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Why Singapore Fresh Grads Can't Seem To Get A Job, And Their Concerns For Career Progression

Fresh Grads, I understand your dilemma. Your education journey has come to an end, and you’re now entering a new stage in life.

People around you are all looking for jobs, submitting their resumes, filling in applications, attending job fairs. It seems like the constant go-to topic is always “The Career”.

All this anxiety involuntarily rubs off on you, and thinking about it just gives you a headache! But don’t worry, you’re not alone in this.

We decided to carry out a mini-survey to find out the woes job seekers have during the job hunt, as well as the things that you can do to solve these problems.

Survey targeted at first-time job seekers

From the survey, 65% of respondents were concerned about finding a job, while 35% were concerned about career progression. In addition, we have also come up with several possible solutions to each aspect.

Issues Regarding Job Placement

Job placement issues

1. Not Enough Experience

Finding a job has always been quite the vicious cycle – without the experience, you can’t get the job, but without the job, neither can you gain the much-needed experience.

But did you know that jobs aren’t the only outlet to gain the necessary work experience? There are plenty other platforms that can help you build your portfolio, gain relevant skills and stand out from your peers!

1.1 The Youth Career Network

Young NTUC is also helping in-school youths and fresh graduates get experience and form networks.

Launched in August 2016 by Director Desmond Choo, the Youth Career Network (YCN) is holding a Career Discovery session (10 Jan 2017), where professional career coaches will use structured tools to assess your personality, interests, skills and values to identify potential careers for you.

At the Career Mentorship session (17 Jan 2017), you will also have the opportunity to interact with career mentors from various industries to gain career insights into your desired industry and job roles.

Here, you will also have a chance to be matched to a career mentor for 4 months! Check out some of the career mentors we met here.

Labour Member of Parliament Desmond Choo

Desmond Choo (above), a Labour Member of Parliament, is speaking up for young workers and working families as he explains how the YCN works:

“With the Youth Career Network, we are able to bring in youths who are experienced industry professionals to help other youths in need of career guidance. This essentially will grow into an ecosystem of networks where youths come together to share their skills, knowledge and expertise.

“Youths want to take charge of their own future and fulfil their career aspirations. They understand the need to foster their own career identity. This improves their employability in the long term. They too recognise the benefits of mentorship at work and beyond workplaces.”

2. Horrible Interview Experience

While being invited down for interviews is a win in itself, the battle is still only half-won here. It’s a scary prospect to sit down and have perfect answers when your nerves are going haywire.

Follow these steps to better prepare yourselves:

  • Attend workshops at your school’s career center
  • Practice with a family member / friend
  • Research the company thoroughly
  • Pre-empt some questions and prepare answers
  • Arrive early for the interview
  • Dress appropriately

3. Resume Not Shortlisted

Image Credit: LinkedIn

You’re sending out resumes left and right and yet you don’t get any calls. There are a few reasons as to why this is so. Instead of sending out an entire barrage of resumes, sit down and analyse how you can improve your chances of being shortlisted with these tips:

  • Research on tips to optimise your resume
  • Conciseness is key
  • Provide the URL to your LinkedIn
  • Improve your LinkedIn profile
  • Link up with headhunters, NTUC U PME Centre and e2i
  • Attend a resume-writing course

4. Hard To Find Information

You want to make an effort to prepare for the upcoming interview but it just seems like information on the company is difficult to find. It could be that the company you’re applying for does not have a strong online presence, but there are other channels you can check out!

  • The official company website
  • Their LinkedIn page
  • Social media pages they manage
  • Articles written by them and about them
  • Notice the awards they’ve won
  • Check out Glassdoor reviews
  • Ask others!

5. Lack Of Information

Some of the most useful answers can’t be found just by searching. Questions about company culture or getting an insider’s opinion about a certain company are not information available on the net. This is the perfect opportunity to network.

Seniors, friends, acquaintances… it’s time to look for any contacts you know and ask them any burning questions you have!

6. Jobs Not In Field Of Study

You’re scrolling endlessly at Jobstreet or monster.com but see no relevant job openings for your degree or diploma. Are you looking at the right platform, and are you open to those out of your expected job scope?

Be open to new opportunities, and who knows, you might find your passion in a job you never imagined doing!

Issues Regarding Career Progression

Job progression issues

1. Mentorship

Only giving your all during work may no longer be sufficient in attaining your career goals.

Find a potential mentor and develop a friendship with them. Follow them, and be supportive of their work. Mentors can help you grow steadily in the field as you benefit from their feedback, insight and deep industry experiences.

You can check out future mentorship sessions with NTUC’s U Future Leaders. This is a space where you can meet CXOs, such as Mr Pankaj Batra, Chief Marketing Officer of Pizza Hut, or visit Innovation Labs of leading companies via NTUC’s Innovation Exchange.

Image Credit: U Future Leaders Mentorship Programme, NTUC Membership

2. Career Guidance

Career Guidance isn’t just for graduates. If you’re looking to do a career switch, or are unsure about how to get to your ideal career path, you can head to NTUC’s U PME Centre and e2i, where career coaches will provide coaching and advice on how to deal with these challenges.

3. Networking

You hear updates from peers others going to networking sessions – but where exactly can you find these events? Try going to online platforms like Meetup.com, eventnook, Eventbrite, or join networking groups to connect with others.

Always remember to be on the lookout for upcoming industry events or shows, especially if they are related to your dream career – you’ll be sure to meet someone there!

4. Course Subsidies

All Singaporeans 25 years and above are eligible for S$500 worth of Skillsfuture credits to subsidise a range of approved courses. Go check them out at the Skillsfuture page!

NTUC members can use NTUC’s Union Training Assistance Programme (UTAP) to subsidise eligible courses by up to 50%! You can use your Skillsfuture credits together with UTAP.

Even though you may be junior in age, job experience and skills, don’t be crestfallen because there are multiple avenues you can tap on to boost your employability in today’s, and even tomorrow’s job market.

The Labour Movement wants fresh graduates to know that the world is still their oyster, and a bleak job market shouldn’t hold them back from pursuing their careers.

This article was written by Belle Ang.

Featured Image Credit: officeparrots

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