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Go beyond the basic resume

Fresh graduates can build a tech career via networking, taking part in projects and adopting a pet project

Encouraging and supporting a career in technology continues to be a key focus, with the Government last year announcing a $120 million fund to prepare and develop Singapore talent for 30,000 new information and communications tech jobs by 2020.

Salaries in tech are also soaring, with high demand for individuals who can bring specific skill sets to the table.

Millennials are often attracted to the start-up culture in tech companies, with the opportunity to pioneer innovations.

A recent six-nation online survey revealed that Asia's youth are "excited" for future digital job prospects.

To help maintain passion for tech-focused careers and keep Singapore strong in the sector, here are tips for fresh graduates looking to build a tech career:

Build public profile

The first step is always the hardest. Fresh graduates with little practical experience may struggle to showcase their competency to potential employers.

Building a great resume is the starting point for every fresh graduate on the job hunt. However, tech employers often look beyond the basic one-pager.

For developers and designers, it is key to showcase their work and skills on platforms such as LinkedIn, GitHub and Stack Overflow. Aspiring creatives can share their work or projects on open source platforms such as Behance.

Keep learning

Employers want to know that potential hires have a genuine passion for tech and a ceaseless drive to learn and improve.

This is important as the tech industry moves incredibly fast with new domains, services, languages and infrastructure emerging constantly.

A recent edition of the Technology Radar, a bi-yearly tech insights report from ThoughtWorks, identified conversational user interface and natural language processing as key skills to master.

Keeping updated with the latest tech trends is essential in displaying a continuous willingness to learn and improve.

Network your passion

Get involved, explore the local tech landscape and contribute to meet-ups, tech events or conferences. There is a variety of niche interest groups in Singapore.

Networking with fellow tech enthusiasts will help you become better at building solutions that you can showcase to future employers.

Additionally, some of the best professionals in the industry are also involved in these groups. Learning from them will help you achieve technical excellence and valuable mentorship early in your career.

Participating in coding competitions will allow you to benchmark your skills against other developers. Often, coming together with like-minded developers will spark great ideas that may eventually become implemented as a viable product in your future organisation.

Adopt a pet project

For those who prefer to take a more individualistic approach, adopting a personal pet project is a great way to fine-tune your tech skill set. This will also show employers what you are capable of beyond just academics.

Some of the best hires were individuals who might not have had the best grades, but were able to showcase interesting side projects and could speak passionately about them.

Have the right attitude

Once you have secured the job, bring your best professional attitude to the workplace.

Be prepared to do the work required to pursue early career growth. Keep in mind that some foundational "grunt work" may be required in the form of simple coding or shadowing. Take this time to master core skills and build your basics.

Focus on becoming the best through continuous learning and the right opportunities will begin to open up for you.

For aspiring fresh graduates, passion and a great attitude will get you far. Employers look for fresh hires who display an attitude that embraces continuous learning and resilience that can weather the ups-and-downs of a long-term tech career.

The writer is head of talent acquisition at ThoughtWorks, 
a software company.

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