Congratulations! You’re quite done with your studies, and are ready to jump into the working world.
It's finally time to start making money to pay off your student loans, and buy all 'em toys your parents never got you.
(At this juncture, we may have to point out the unfortunate fact that if you always wanted a pony as a kid… you can’t have one now either.)
That professional certification, diploma, or degree that you’ve worked so hard to get – you know, the one that your parents have been saying will be the most important piece of paper you’ll ever earn in your entire life – in today’s economy, doesn’t quite have the same superpowers these days.
But great news is that you’re going to be ahead of everyone else when you know these three all-important insider tips to land amazing work opportunities.
Fresh graduates, and soon-to-be fresh graduates, take note!
Hack #1: Be on best terms with your job recruiters
They say that practice makes perfect. That’s true.
And nobody practices locating (and filling) job opportunities more than recruiters from a reputable recruitment agency. These job ninjas have access to the widest range of career openings in the country and it’s their role to find the ideal candidates that their clients would be happy with.
While we understand that the job search may be a stressful process, it pays to be nice to your recruiters because they have built up strong relationships with clients who exclusively use their service.
For instance, BGC has built strong trusting client relationships with governmental organisations over 12 years to become the number 1 government recruiter in Singapore. So if you’re keen on potentially working for the public sector, you know where to start!
A strong relationship with your recruiter would see many more open doors to potential opportunities that go unadvertised. Likewise, soured relationships would mean closed access or even a bad rep for future opportunities.
What we’re saying is, your resume needs to be placed in the hands of a reputable recruitment specialist who truly cares about placing you in a role that matches your skills well.
What makes a great recruiter?
A great recruiter is one whom you can depend on for their vast knowledge and insights of the job market, while saving you tons of time and search effort. Feel free to be open with your recruiter about your ideal career path, your values, or any non-negotiable aspects of your work – such information is helpful for us to meaningfully help bridge your career.
Hack #2: Take the “earn as you learn” pathway
To maximise your chances of being employed, we recommend that the first entry in your resume preferably not be the school you just graduated from. What sets you apart from other graduates in your cohort would be your work experience and accomplishments.
“But… I’m still in school!”
We hear you. Now you don’t have to graduate from school in order to begin securing work experience.
Did you know that you can now take a gap from schooling to figure out what you want to do through an industry placement, internship or a temporary full-time job?
Tertiary institutions in Singapore are growingly more accepting of students requesting leave of absences (LOAs – as long as 6 years!) to pursue personal projects that could even be in fields entirely different from their scope of studies.
As we write this blog article, we’ve got a year 2 economics student from Singapore Management University who took an extended LOA and converted her internship into a full-time one (on a full-timer’s payroll) to spearhead the start-up of a cybersecurity firm (Yu Qi, we’re looking at you!)
See? No graduation needed to land a full-time job.
Furthermore, the government has also introduced the SkillsFuture Earn and Learn Programme for Polytechnic and ITE students to start earning money now, while gaining valuable on-the-job training, mentorship, and real world experience in an industry related to your field of study.
Excel in this area and you’ll have no shortage of job offers upon graduation. (You may even receive an offer from your Earn and Learn Programme employer, if the opportunity presents itself!)
Hack #3: Market yourself with complementary skills
Each year, thousands of students graduate with similar certifications.
The supply of fresh graduates simply surpasses the industry demand. This places negotiating power in the hands of employers. But you can tip the scales in your favour by improving your marketability with skills that are complementary to your education.
Got a degree in marketing?
Well, if you are also skilled in copywriting, photography or creative design, that’s a huge boost to your employability.
Not only is your value-add enhanced, potential employers will also know that you’re able to get your job done well along with other areas of marketing and creative work.
Don’t forget that free/affordable resources are abound if you look hard enough.
Here are some cool websites to consider:
- Coursera – offers an extensive range of free & paid courses from reputable universities for a mindboggling range of categories
- LinkedIn – free one-month trial for over 1000 business, tech and creative courses
- Udemy – similar to Coursera in terms of range of subjects. Can be subsidised using SkillsFuture Credits for individuals over 25 years of age.
- CodeAcademy – learn coding from scratch for free
- OnePA Community Centres – offers a range of lifeskills and lifestyle courses held at community facilities and by grassroots organisations for holistic development
- eDX – connects learners to a large range courses taught at universities around the globe
One note on those graduate employment surveys – interpret them with a pinch of salt.
They shouldn’t be used as the be-all, end-all to the salary ranges you must have.
So what if the job scope is perfect but the salary’s way “too low”? Well, someone else is happy to take it on just to get experience.
Remember, having relevant experience counts for your overall pay package.
If you come prepared with a range of marketable skills that employers demand, that would mean more job offers, and ammo for you to ask for a higher salary (employers as we know – are happy to pay, if it means getting someone with your unique abilities on their team).
Need help getting an estimate of what your market value is worth?
Don’t forget, you have recruiters who would be happy to share what the industry is currently offering and what skills you need to get that the salary you want.
Make use of us and online resources available!
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