Given the current sluggish economic conditions and the shorter cycles between economic growth and downturn, new opportunities for employment are limited, as companies focus less on expansion and more on cost management.
The upsurge in unemployment has affected university graduates the most, as the jobless rate climbed to a worrying 4.3 per cent in June this year, which is the highest for the same period since 2009 ("SIT grads in demand despite rising jobless rate"; Oct 8).
With fewer white-collar jobs opening up, career opportunities for fresh graduates are restricted.
While it has been suggested that the Government do more to help new graduates, there is much would-be employees can do to gain a foot in the door of prospective employers ("Do more to help fresh grads find jobs" by Mr Lionel Loi Zhi Rui; Oct 17, and "Take ownership of developing expertise in career" by Ms Wong Oi Lin; Oct 28).
Customising one's resume based on the position applied for is a start.
Listing strengths, achievements and even experience from internships and volunteer work in a concise manner will help to catch the attention of prospective hirers.
In this day and age, digital resumes displayed on personal websites or LinkedIn won't hurt either.
The decrease in the number of job openings is especially noticeable in the legal, financial services, retail, shipping and manufacturing industries.
Graduating students who are struggling to even land job interviews must be more willing to explore other employment options out of their comfort zone.
Entry-level positions in public relations, media and advertising are still opening up, owing to the vibrant digital marketing and e-commerce sectors.
Other thriving fields include finance, precision engineering, rail infrastructure, childhood education, computer engineering and software development.
Fresh graduates willing to put in the effort to learn may assimilate into some of these roles in a relatively short time, and perhaps, more importantly to employers, cost far less to hire.
Edmund Khoo Kim Hock