Singapore

Just graduated and looking for a job? Here are some tips

People looking for jobs here may find that the current job market is tough.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate as of September was 3 per cent for residents (citizens and PRs).​

This is up 0.2 per cent from September 2014.

The annual average unemployment rate for those under the age of 30 remained at 5.2 per cent for the year of 2014, same as in 2013.

“Since the beginning of the year, companies have been cautious about hiring because of falling oil prices and a slowing economy in China,” said Ms Linda Teo, country manager of ManpowerGroup Singapore.

Of course, with the tough job market, fresh graduates may be affected too.

So here are some tips on how to stand out when applying for a job.

1) Customise your CV based on the job that you are applying for

Mr Erman Tan, 51, president of the Singapore Human Resources Institute, advised: "If you want to apply for a project administrator position, highlight all the projects you have managed in school or past-internships.

"Similarly, if you're applying for a sales position, highlight maybe your vacation job experiences where you've managed shops or made a lot of contacts."

2) Resume should not be more than three pages long

Just hand in your references to prospective employers when you get a call to attend an interview and not anytime before, said Mr Tan.

"So that this doesn't take the focus away from your achievements on your resume," said Mr Tan.

3) Don't clutter your resume. Pick out your strengths and summarise it in a concise manner

Mr Tan said applicants should make their achievements shine in a resume.

Most companies often look for leadership qualities in a candidate, so make sure to highlight those if you have.

4) Always let people proof-read your resume. Grammatical mistakes and typos are a big no-no.

5) Digital resumes

Ms Teo said that these digital resumes are one way to make a job applicant's resume stand out. Digital resumes are those displayed on personal websites and even LinkedIn profiles that can be easily accessible to prospective employers.

"Give snapshots of their internship and testimonials, with links, if any," she added, especially if you are applying for a job in design, marketing and communications.

But make sure the links you provide work.

6) Do try to volunteer yourself for social services and do some community work.

But make sure it's not just for one hour - because that is insincere and the companies will find out.

Mr Tan added: "Always be honest."

The experience gained from social service will highlight some of your leadership qualities and project management skills. 

7) Don't over-qualify yourself

Some people who haven't found jobs end up taking up a lot more qualifications like an extra master's degree just for the sake of it.

And it may not even help in their job search.

Sometimes, companies think that you may be too qualified and will not want to hire you, said Mr Tan.

Ms Teo said that applicants should focus on the job application process.

"Research the companies you would like to work for and the roles you feel strongly about – roles you could contribute to. Send in unsolicited applications, ensuring that each cover letter is tailored to the organisation and role you are applying for."

8) In the current job market, interviews can be very long and often include group tests (with other applicants) and various team-building activities

Always be yourself and be humble.

And make sure you are a team player, said Mr Tan.

Ms Teo advised applicants to think of at least three achievements they had in school. Examples include being the head of an interest group or leader of a project.

She said: "Think through the details of your involvement - how you came up with concepts, how you steered the group, and - importantly - what impact you made in these roles.

"Tie these to the job needs, and say how you could apply these experiences to the task at hand," she said.

9) Begin the job-search process early

Ms Teo said: "Send out job applications before the start of your last semester. Don't wait till graduation to apply for jobs when they will be competing with throngs of others."

10) Realistic expectations

Ms Teo said: "Fresh graduates should not out-price themselves out of the job market.

"For instance, for a fresh graduate to expect a starting salary of $3,500 and upwards is unrealistic in the current climate."

 

Source: Ministry of Manpower

 

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