Job Databases

The Newspaper
The traditional method of job searching is to search the Recruit section of the Classified Ads daily or the thick Recruit standalone section every Saturday. The Saturday issue includes articles on self-development for working people.

Online Job Databases
But, now, more and more people are using online job databases such as:

1. Careers@Gov
This is the place to go if you want a job in the Civil Service! This revamped website is really one of the most convenient for certain ministries, as you only need fill in one generic resume and an application for a job is just a click away! Some ministries or statutory boards would direct you to their own career websites and request you to send them your own copy of resume or cover letter though.

My friend taught me that the most convenient way to use this website is to firstly go through the database for jobs that interest you, thereafter, regularly check out the new postings.

2. ST701 Jobs
This is personally my favourite place to visit. I like the categories. I would just zoom down to the few categories which I’m interested in and regularly visit to check on new jobs. The limitation for this site is that sometimes you are required to fill in important criteria which the employer wants in an applicant, so if you do not have that criteria, you could possibly be immediately disqualified, without even being considered. In such a situation, it might be better to apply directly to the company.

You can also keep track of how many competitors you have here! And this gives you a gauge of your chances. Don’t be frightened though. 🙂 You deserve a good job as much as everyone else does! 😉

3. Jobs Central

4. JobStreet

5. JobsDB

Other Means

Word of Mouth
Not every company wants to find employees this way – receiving a huge pile of applicants and having to sieve through to get who you want (the advantage of convenience of online applications is also the disadvantage as people find it so easy, they mass apply for jobs, sometimes with less thought). Some might find it too much a hassle and prefer to find applicants through word of mouth (sounds very unprofessional but this happens). So it might be helpful for you to let your friends or your parents friends or whoever know you are searching for a job. They can help you keep a lookout!

(On hindsight, this seems to be the best and easiest way to get a job – be recommended into it. 6 August 2013)

Snail Mail
Also, sometimes companies do not accept online applications and want you to snail mail your application, coupled with relevant materials. This used to be the way before the internet age. Don’t be lazy to avoid these jobs if you like them! I think because less people are inclined to do this, the pool of applicants will be smaller, and you naturally stand a higher chance!


Tips on writing Resumes

What I really hope to do here is to give you, who for some reason, like me, did not attend a course on Professional Communication or have never written a resume before, some ideas how and where to begin. I hope these sample resumes taken from my collection amassed over 7 months and the comments I’ve included on them would in some way help you. If it does, I have fulfilled my objective.

Conservation Officer @ Singapore Zoo

Journalist @ SPH

Health Policy Analyst @ Ministry of Health Page 1

Health Policy Analyst @ Ministry of Health Page 2

This is the first step most people have to take to obtain their jobs. If you managed to master the art of resume writing, it will take you a long way. For it’s also about your language ability (can you write concisely and to the point?), your ability to know what people want and provide it and how well can you present your life achievements and accomplishments in such one or two pages. It is surely an art. 🙂

Three Phases of Transition

From Managing Transitions by William Bridges (2009).

  1. Letting go of the old ways and the old identity people had. This first phase of transition is an ending, and the time when you need to help people to deal with their losses.
  2. Going through an in-between time when the old is gone but the new isn’t fully operational. We call this time the “neutral zone”: it’s when the critical psychological realignments and repatternings take place.
  3. Coming out of the transition and making a new beginning. This is when people develop the new identity, experience the new energy, and discover the new sense of purpose that make the change begin to work.

Because transition is a process by which people unplug from an old world and plug into a new world, we can say that transition starts with an ending and finishes with a beginning.

I would like to draw your attention to the neutral zone. It is especially relevant for fresh graduates like us who are at that in-between stage. Just out of school life, not fully in the working life, just somewhere in between.

Bridges says it’s important to understand and expect this stage so that:

  1. You won’t rush through or bypass the neutral zone and be discouraged when you fail to do so. You may mistakenly conclude that the confusion felt is a sign that something is wrong with you.
  2. You may be frightened in this no-man’s-land and try to escape (quitting the job). To abandon the situation, however, is to abort the transition, both personally and organizationally – and to jeopardize the change.
  3. You lose an opportunity to be creative, develop into what you need to become and renew yourself. “I had an immense advantage over many others dealing with the problem. I had no fixed ideas derived from long-established practice to bias my mind, and did not suffer from the general belief that whatever is right.” – Henry Bessemer, the British inventor who perfected the process of making steel by decarbonizing iron with heated air.

The neutral zone is thus both a dangerous and an opportune place, and it is the very core of the transition process.

I think I’m really currently experiencing this creativity that comes with being new in the job. My eyes are open to opportunities, I want to make a difference to the situations faced, I question why things aren’t done in a better way. It’s just cool. I hope to capitalize and prolong this period as much as I can! 🙂

It’s getting easier for Uni grads to find jobs?

I’m not sure how long this article summary will be online but I just wanted to share it here!

It intrigues me that I was interviewed for a job that had I been successful, I would have been one of them doing up these short summaries for Straits Times dot com!

But I really want to draw your attention to this short review by  the editor of the Review & Forum section on December 18 2009.

It’s immediately relevant to me because it mentions that degree holders account for a large proportion of the unemployed and absolute numbers of them are higher in 2009 than in 2008, which was unusual as the most intense period of job cuts was in 2008.

The editor goes on to try to explain the situation.

“Conventional explanations like graduates being demanding about pay and conditions of work, taking a time-out to “recharge” (whatever this means), or job hopping to land the ideal occupation do not do justice to the majority of young people who are serious about career development.”

This just sounds like my generation. Being choosy and picky about jobs, wanting to rest after studies have burnt us out, and trying to change jobs to find a better fit are exactly what I’ve been observing around me.

The editor goes on to try to explain for the “young people who are serious about career development”.

He thinks that two reasons why these people can’t find jobs are:

  1. Job fit. The situation in which University churns out people irrelevant to society.
  2. Competition with foreign workers who accept lower pay.

Recently, I met a man who told me he was retrenched when his company decided to get a new batch of foreign workers to replace them. He told me that a man like him cannot compete with foreign singles as he has a family to support. He also gave a similar scenario of how his wife lost her job when the company decided to relocate to another country where all things are cheaper. It’s the first time I’ve come so upclose and personal to someone who was really affected by Reason 2.

About Reason 1, this is what the editor has to say:

“Are the universities acutely sensitive to dynamic marketplace change in the kinds of graduate they put out? The fact that polytechnic graduates land jobs faster is an endorsement of their ready-to-market training.”