Fresh Graduate Looking for Job? Advice for First-Time Job Seekers

Here at Citadel Search, we see hundreds of applicants to our more popular job listings. The current job market makes the competition for jobs even more fierce and challenging. As a recent graduate job search candidate or an early-career job seeker, how do you stand out in the crowded job market and catch the discerning eye of recruiters, employers or hiring managers?

Whether you are actively job searching or seeking career guidance, it is crucial to focus on job search differentiation and leverage job search tips. 

Additionally, mastering interview standout tips will significantly enhance your chances of success. Understanding the dynamics of a fresh graduate looking for a job and jobs open to consider fresh graduates can help tailor your approach. 

Remember, job seeker help is available, and following the best advice can turn the tide in your favour. Always aim to showcase your unique strengths and experiences, ensuring you leave a lasting impression in every interaction.

Job Seekers Advice #1 – Plan your Career Early

If you are a fresh graduate looking for a job or an early job seeker, we will suggest you plan your career early. Citadel Search has coached many early-career seekers to obtain meaningful job internships that will add value to your career.  

We had seen an unprecedented time when internships were rescinded during the pandemic.  Hence for those of who had managed to clinch job internships during then. We saw a new appreciation of those who treasured their internships and not take them for granted.  Companies are opening up their internship programs again after internal restructuring exercises being rationalised. 

Hence, for those who are graduating in 12 – 24 months time, it would be important to plan your career already. 

Ensure you have had snagged at least 2 internships in your time during your tertiary education. Perform well  in these internships.  You will never know how your bosses may speak well of you to your future employers if you have demonstrated great work outcomes. This would serve as a way for you to stand out in your job search.  

Remember to keep focus that your internship experience will help you eventually when you enter the workforce. Stand out by doing an effective job and not goof off during your internships as they will make you stand out. These internship will give you the necessary leverage of experience in using corporate work tools. They will also provide you with the corporate speak to help you land a job for the first time. 


Job Seekers Advice #2 – Be a T-Shape Employee in your Early Years and Progress to become Key-Shaped Later

For those who are already in their first job and are thinking of securing your next job, here is a job search tip, remember employers generally do not like job-hoppers.  3 – 4 years tenure is a minimum for you to learn and contribute effectively.  In the first year, you are generally just learning and not contributing directly to the bottom line. Hence if it is your first time finding a job, the best way is to look for a job which you see yourself committing a significant portion of time to learning. Loving what you learn or do is an easy way for job seekers to stand out and is the best way to look for a job as it will be a chore. 

Stand out by using your early years to gain as much experience as you can.  Use your energy and volunteer in as many projects as you can as a form of job search differentiation.  Go for breadth and be a T-shape employee as you are still developing and finding your strengths.  

Some people are very positive in the beginning but later run out of steam as routine sets in and the learning curve steepens, then performance drops. Be different, be that positive ball of energy in the team. Inspire others and be collaborative. See what is important to your boss and ask him or her if you can be of help. Bosses have a keen eye for positive contributors on the team.


Job Seekers Advice #3 – Find Your Strengths and Get Feedback

Be conscious of your strengths and get feedback.  Most early career job-seekers are so caught up in the grind of work that they miss the forest for the trees. It is essential to ask for feedback from your bosses because often. They are able to acutely identify your strengths as well as your skills gaps. More than an opportunity for personal development, it also provides insight on how you can forge a career progression path in the organisation which serves as a helpful career guidance.  Be prepared to hear both the good news and also the bad news.  

However, most early job seekers are afraid to hear the bad news as they are not accustomed to receiving “negative” feedback. Having courage to hear both is vital in shaping your career as you progress.   Additionally, it is helpful to work on both your strengths and weaknesses early in your career which could help you stand out from job interviews as you will be able to express a holistic understanding of yourself to employers.  To the perennial question “What would your boss describe as your strengths or weaknesses?”  You will not stumble on this anymore as you had been open to listen and work on them.   


Job Seekers Advice #4 – Get a Mentor/ Career Coach 

There may be senior colleagues who may be open to coach and mentor. If you have not been able to secure an internship, fret not. For fresh graduates looking for jobs, Schools in Singapore, including universities, often have their own career guidance counsellors. Seek them out , get their consent to help you navigate your career within the organisation and seek their advice  for job search tips. They may also have internal and external networks they can tap on for recent graduates job search. 

We have seen candidates who had very illustrious careers owing to having a mentor or a career coach early on, serving as a form of career guidance.  As a job seeker, having a mentor or career coach can significantly enhance your career development. 


Job Seekers Advice #5 – Master Interview Techniques

If you have the opportunity to get chosen for interview, congratulations to you.  This is good news.  The more important thing next is to ace the interview.

Revisit the job description, understand the job size and what the job scope focuses on.  If it is a job that is targeted at fresh graduates only then they tend to be more forgiving.  However, if it is a job that is open to consider fresh graduates then there is an inherent understanding and expectation that you are competing with people who have more skills and competencies than you.   Hence, all the more, you have to master the interview and be very well prepared for interview. You will need to prepare for the interview, perform at the interview and know what to do after the interview.  

These 5 tips, if you master them well, will certainly help you a long way in as your guide in your journey to finding a job for the first time. In fact, these classic golden tips will never go out of fashion, to  help you careen your career journey for a lifetime! 


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