• How To: Secure a Job in Singapore as a Mature Applicant

    by Deana Zafir

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    According to the recent 2019 Singapore National Day Rally, Singaporeans are some of the lucky few to have the world’s highest life expectancy. In addition, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong claimed that Singaporeans are known to stay healthy for longer, and most seniors do not want to stop working.

    With longevity, comes more responsibilities and sadly, more bills to pay. This is why it is crucial for both seniors and mature workers to continually re-skill and educate themselves, in order to stay relevant in the working world. A recommendation that’s supported by both the Prime Minister and the newly formed Tripartite Workgroup on Older Workers.

    For now, the age of retirement in Singapore will be gradually raised from 62 to 65. Whilst re-employment ages will be increased from 67 to 70. The increase is expected to be implemented by 2030. 

    As a manpower outsourcing agency in Singapore, hiring workers of all ages, BGC Group was given the opportunity to give a talk at First Media Academy last August. Below are some of the tips our staffing teammates gave to help mature job seekers enhance their employability in today’s rapidly digitizing economy. 

    1. CV Tips for Mature Job Applicants  

    It is no secret that Singapore’s job environment is evolving at a rapid pace. Which is why mature job seekers should not expect to be hired based on their work experience. It is imperative to present your lifelong experiences in a nice and shiny CV.

    Let’s face it. No matter how qualified you are, you’ll need an excellent resume to show for. Here’s how:

    A) Make things simpler with resume templates available online 

    One way to create a polished resume without grueling over it for hours is by utilizing resume building websites online. Some easy to use websites include Canva and Novoresume.

    Canva is a great website to use if you’re quite savvy with graphic design. It is also one of the best free resume sites available out there. The great thing about Canva is that you can build your resume completely from scratch - which means that you can add any element, shape, or custom images to your resume. Definitely not a resume building site for a beginner or novice designer.

    Learn more about Canva here.

    Novoresume, on the other hand, has ready-made professional resume templates for you to use. Users will also have a variety of professional resume templates to choose from. Themes range from functional, creative, to college and executive templates. 

    Unfortunately, Novoresume is not free, and a basic account costs US$16 (approx. S$22.20). However, the website does allow users to create a copy of a one-page resume, cover letter, and a long resume.

    Learn more about Novoresume here.

    B) Summarize relevant pointers  

    It is hard to squeeze a lifetime of knowledge and experience into a one-page resume. So don’t. A resume should be an overview of your working accomplishments, so keep it brief. We recommend: 

    Important information first: Here’s a secret. Hiring managers do not spend a lot of time reading resumes. In fact, research states that hiring managers spend up to 6 seconds reading one resume. So try not to bore them with a cluttered resume filled with irrelevant information.

    Include numbers: Employers respond well to numbers as it allows them to better understand the value you may bring to the position. 

    Recent and most relevant only: You may have held a number of jobs over the past few years. And whilst it might be impressive to you, hiring managers are not interested in reading a resume that’s several pages long. Keep your resume updated by only including the most recent job experiences, relevant to the position you’re applying. 

    2. What to Avoid During the Interview  

    Your job interview is the best way to market yourself to potential employers and network. Whilst you can always practice the contents of your interview to make it perfect - you should also be wary of your body language throughout the interview.

    Here are some things you should avoid doing during the interview:

    A. Being too casual

    It’s great to be confident or to be yourself during any job interview. But remember to keep it professional. Being too casual or too relaxed gives off the impression that you don’t really care about whether or not you get the job.

    B. Straddling the chair 

    Yeah...just sit on the chair like a normal person. You can cross your legs if you wish too - but try not to display your crotch when you straddle your chair.

    C. Chewing gum or eating during the interview

    Unless you’ve been invited to a lunch interview, there is no reason for you to be eating or chewing during your job interview.

    D. Being too defensive after receiving criticism  

    It sucks to be criticized, we understand. But coming across as being too defensive might not be the right move to make during a job interview. Defensiveness is a natural, self-protective criticism that most people unleash during job interviews.

    Getting defensive gives leeway to unsavoury behaviour. For instance, you might resort to using either a sharp tone or even accusatory words. Doing this will not only sabotage your chances of landing a job, but you’ll also burn bridges with the company. 

    3. Grooming before the job interview is essential too 

    Looking good is essential to any job interview. When you look and feel good, you appear more energetic and passionate during the interview.

    First impressions and appearances matter during the interview. You might not realize this but your clothes tell the recruiters a story before you even open your mouth. The way you dress and your appearance gives the recruiter certain assumptions, which you must then prove or disprove.

    Here are some of our top pre-interview grooming tips you’ll want to take note of:

    1. Dress well  

    Think of your job interview as a date. You’ll want to dress well to impress the hiring manager into calling you in for a subsequent interview, and then eventually, a full-time job.

    But dressing well affects more than just the recruiter’s impression of you. Have you heard of the white lab coat effect? It’s a study conducted revealed that medical students performed better on tests when wearing a white lab coat. Unsurprisingly, students who were made to perform the same tests whilst wearing either an artist’s smock or their own clothes did not perform as well on their tests.

    Dressing well not only affects the recruiter’s perception about you. It also helps us perform better. There’s a lot of power contained in a suit jacket and it’s worth having at an interview.

    2. Sleep! 

    Don’t forget to catch that Zzz’s the night before your job interview. Which is something that is easier said than done - since we often find ourselves to be more excited or nervous before a job interview.

    But a bad night’s sleep will affect your mental alertness and overall energy. Some ways to overcome anxiety the night before your job interview include:

    • Avoid caffeine and alcohol

    • Exercise! This helps release Serotonin, which effectively helps calm your nerves down 

    • De-stress by doing relaxing activities!

    If you’re still finding it hard to sleep, consider undertaking the steps below the day of your interview:

    • Short periods of intense exercise 

    • Get that vitamin D! Some natural daylight lets our brains know that it is daytime and reduces sluggishness.

    • Grab a short nap! A nap no longer than 20 minutes might help you feel more alert. Studies have shown that napping provides immediate improvements in mental performance and energy.

    Want to hear about a specific topic from us? Let us know in the comments section below!

    Looking for more tips and tricks for mature job seekers? Check out these articles below!

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