Keep an open mind, human resource experts advise new graduates

Experts say graduates must prepare themselves for a different type of post-pandemic workforce.
Experts say graduates must prepare themselves for a different type of post-pandemic workforce.ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

SINGAPORE - Graduating job hunters are finding work where they can, and human resource experts say that young people graduating will have to manage their expectations amid a bleak economic outlook.

GAIN WORK EXPERIENCE

Ms Jaya Dass, managing director for Singapore and Malaysia at recruitment agency Randstad, says graduates need to keep an open mind.

"There is no better time than now for them to try something different or new, and build up their adaptability and agility by venturing out of their comfort zone."

Similarly, Ms Linda Teo, country manager at ManpowerGroup Singapore, advises graduates to "get one foot in the door first and work their way up", even if the role is not one they applied for.

"Taking on a job with learning opportunities will help fresh graduates increase their value and fast-track their career, even if the starting pay is lower than desired," she says.

"The longer they stay unemployed, the harder it will be for them to land jobs in the future, especially once graduating students from the class of 2021 enter the job market," she adds.

BE ADAPTABLE

Experts say graduates must prepare themselves for a different type of post-pandemic workforce.

For instance, they must be adaptable to new work norms such as telecommuting and staggered shift work, says Mr Philippe Martinez, regional managing director for Asia at recruitment agency The Adecco Group.

Mr Foo See Yang, managing director and Singapore country head of human resources firm Kelly Services, adds that remote working and contract work are here to stay.

 
 
 
 

"It is important for graduates to be comfortable with remote hiring and online networking, as well as be open to the idea of taking up contingent work that can provide transferable skills for future jobs," he says. Graduates can also take professional courses that could help build up their curriculum vitae for future jobs they hope to enter, he adds.

BE MORE PROACTIVE

Ms Teo says that graduates have to take the initiative to connect with recruiters and potential employers via e-mail and social media platforms like LinkedIn.

"We have seen candidates who expect recruiters to connect with them. This might have worked in good times, especially if they have the in-demand skills and experience, but now, job seekers have to take the initiative," she says.

In addition, fresh graduates must make extra effort to customise their CVs according to the roles and companies they are applying to, instead of sending out a standard version.

"With the tight job market, employers can be more selective, as they have more applicants than roles - job seekers have to do their best to differentiate themselves," says Ms Teo.