Career Tips For Students

Getting the right job has never been easy due to the competitive job market and the scarcity of good jobs that match our expectation.

Employers, besides subjecting candidates with a range of competency skills and technical know-how also designed interview to assess a person intelligence and emotional quotient to ensure that they hire the right candidate for the right job.

Here you will find job tips and career advice on how to succeed in the job market and will work together towards your dream jobs or career growth.

Thinking about your career, Get answers to help you get on track:

I. Things You Should Do Before and After an Interview

In interviews, your job is to convince a recruiter that you have the skills, knowledge, and experience for the job. So what can you do to ensure that you secure the spot?

A. THINGS YOU SHOULD DO BEFORE A JOB INTERVIEW

1. Stay calm.

Feeling prepared is the antidote to anxiety. Stress, nervousness and anxiety could inhibit your ability to think clearly. Meditation can be one of the ways for you and it can be as simple as closing your eyes for a minute, taking a few slow, deep breaths, and visualizing yourself crushing the interview.

2. Arrive early.

Candidates should show up at least 15 minutes before their scheduled appointment. You would want a few minutes to check in with the receptionist, use the restroom if necessary, and to acclimate yourself with the office.

3. Don’t check your social media accounts.

Use the time before your interview to get into the right frame of mind;don’t risk getting upset over stupid jokes or gossips. Nobody needs to see a selfie of you in your business suit. Just put away your phone and get your head in the game.

4. Ensure you are neatly groomed.

Duck into a nearby restroom or clothing store to check yourself out in the mirror. “You may have left the house looking like a million dollars, but you could still arrive looking like a vagabond.” This is also a great time to wash your hands and make sure your fingernails are clean and your palms are dry. If you wore comfortable shoes and plan on changing into dress shoes, be sure not to do this in the office.

B. THINGS YOU SHOULD DO AFTER A JOB INTERVIEW

1. Evaluate.

Right after the interview, evaluate how well you’ve answered the questions posted to you and how you could further improve your answers. These are questions you have to ask yourself and take time to truthfully answer. Evaluating allows you to better prepare yourself for your next interview. After recapping how the interview went, drop the Recruitment Agency an email on how the interview went to keep your consultant in the know.

2. Make a follow-up call to the Recruitment Agency.

It’s never wrong to call and ask about your status. Just don’t be too nosy or pushy.  Sometimes the consultant / specialist appreciate a call and see it as indicator that you’re a very determined / interested applicant. On the other hand, being too persistent might give the impression that you are impatient; this could impact your application in a not-so-great way. Keep the word moderation in mind.

II. Ways to negotiate your salary

SALARY is one of the important factors that affect the decision-making process while choosing a suitable job for you. Sometimes, the quality job that caught your eye may not match the salary which you are expecting. So how would you prepare yourself for negotiation of salary, while maintaining professionalism? Here are some of the tips that might come in handy in the future, before you walk in that door.

1. Always be ready to talk salary, but don’t be the first one to bring it up

If the company asks you to start signing papers, but never brought up the salary, this is the time where you must start the discussion before signing for the new job. Do find out more about the compensation package/total benefits too, as it may have more components in it which surpasses the base pay.

2. Know what you are willing to accept

Before walking in the door, you must know what you are willing to accept. You should give yourself some time to think about the salary that is reasonable for you. Take some time to consider the compensation that you would be happy with receiving. What number would you walk away from because it’s too low for you? Don’t get trapped in a bad place because you’re not sure what you are willing to accept.

3. Understand the Market / Industries

Before reaching the negotiation stage, you must do a market research on the industries. There are a few websites that helps to offer a salary guide for job-seekers for various industries.

4. Talk with the recruiter, not against them – they need to sell you

The recruiter will do their best to help you to get a raise as much as possible, they are not against you. The trick is to be persuasive and not demanding. You can emphasize your value and talk about what you have done successfully in the past and how that is transferable to the new job.

5. If you don’t ask, the answer is always no

It takes some courage to push back and ask for more, but, it is better to ask and be turned down than not to ask at all. However, do give a concrete proof on why you should get a higher salary to back-up your request, for example; you may provide your pay slips, CPF Statements, Confirmation letter, letter of Promotion, etc

III. What You Should & Should Not Ask In An Interview

No matter whether your job interview is one-to-one, with a panel, or a group, there should always be a point towards the end, when you are invited to ask your own questions. Many employers actually frown upon candidates who do not ask their own questions at the end of an interview, so it would be a mistake to see this as something which is optional.

However, think carefully beforehand about the interview questions to ask your employers, because what comes out of your mouth will show and determine what type of employee you are. After all, you want to leave a strong positive impression for your employer right? So here are some questions you should and should not ask at your interview.

You should ask:

IV. How to Write a Resume

When you are looking for a new job, the first thing you need to do is make sure you have a good resume. Your resume is the first thing potential employers will see and the content of it will be used to decide whether or not to invite you to interview; so it is crucial you get it right. Most recruiters are inundated with resumes, so they will only have the time to quickly scan it. Your resume will need to make an impact, for all the right reasons and these are some of the ways to do it.

What Not to Do

There are certain mistakes that many candidates make with their resumes and this can ruin their chances of getting to the next stage of the process. You should not have photographs of yourself on your resume, this is a very outdated approach, yet many candidates still do it. It is also not necessary to mention your date of birth or how many children you have and believe it or not, some candidates will give a short bio of their personal life. There is no harm in adding a section with some of your interests, but your resume should be professional.

Contact Details

It may seem obvious but always make sure you have your contact details on your resume. Your contact details should include your telephone number, email address and a link to your LinkedIn profile or any website you may have. You don't need to put your full address on your CV, but you should have the area you live in, as a minimum.

Key Skills

With the advances in technology, many recruiters are using software to pick out keywords from resumes, so they don't have to read through them. This is why it is important to ensure you have a section with the key skills you have obtained throughout your career. You may also want to mention specific IT systems or software packages you have used. You should tailor your resume to suit each job you are applying for and fit the key skills from the job description into your resume (as long as you have them!) It is a good idea to stay away from the general skills such as working as a team or working on own initiative, but be quite specific with your skills instead. If you can add achievements to your skills, this will be even more impressive to prospective employers. For instance, if one of your skills is managing budgets and saving the organization money, make sure you add specific amounts for how much you have saved.

Experience

Your resume should also contain your work experience, starting from the most recent and working your way back. If there are large gaps in your resume, make sure you can explain these in your cover letter as it could put the employer off. The experience should consist of your job title, the name of the company, dates you worked and the key duties of the role. Some candidates make the mistake of only including their job title and the name of the company, without any other information on what they actually did in the job.

Clear Layout

The layout of your resume should be clear and easy to read. There is no need to have an outlandish design unless it is a creative role you are applying for. The only thing a recruiter will be interested in is whether they can easily read your CV and get a good idea of whether you have the relevant skills for the job. The resume should be no longer than 3 pages; 2 is ideal.

Error Free

It is imperative that there are no errors on your resume, so you may want to ask a friend or family member to proof read it for you. If there are spelling mistakes on your resume, you will probably find that it will end up in the shredder! Spelling mistakes indicate that you haven't taken time over your resume, which suggests you aren't very serious about finding employment. If the job requires you to liaise with clients via email or letter, spelling errors on your resume will be a worrying sign for employers.

V. How to Improve Your CV!

For many jobseekers, your CV is the first point of contact with a potential employer. It is the first opportunity to sell yourself, to get yourself noticed and, above all, to make sure any potential door is not closed to you. First impressions do count, so make this one work for you.

As an environmental recruitment agency, we have worked with hundreds of graduates to kick-start their career in sustainability or the environment. But the tips for improving your CV apply whatever industry or sector you are looking to work in:

1.  It’s a good idea to have your CV prepared well in advance of spotting any job opportunities, and certainly well ahead of any closing date, so that it is not undertaken in a rush. This ensures that the basics will be there to build on, and you can tailor the CV for each specific opportunity without too much additional work.

2.  You’ve probably heard this before, but it’s worth repeating because there are far too many examples of people who ignore the advice – do make sure you check it through (better still, get someone else to check it through) for clarity, spelling and grammar. Mistakes will send your CV into the waste paper basket (metaphorically if it’s electronic).

3.  Given that your CV needs to be tailored for each job opportunity, double check it through to make sure that you are have the right version for that particular company or organisation – there’s nothing worse than focusing on your people management skills, for instance, when the company in question is actually looking for someone to work on their own as a self-starter.

4.  Make your CV easy to read and interesting – employers will have many CVs to look at, so don’t make it difficult for them – instead, make it a pleasure; think about the font (and please don’t be tempted to go for a quirky choice!), size of type and density of text; avoid colours other than black.

5.  Short blocks of text work well, and bullet points are fine provided the list isn’t too long – again, use the ‘pleasure principle’ as your overarching guide.

6.  Tables are also OK for small amounts of text, but don’t overdo it.

7.  Use the selection criteria where possible to align the skills and experience on your CV with the job description – wherever you can, give examples of how you match the criteria (approach it like marking criteria – how high can you score?).

8.  A profile (or personal statement) can work well, but only if you have some relevant points to make. This could be used to demonstrate your enthusiasm and creativity (to compensate for lack of experience perhaps) or to show your passion and commitment – but it is important to avoid clichés and buzzwords.

9.  Don’t include a photo – unless it’s a modelling job you’re after!

10.  Aim for 2 pages of A4 max, and remember you don’t have to detail every qualification and piece of work experience – if you have a degree or higher, the grades you got for GCSE are probably not too important, so just list the number of passes and subjects.

11.  References at this stage aren’t essential and they will take up too much space – just say ‘references are available on request’ – recruiters won’t be needing references at the CV filtering stage.

12.  Remember that life experience can be just as relevant as job experience when it comes to many key skills – project management, budgeting, communication skills, for example, can be demonstrated in different ways – so be creative

13.  Don’t forget to highlight professional qualifications and any relevant Continuing Professional Development (CPD) – what training have you undergone recently that shows that your skills are up to date? This is particularly important if you have been unemployed for a while and the employer is concerned that you could be out of touch in a fast-moving industry.

14.  Don’t be afraid to ask friends and colleagues what they think your strengths are – and if they have any other comments or advice on your CV.

15.  Finally, don’t think of your CV as set in stone. If you progress to the next stage, ask for feedback on your CV – what worked, what jumped out, what was irrelevant to the potential employer – and hone your CV accordingly. And do share your experiences with others – blogs and websites are a great community resource; if you give to others, they will give back to you.

Remember, your CV is about bringing you and your experience to life, so give examples wherever possible, to help the potential employers quickly build a picture of you.

VI. How to set a career setback

At some point or another, most of us have experienced setbacks in our career. These setbacks might instantly make you feel nervous about your interview, but it is important to remember that you have been invited for interview, so the employer obviously liked something about your resume. The main way to deal with career setbacks is to be positive and confident about the path you are taking and to be prepared to explain yourself. These are some types of career setbacks and how to discuss them during an interview.

Career Change

If you have been on a certain career path and this is a completely new job, it may seem like a setback but it can also be viewed in a positive way. It may be that you just wanted a new challenge and this can be a good thing, rather than a negative. As long as you can explain your reasons for a career change, there should not be any reason for the employer to be concerned.

Being Fired

If you have been fired from your job, this can be difficult to explain during an interview. It is important though, that you are completely honest as the employer will respect this. Don't be tempted to lie, as they might find out when they obtain your reference and this will just make you look worse. There may be all kinds of reasons for being fired; sickness, not enjoying the job or working environment. You should always be able to offer an explanation and an honest one at that.

Employment Gaps

There can be all kinds of explanations for employment gaps and the employer will just be looking for you to explain them. The employer may be concerned about large employment gaps, as they will worry about how you will be able to fit into the workplace and the routine of going to work. However, this doesn't mean that you don't have a chance of getting offered the job. It is imperative that you can explain what you did during the time you were not employed. Whether it was looking after your children, doing a training course or volunteering, these are all good ways to explain the employment gap. Employers just want to be sure that you are proactive and that you haven't just spent the time procrastinating.

Be Enthusiastic

When discussing any setbacks in your career, you should aim to be enthusiastic. For example, if you are explaining a career gap, you should talk about how keen you are to get back into the working environment and how the time you spent off has given you fresh motivation. If it's a career change, explain why you have changed course and be as enthusiastic about the employer and role as possible. It is important to remember that the employer just wants to know that you will be a good employee and you can make this clear to them, no matter what setback you have encountered.

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