It’s graduating season in Singapore. Although it’s a reason to celebrate and be joyful, many graduates are understandably worried about the next step. Finding that very first job can be a hassle and frightening experience, especially if the economy isn’t booming. Knowing that you are competing with all your fellow graduates for the same jobs, makes it even more of a mental issue.
The question is how to get a competitive edge over other graduates. When do you need to start applying for jobs to have a better chance? Here are a few tips that can help you secure your very first job.
Get prepared - 9-12 months
Before you even start to think about applying for any job or internship, you need to get a few things in order. Although the application process has become largely digital, you still need a well thought-through, error-free CV. Start to prepare your CV and complete your Monster profile well in advance - at least 9-12 months prior to graduating. Although this might seem like a long time, representing yourself well isn’t done in a few minutes. It’s best to have enough time to reflect on your CV, ask lecturers for recommendations, and get a professional picture taken.
Why the hassle, you ask? Just imagine the perfect job comes along and you are not prepared. You don’t want to be looking for recommendations when opportunities come knocking on your door. In order to move faster than your fellow graduates, you need to be prepared.
Start looking early - 6-9 months
Although you might have a good idea about what job you want, it‘s definitely recommended to keep a tab on job opportunities. It not only helps you to find out what you really want, but also gives you a sense of other opportunities in the market.
Starting to look early enough you might even realise that your CV isn’t ready for the job you are applying for. Perhaps you need to beef up some of your design or coding skills? Knowing what employers expect from you can give you an edge over other candidates.
Get interview experience - 3-6 months
Besides having your CV ready and keeping an eye on the job market, you also should get some interview experience. It’s a good idea to secure a few interviews within the same industry. For example, if you want to secure a marketing job at a multinational company, you should consider applying for a variety of marketing-related jobs.
Having some interview experience before finally meeting the hiring manager of your dream company will help feel more relaxed, focused and confident.
Make it count - last 3
Once you have gathered all the necessary documents, insights, and interview experience, you should be ready for the big interview. Make sure you reflect on the learnings from the past few months, so you are as prepared as you can be.
It might seem like a lot of work during your last year of school, but it actually isn’t. The key is to start early and gain perspective.