Fresh Grads FAQs
It was a mix of emotion when I graduated in 2017. While I was glad to exit the stage where I had to memorize stuffs and raced against assignment deadlines, I was also thrown into a realm of uncertainties.
Will I be able to find a job? Will I have enough money to pay off my student loan? What if I am not good enough? Being an arts students, I am more equipped with soft skills than with hard skills. Will I be relevant to the society in which I grew up hearing engineers and accountants are highly sought after?
There were a lot of questions that I asked before I started on my degree, while I was taking my degree, and even now as I am working. Today, I am confident to say that I have found the answer to some of the questions that I was looking for. Of course, the following answers
(Before taking a degree…)
Q: Is a degree really necessary?
No, it is not. After getting their diploma, many of my friends went out to work. A handful of whom are earning a higher pay than degree holders. A degree is not a need-to-have, but a nice-to-have. While having a degree helps you stand out and may perhaps give you that tad bit more advantage into scoring an interview, the way you present yourself as being relevant to the company is more important. As cliche as it sounds, being positive and eager to learn are the traits that will eventually allow the company to believe that you are valuable.
(While I was taking the degree, before graduating…)
Q: Is finding a job tough?
In the year I graduated, an article came up on TODAY. According to TODAY, the percentage of fresh graduates from NTU, NUS and SMU landing permanent full-time jobs within 6 months of graduation is as follow (2013 wasn’t mentioned in the article oops):
So I guess, no… It is not difficult to find a job. But it is challenging to find a job that best fits our expectations of an ideal job (e.g., good pay, healthy work environment, reasonable working hours and tasks assigned).
Q: When should I start looking for a job?
Heh… Hard to say. I started browsing for fun about six months before I graduated to see the kind of job opportunities out there. The serious search only started 2 months before I graduate and I started applying about 1 and half months before graduating.
(After looking graduating while looking for a job…)
Q: Do I have the rights to be picky?
Not exactly… Besides competing with other fresh grads, you are also probably competing with other people who are switching career in their 30s or 40s. They have the upper hand when it comes to work experience.
That being said, you are entitled to be selective! Pick a job with a job scope that you know you won’t get sick of fast. During an interview, look around and try to immerse yourself in the environment. Are you comfortable there? It is not wrong to pick a job that gives you a higher pay despite your lack of interest in it. It is also not wrong to pick a job you really like even though it gives you a lower pay.
It is but a mere fine line between being picky and being selective though...
Q: What are some of the challenges while looking for a job?
Firstly, not knowing if I should apply. A lot of job postings stated a requirement of minimum 1-2 years of work experience. Besides a 6-months internship and some part-time work experience (which is no longer than 6 months each time), would I be considered if I applied?
No harm, just apply. Sadly, I got no replies. #LOL. That was the second challenge. I’ve sent out tens of applications via direct emailing to the companies’ HR and via job portals but they all seem to end up being lost in some vast abyss. It was demoralizing, to be honest.
Nevertheless, job searching is still interesting. I’m super glad to be working at SHIFT, a place where I now get to help job seekers make direct contact with employers. It brings me joy to see the number of matches growing every day!
Content in this article is strictly personal views from the author except for the following (supported strongly by the company):
SHIFT Job App is awesome to start out with if you are a fresh grad (regardless of diploma or degree) looking for a professional permanent full-time job. It’s stylo-milo the way millennials like it! All you have to do is:
- Fill up your profile (which is also your resume)
- Swipe up to apply
Photo Credits: Original photo with blank chalkboard by rawpixel.com on Unsplash