Applying for an internship or job can be nerve-racking, and I often find myself seeking Google for advice on, say, the frequently asked questions by an interviewer. How can we improve our process of choosing and getting the right internship or job? Here are some helplines to consider!
Book a Career Coach
Approaching the Career Attachment Office (CAO) team can be a good first step. Before the start of this semester, I had scheduled a session to explore my skills and career interests. The career coach identified the gap between what I wanted and what I could do. He also highlighted areas of improvement in my resume, which were customised to the company or industry I was planning to apply to. For example, my resume should include specific words detailing my qualifications. I don’t just “assist” in some procedure, I “expedite” the process.
Review your Resume with VMock
In addition to booking a slot with CAO, you can use NTU’s VMock portal which digitally grades your resume for its strengths and issues. Instructions on how to use VMock are available on the CAO website.
Check out MySkillsFuture & O*NET OnLine
MySkillsFuture provides industry information and training programmes. It’s accessible to Singaporeans, PRs, and foreign students studying in Singapore. There are assessments for your career interests, skills confidence and work values. Based on your three strongest attributes out of the six Holland personality types (RIASEC), the results will recommend a list of industries and jobs.
As expected, my top attributes differed for my career interests and skills confidence tests. Both lists included unexpected recommendations for me, such as translator, chef, and even director in the biopharmaceuticals manufacturing industry. Of course, I may need a relevant degree (or polish up my non-existent culinary skills) if I seriously intend to pursue them. However, it’s an eye-opener and a reminder that I should not limit myself to only one or two industries.
Aside from MySkillsFuture, we can also find out more about a job role on O*NET OnLine. It may be a U.S. website, but its detailed information can give us a good gauge on what to expect of the job and what employers want. For instance, aspiring accountants can understand the technology skills required, as well as the knowledge and abilities needed before entering the field.
Now that you’ve found the right industry, company or job, what’s next?
Hone Your Career Skills with Vault
On the surface, Vault (a subscription by NTU Library) looks just like any other career advisory service. And while NTU students have access to their industry insights and career guides, we may not find their American-centric intelligence useful (unless you have an overseas internship in your sights!). However, their advice on resumes, interviews, and networking can be helpful when we already have specific internships or jobs in mind.
Let’s have a look at some tips from their blog (check out the links provided):
- Don’t fumble when introducing yourself and your passions during networking sessions. If one of the attendees is impressed and gets back to you with an opportunity, create a resume that beats the company’s automated tracking system and research on the company prior to the interview.
- Make small talk before the interview and include key phrases that present you as a confident and credible individual, even when they ask awkward questions or technical questions. Students currently on exchange also won’t find themselves at a disadvantage with Skype interviews.
- Applying all these tips may land you multiple offers, and that’s when knowing how to politely turn down an offer while leaving a good impression is a must-have skill.
- Even if this is not a job hunting season for you, the tips from Vault can also be applied in other settings. Don’t be a toxic group mate, and always extend basic courtesy and be accountable!
Even if we are already into an internship or job, such articles can guide us on how to better present ourselves, hold a conversation, or establish good working habits.
After all, we’re now in the age of lifelong learning. We should continuously learn throughout our working life–about ourselves, the types of jobs available, and the types of skills valued by employers.
But you gotta put in work, work, work, … 🙂
That said, I believe it is good to try out internships while exploring our preferences and skills.
We may not be able to work from home, but we can treasure every internship and every opportunity to work, to learn, and to hone our personal brand and strengths. All the best!