How to be Strategic on Your First Job Hunt

CareerSeptember 03, 2021 09:57

By Clare Chong

Congratulations on your graduation! You are now officially entering the working world as a fresh graduate. Some of you may be wondering, “Where do I start? How can I clinch a job as soon as possible amidst the pandemic?”

While COVID-19 has certainly disrupted the employment landscape in Singapore, all is not doom and gloom. 



1. Crafting your resume with minimal work experience

A 2019 IBM survey conducted with executives from 50 countries reported that the greatest skill gaps were behavioural, not digital. These skills include adaptability, teamwork, leadership, communication, agility and complex problem-solving.

If you were able to showcase the above competencies in your resume, your chances of getting called up for an interview would be significantly higher. So, instead of worrying about your lack of work experience as compared to your peers who may have had prior internships, you should reflect on your own unique selling points (USP).

For instance, have you participated in any co-curricular activities or projects that required you to lead or work with others effectively? Or have you volunteered in community initiatives that required problem solving and communication with different stakeholders?

Were you involved in any overseas stints (e.g. work and/or study immersion programmes or overseas volunteering projects) during your undergraduate years? Have these overseas experiences helped shape your adaptability and agility in any way?

Once you have identified your USP, edit your resume such that it is a maximum of one page long. Include keywords based on the role you are applying for with relevant skill sets and achievements. You could also split your resume into two columns to focus your potential employer’s attention on your USP while leaving out irrelevant details.

2. Make it a journey of self-discovery and awareness
Do you know what your personality type is? Are you aware of the factors that motivate you in a career?

One way to find out could be through personality profiling such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality test. After knowing your personality profile, you may be able to narrow down your choices to roles that may be more suitable. Understanding your own aptitude and interests would help you find a job that you are more likely to enjoy doing for the long term.

While a good starting pay may be important to most people, fresh graduates like yourself should also consider other motivating factors as well.

Take the example of an environmental engineering graduate from NUS who found a position in the manufacturing industry. Although he had hesitations about the unfamiliar field, in the beginning, he focused more on the ideal growth prospects and work culture of the company. He eventually accepted the competitive offer which surpassed his initial expectations.

Rank the factors that motivate you and then move towards that direction as you consider opportunities from different industries and roles. Be honest with how much you are willing to give up one factor for another so you would know what your priorities are. At the same time, keep an open mind as you may find a fulfilling career in adjacent industries.

3. Reach out to companies in unconventional ways
Are you still sending resume after resume but not hearing back from anyone at all? It may be time to reassess how you reach out to companies.

Firstly, you can consider writing articles that are industry-centric or best reflect your interests and post them on professional networking sites such as LinkedIn. Employers typically do a preliminary search of you on social media to assess whether you may be a good fit for their companies. Take this opportunity to give hiring managers a better gauge of who you are in your social media posts.

You should also find ways to network directly with the right people such as recruiters and employers via career fairs or networking events such as webinars. You could start by asking about the industry and company culture then move on to other topics such as career progression and pre-requisites for open positions. By being proactive about job hunting beyond passively waiting for interviewers to call on you, you could think out of the box and optimise your job search more effectively.

This opens up future opportunities as you form impactful relationships with potential mentors who may point you in the right direction.

Armed with the above game plan, you are now in a much better position to plan your job search. Get started now by checking out exciting new jobs at or reach out to our friendly career advisors today!

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