Have You Spoken to Careers Services Yet?

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The gradsingapore Team
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When it comes to planning your career, there are few people better-placed to dish out help than the experts you’ll find at your careers service.

The perfect career won’t be handed to you on a silver platter. Let’s face it: you will have to put some effort into finding a job.

The good news is that there are people on hand to help you do just that: careers advisers.

You’ll find them at your university careers service, which has resources and services aimed at the career clueless and clued-up alike.

What's on the menu?

Adviser meetings

This is perhaps the best thing about the careers service: the opportunity to talk to an adviser, one to one, on a regular basis. Advisers are paid for their careers expertise, and they will willingly share it with you.

They can help at any stage – whether you are having first thoughts about possible careers, are ready to apply or need advice on interview techniques.

Career planning tools

When there are so many options, how do you choose a career? The careers service provides a host of different ways to work out what kind of career would suit you.

There are publications and online tools that assess your skills, abilities and interests, and then show how these relate to different careers.

Careers information

Check out the careers service’s information or resource room for insights into different sectors in which you could work.

You’ll find gradsingapore magazines, other publications, and university-specific leaflets created by careers advisers.

Website and e-mails

Most careers services have a website dedicated to helping students succeed in their careers. If you don’t feel like taking a trip to the careers service, you can still find all sorts of useful advice on the web. You can also sign up for e-mail bulletins.

Job boards

The careers service will often provide a job listing service, which may help you find a holiday job or part-time work during term.

This can be a valuable way to secure that all-important work experience – whether it’s an official internship or a temporary job that lets you develop some employable skills. More and more universities also now advertise graduate positions.

Employer events

Presentations, talks, skills workshops and networking events are just some of the events that careers services offer. Take the opportunity to talk to people about their jobs, and find out from recruiters exactly what they are looking for.

Careers fairs

A range of employers will send representatives to your university in an attempt to grab graduates. Graduate recruiters will be on hand to answer questions – find out how to win recruiters over.

Alumni networks

Many former students are willing to provide information on what the working world is really like. Get in touch to gain insight into different organisations and jobs. Some universities' alumni networks even offer mentoring programmes, so make good use of those!

Résumé clinics and application advice

Work with careers advisers to create a résumé – they’ll help you identify your strong points and sell your skills to potential employers. They can also provide advice on tailoring your résumés and applications for specific jobs.

Workshops and practice sessions

The prospect of attending interviews and assessment centres fill many students with dread. Fortunately the careers service is on hand to calm your nerves and prepare you for success.

They offer mock interviews, presentation skills workshops, guidance on assessment days and further support.

Self-service: Help them help you!

No matter how hard they try, careers advisers will not be able to help you in your job search if you don’t put in some effort of your own. If you’re going to a résumé clinic, for example, make sure you’ve prepared a résumé to take along.

Before going to a careers fair, do some preparation so you can meet recruiters from appropriate organisations. A careers adviser can’t tell you what job you should be doing: you need to think about it for yourself.

To be an attractive candidate, you’ll need to develop your skills. Make the most of the opportunities that come your way – and remember that they can come from your study and free time as well as from work.

Handing in applications on time requires time management skills, while giving effective presentations demonstrates good communication.

You will build skills in teamwork and leadership by playing sports. Joining a society’s committee pays even greater dividends, as you’ll develop additional skills (such as budgeting if you’re a treasurer, or organisational skills from being involved in event planning).

Your careers advisers will let you know about additional ways you can develop your skills – and they can tell you where you need to focus if you’re interested in a particular field.

In short, visiting the careers service is a vital step in your career plan. The advisers are there to help, so make the most of the service that’s on offer.

What to expect from your careers service

If you're still not sure what to expect from a trip to careers services, here are some things you can try bouncing off your careers advisor!

  • Whittling down job information to find the best bits
  • Career directions that may not seem directly related to your degree
  • Your options for gaining work experience and marketable skills
  • Breaking down the job-hunting process into manageable steps
  • Getting a health check for your résumé and applications
  • Identifying disability-friendly employers
  • Whether further study is the right course for you
  • Understanding the Singaporean job market if you are an international student