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Heads Up, Fresh Grads: 4 Tips To Nail Your First Job In This New Norm

Denise Bay

Denise Bay

Last updated 30 August, 2021

Finding a job in this extra challenging climate is doubly hard. Here are some fresh graduate-friendly career tips to help you navigate your way around COVID-19 and the perpetually stiff competition amongst graduates.

Fresh out of school and starry-eyed, you’re all ready to step into the working world. However, a part of you is apprehensive. 

With the COVID-19 pandemic dragging on for longer than anyone would have imagined, it is only natural for any fresh graduate to feel anxious. After all, finding a job is tough in itself. Throw a less than promising economy into the equation? The difficulty level gets bumped up exponentially.

If you relate to the above, then the following tips to help you secure your first job in this new normal are for you. 

#1 Polish up your fresh graduate resume, cover letter, LinkedIn profile and more 

It’s not just about formatting it with the fanciest font, really. Learn the art of writing your fresh graduate resume and cover letter to really stand out from the crowd. Can’t wait to get started? Tap on the many free resources available online already.  

If you prefer having someone to guide you, consider joining career coaching workshops. While you are at it, spare some time to pick up essential interview skills and learn the tips and tricks to negotiating salary offers. Remember: practise, practise, practise! 

Another area that shouldn’t be neglected? Learn how to sell yourself, your wonderful personality and in-demand skills – all online. This also means polishing up your LinkedIn profile and any other profile you might have with recruitment platforms.

#2 Keep an open mind

While it is commendable to have an end goal in mind in which you’re living and breathing your dream job (whatever that may be), life inevitably comes with a few hurdles. 

That dream job of yours may not be attainable at this point in time because of things that aren’t within your control. A very real example is the battered aviation industry that isn’t looking to fill positions right now due to prolonged border closures around the world. The same goes for many other industries that are highly reliant on tourism to bring in the money. 

In a difficult time like now, it doesn’t hurt to be more open to alternative types of industry and work beyond what you wanted, at least for the time being. This includes contract-based employment as well as industries that lie outside of your comfort zone, some examples being healthcare, Information, Communications and Technology (ICT), finance and manufacturing. 

There are also internships or traineeship programmes available for fresh grads to get your feet wet before diving into a full-time or permanent role. 

In case you need some assurance, know that there is absolutely nothing wrong to be an intern or trainee even when you’ve graduated. In fact, kudos to you for being willing to upskill and/or explore other areas!  

#3 Familiarise yourself with video conferencing platforms 

In the COVID-19 world that we live in today, where online interviews are almost always held using one of these popular video conferencing platforms, being familiar and comfortable with video conferencing platforms like Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams and Skype is a non-negotiable. 

So spend some time learning how to navigate these platforms while you’re looking for a suitable job. 

#4 Cast your job search net far and wide 

Besides ensuring your resume and cover letter stand out and that your interview skills are more than up to scratch, a fresh graduate like yourself can also tap on resources like LinkedIn, JobStreet, and government agencies when searching for jobs as recruiters often post available job openings on such platforms. Simply filter and search according to what you reckon might be suitable for you. 

Join Telegram groups like #SGUnitedJobs and Singapore Careers and @sgCareers by Assemble to be updated on fresh job opportunities, too. 

Be kind to yourself

Recognise you’re not alone — this is a stressful time for most of us, including those who have been working for a couple of years or even decades. It is perfectly normal for anyone who’s seeking a job to feel anxious or jaded as the process itself is exhausting.    

Treat yourself with kindness and compassion no matter how stressful the situation you’re in may be. It is incredibly important that you remain resilient and patient.   

Also, if you have marketable skills, consider doing freelance work while you hunt for a potentially suitable job. These business ideas need little to $0 capital.

Help yourself to better financial shape in the new norm, with SingSaver's all-new Ultimate Savings Guide! Got your free copy yet?

Fresh grads: how to effectively WFH and save money?

As work-from-home (WFH) remains the default unless the COVID-19 spread slows down significantly, fresh graduates may find it particularly challenging to not have any face time with new colleagues, managers and bosses while they’re new on the job. 

To effectively WFH, take the initiative to do frequent check-ins with your colleagues and direct managers. If you’re unsure of anything, ask away — I’m pretty sure everyone will be more than happy to lend a helping hand. 

It is also crucial that you master the art of drawing a line between work and personal time, even though the very nature of WFH tends to blur that line. If possible, avoid working in your bedroom as that should be reserved for rest. To keep yourself sane, engage in regular exercise — go for a run or put on your favourite YouTube workout channel if you prefer to stay indoors. Remember to breathe and stay connected with your friends and loved ones!  

Finally, when you receive that sweet first paycheck at last, reward yourself by all means, but remember to put aside a portion of it to build up your emergency fund. Learn how to budget and find out what some of the best savings accounts have to offer. It’s always wise to make each dollar of yours go further, don’t you think? 

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While Denise has a thing for travel, K-dramas, 0% sugar bbt (with boba!), Japanese cuisine and flat white, her curious nature means all sorts of random tabs are open on her phone 24/7. She doesn’t like to pay full price for anything, too.


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