low angle photo of curtain wall building
Photo Credit: Floriane
Hey friends!

I hope you are all doing well! Today's post hopefully will help some of you who may be in the same position as I was in. Even before my graduation, I was looking for jobs in UK and due to issues like Visa, I was unable to secure a position despite countless of interviews. Not going to lie, I was defeated and frustrated because of the pressure and expectations the people around me and myself put on me. I was 100% convinced that I wasn't good enough for anyone to hire me despite giving my all for a Master's Degree in a subject area that I love. It was only until the week of my departure from UK to SG, I received two offers but by then, I was due to come home and my tourist visa was up anyway.

Fast forward to last month, I moved back to Singapore and within less than 20 days, I've got a couple of job offers following about half a dozen of interviews. This kind of gave me a little confidence that perhaps it was just unfavourable circumstances that delayed me securing a job overseas. As such, I wanted to put together a blog post on what I've done and the items I've prepared to help me secure a job/receive job offers and hopefully you can find some use out of these! Whether you are a fresh grad or an old timer in the industry, maybe this can help you out to secure your next job! So without further ado, here are five tips/things you can prepare or do to help you out!

1. Resume

person writing on brown wooden table near white ceramic mug
Photo Credit: Green Chameleon

I understand and know that this is a given because every website in the entire world asks you for a resume/CV when you apply for a job. BUT, how do you make yours stand out from the hundreds and probably thousands of other resumes?

I personally am quite a visual person and I love designing and personalising things to make something easy on the eyes. So the first thing I did was to redesign my resume to something that is in bite sized information so that the employer doesn't need to go out of their way to find out about me. I then try and incorporate some of my personality and style into the layout and design - so it highly depends on what type of person you are. I love structure and I love shapes, but I also love a pop of colour amongst a simple base. With that, I put together my CV using rectangle boxes and lines to separate the different sections and use different fonts and colours to add a little colour.

And remember that your CV is going to be ever-changing so don't be afraid to make a couple of versions. I was told to not include my picture in the cv just because it might create a bias impression for you - I don't know how true this is but I don't really want to be judge on how I look before someone meets me and probably not everyone does it but you know, better be safe than sorry!

Okay, so now that you've gotten some ideas on how you can put together your CV, here's one last bite of information for you - check out Canva. And no, this is not sponsored! I've just been using it for the last few years and I love how user-friendly it is and how much it gives you the freedom to be creative in. All you need is an email account and you are free to create everything from your CV to things like menus, posters and so much more!

2. Portfolio 

person holding painting beside apples
Photo Credit: Brook
Some people may think that portfolios are limited to the people who are in the creative industry such as photography and all that stuff but it is basically a file or a website that has a history of things that you are proud of - relating to your work industry. So I am in the marketing/communications industry and some of the things that I add in my portfolio includes freelance work I've written for companies, previous university work that are relating to a company and some of the blog posts that I know have helped some of you.

It doesn't have to be limited to just documents, it can be pictures or even video content that you've created because well, you did it! As long as you know that it proves your level of capability in the industry, just add it in. I have an online site (which is due an update) as well as a hardcopy where I group them according to the areas of work so that it is not only easy for the interviewer to flip through and for me to locate them if I happen to talk about them in an interview!

3. Research

woman holding book on bookshelves
Photo Credit: Becca

This includes all things from the industry you're in to the company and interviewer that you are interested in. For instance, if you are someone who will be in the entertainment industry or even an aspiring editor for a company, you'd likely have to research on the latest news surrounding that industry to show that you are not only kept updated but also that you are proactively involving yourself in the industry.

For research about the companies and interviewers you might be meeting with, it's good to know what they are up to and how you can adjust your expectations to fit theirs. When you know who your interviewer is, you can find out the past projects they have previously worked on before and you find yourself interested in, you can use that as an anchor point to talk about in the interview to make yourself memorable.

This step is also great for you to analyze the company and the areas where you would like to improve or what you can help with when you actually join the team. And this leads to the next point >>

4. Presentation

turned on LED projector on table
Photo Credit: Alex

I always create a short presentation/collection of my ideas for the company or when I take on the job just to kind of let the interviewer know that 'hey I know what I'm doing and here is what I am going to do for you.' You can either bring it to your interview or send it before/after, just make sure they are aware that you are capable of doing and putting together something like this.

It is also great because this serves as a head start for you when you actually start the work and instead of having to take every single order/suggestion, you just get the ball rolling. You can look at using sites or softwares such a Google Drive, Prezi or Keynote to put together your handful of slides and you are good to go!

5. Believe In Yourself

toddler looking at believe in yourself graffiti
Photo Credit: Katrina

I really didn't want to end this post on a cheesy note but I guess one of the things I've slowly learned is to know where I am good at and my value. More often than not, you can feel dejected when you don't get a job or be belittled by an interviewer (yes it happens). And sometimes you just want to settle for the first job that comes around. But after talking it with my friends and family, finding out the market rates, looking at my achievements and qualifications, I set a personal standard for every interview I go to. Some of the things I consider are: main expectations for the job, job scope, type of team members I will be working with, budget I will be given to work with and of course, the wage. This helps give me an idea of if I will be suitable and happy should the job be offered to me, and of course to know what I will be working with because the website/job description can only tell you so much about the job.

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I hope this post has helped you in one way or another and maybe you only need 2 to 3 points that I've written about but nevertheless, I really want this to help you as it did for me! And with that, I will see you in the next post!