Hooray! You have been through at least 15 years of education to finally hold that coveted piece of degree and it is now time to get out there to make an impact to the world! Not before doing the well-deserved graduation trip of course.
As you tour the world, sipping wine and feeling the sea breeze caressing your hair, you can only imagine yourself becoming a high powered executive whom will be rushing between meetings and pitching new ideas to the management. You start to plan what to do with your very first full salary and have the rest of the year’s holidays all planned.
Getting back to Singapore, you start to surf the job portals and the internet trying to sieve out the best jobs which fulfills the following criterias
- Big and stable MNCs
- Awesome packages and benefits
- Excellent work life balance
- Nice pantries and ergonomic chairs
Alright, you have identified the lucky few companies which deserves to have a peek at your profile and you meticulously craft your application to grant them an opportunity to interview you at your convenience. You sent out the applications and nothing comes back. It feels like a black hole. What went wrong?
What is wrong is how fresh graduates are behaving. They take their time to apply for jobs with no sense of urgency and choosing to go for holidays first. They are also very selective when it comes to applying for jobs and are not willing to settle for anything lesser. A recent survey by the Committee for Private Education (CPE), which regulates the private education industry, shows that only 60% of the private school students found full-time permanent work within six months of completing their studies. About 80% Graduates from the autonomous universities such as NUS, NTU, SMU and SUTD found full-time permanent within the same time period.
During an interview a couple of years back with one graduate from an autonomous university, she requested for $4000 as a starting salary. When queried how did she arrived at that figure, she said she is unique because she has a global view of things owing to her overseas exchange and industrial attachment programs. I told her every single autonomous graduate that comes through the door would have done some sort of overseas stint and they were unique too. Needless to say, I ended up hiring a Hong Kong lady with 5 years of experience and costing me $4600. Well worth the additional $600.
I get asked by graduates quite often how to land on the perfect first job and my answer is simple. There is no perfect first job. Instead, focus on the following:
- Start hunting for a job early, preferably 6 months before graduation. The graduation trip can wait if the company wants you early.
- Have a list of jobs you do not want to do instead of the jobs you want. Apply for the rest.
- Adjust your expectations and do a reality check.
- Religiously comb every single job portal daily before calling it a day and target to send out at least 20 resumes daily.
- Attend all interviews. This is because every single interview you attend, you get better at it.
- Don’t be selective even before the company selects you. You can pick and choose later if you receive multiple offers.
With that, I wish you all the best and hope you can truly make a difference to your life before making any to the world.
An amazing article to read if you are ready to quit your first job .