If you’re graduating from polytechnic or university this year, your introduction to the workforce is going to be very different from years previous. The spread of Covid-19 has deeply impacted the economy, and many companies have frozen hiring or paused their internship programmes.
However, don’t lose hope! There is as much opportunity in these times as there are disadvantages, and it’s your job to capitalise on those possibilities and net yourself a good position.
We have some advice for you that’s more practical than “keep your chin up and your head in the game”, so take a few minutes to read and get ready to search:
1. Aim for “hot” industries
Covid-19 has hit the travel, retail, manufacturing and transport industries hard, and many of their firms have stopped welcoming new blood as a result. But essential services are hotter than ever, as mainstay sectors like healthcare and social work are urgently hiring for a variety of positions. IT and cybersecurity are also blossoming now, as big data and analytical solutions are necessary to measure the impact of the virus.
Even if your major isn’t directly relevant to an industry, check out positions in related companies. For example, engineers are in high demand at hospitals as they need more people to check and maintain equipment. Many non-profit organisations are also looking for permanent staff in the current situation.
2. Perfect your resume
Have some free time now that you don’t have classes to attend? Polish your resume! It is the first glimpse the company will get of you, so you must make the best impression you can. Remember to summarise your skills, include relevant qualifications and experiences, and make sure your contact details are up front and impossible to miss.
More time also means you can tailor your resume to each job you apply to. Look through the posting and use keywords and phrases that it mentions, and remove unnecessary information. Even if you don’t have a certificate in a particular skill, you can always mention that you have experience in it (and be prepared to validate yourself during the interview). You can also use graphic tools like Canva to construct a visually-appealing CV.
If your resume is ready, go ahead and upload it!
3. Keep up with the news
Did you know that financial institutions are continuing to offer internships and jobs? Or about the various positions and traineeships under SGUnited? Hopefully you’ve been keeping up with the news so you know where to start applying.
Keep abreast of developments, initiatives and openings in Singapore and in your field so you know where to apply. Industry blogs will provide a good sense of the trends in your specific field, while recruitment advice on forums and news sites will help you on a more general level.
Keeping abreast of job-related movement will also impress your interviewer, as you demonstrate what a well-informed and up-to-date individual you are. Reading the news regularly is a win-win for a jobseeker.
4. Social Network Socially
Other than sending out applications, you must also maintain a connected online presence so that people will contact you. A professional LinkedIN page is a must – make sure you share articles, write comments and keep your profile as recent as possible. Take advantage of the bottomless storage online to upload testimonials, work samples and past projects as well.
If you’re interested in something, showcase your expertise with a blog or website. You can go to Wix.com and set up your professional profile, or hit WordPress or Weebly for a blog about your volunteering experiences.
A powerful social media presence and professional online portfolio will up your visibility and get you all sorts of contacts – some of which may offer for you.
5. Practice Interviews
In Singapore before Covid-19, many interviews were face-to-face. That is not the situation currently – most job interviews are via phone or video. So it’s time to practice for this new reality, and brush up on your long-distance interview skills.
After reading our tips, it’s time to prepare and rehearse. Ready your interview space by getting rid of the mess and testing your equipment. Then prepare your pitch, practice answers to popular interview questions, and practice smiling at your laptop/phone camera (trust us that it’s a lot more difficult than it looks). You can have a friend pretend to interview you as well, so you are ready for the real thing.
Looking for your first job is never easy, and it may be even more difficult now. All the more reason to do your best, go the extra mile, and score that interview!
School photo created by freepik - www.freepik.com