Career Advice for Fresh Graduates: What I Wish I’d Knew About Securing My First Job

If you’re a fresh graduate making your first foray into the job market in your final term of studies, securing your first job can undoubtedly be a daunting prospect. This is why we decided to share some meaningful career advice for fresh graduates like you.

As your high-flyer batchmates with perfect GPAs secure their spots in prestigious graduate trainee programmes with big MNCs, it can feel like the other 90% (read “the rest of us”) are forced to fight for the remaining job opportunities out there.

Most jobs require some form of experience, but how will you be able to gain that experience if nobody is willing to take a chance on a newbie? Feels like a vicious cycle, doesn’t it? Well, fret not.

Here at ResumeWriter.SG, we support hundreds of fresh graduates each year on their graduate job search. Here are 3 career advice for fresh graduates that our clients wish they had done before graduation to help give you a head start in securing your first job:

1. Create Something Real

You might have scored an A+ on that 100-page Marketing 101 group assignment, but it probably won’t count for much during a job interview. Something tangible will. Showcasing personal projects such as a stunning app that you’ve built, your portfolio of pro-level YouTube videos or a side business that you’ve run provides concrete evidence of your skills and what you can do for your future employer.

2. Embrace Your Alpha Male/Female

The defining keyword of this era is “disruption”. As the debate around machines replacing humans for lower-skilled jobs intensifies, machines will never be able to replace humans in the area of soft skills such as leadership, communication, empathy etc. Your ability to communicate well and lead your peers is going to be a critical differentiator as you progress in your career. Why not start working on these skills early by assuming student leadership positions or starting your own CCA/interest group? Just think about it. Including achievements such as “Led team of 7 ExCo members to organise CCA recruitment event and achieved 300 new member sign-ups (25% YoY increase) within 2 days” in your resume will instantly set you apart from other job applicants.

3. Get A Professional Certificate

The Singapore government has provided every Singaporean with $500 in SkillsFuture Credits, and these can be used for personal and professional development courses. If you’d like to make the full use of your credits towards your job search, there are plenty of courses to choose from regardless of which industry you intend to go into. While it takes a few years of work experience to qualify for prestigious accreditations such as the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) or Project Management Professional (PMP), there’s nothing stopping you from enrolling in a Google AdWords certification course to be a qualified search engine marketer or an Advanced Microsoft Excel bootcamp to wow your future colleagues with impressive data models.

From our experience working with clients at various stages of their careers, we’ve found that entry-level jobs emphasise heavily on practical, common-sense skills such as designing PowerPoint slides, good email communication and being savvy with office equipment (yes, making photocopies). Between that straight-A student who hasn’t a single clue on how to read a PivotTable and a C+ student who actually knows how to not just create a PivotTable but also create Excel macros, our money is on the C+ student in snagging that first promotion.

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