisis, and the impact it had on the industry. Find out what the industry was like before, and where it is heading towards.
Your goal is to impress employers with your knowledge. Equipping yourself with thorough knowledge about the industry, and being well-versed in the industry’s jargon, will let employers see you as someone of high calibre and experience beyond your years. Although you might not have the work experience, you can be seen as someone who can be groomed and trained, securing you the job.
Recently graduated with a Bachelors in Banking and Finance, *Derrick was eager to enter the workforce. In preparation for an upcoming interview with a renowned company, Mr Lee instructed Derrick to read up on the banking industry, and to study milestone events such as the Financial Crisis. During the interview, Derrick impressed the interviewers with his wisdom and maturity. He was seen as a favourable candidate. Derrick has since been with the company for the past year, and has recently been promoted, ahead of the rest of his peers.
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