Looking for a job amidst an ongoing pandemic isn’t ideal. To help people tide over this difficult period, the government has implemented various programmes. As a result, over 33,000 local job seekers have managed to find jobs and traineeships since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The SGUnited Traineeships Programme, in particular, has been helping graduates find their way through a recovering job market.
Even though there is potential for traineeships to be converted into full-time roles, many still have to turn to job portals and career fairs when looking for a new job after completing their traineeship.
Looking for a full-time work can leave you discouraged, especially when you have to apply endlessly, go through countless interviews, and constantly worry about when you’re going to get offered a job.
Here are some factors that you need to consider when applying for a full-time job.
1. Career Trajectory
When you think about career options, try to think long-term. The first job you land may or may not be your last one, but it’s always good to think about the potential of the company to offer career progression.
As a fresh graduate, your first full-time job would most likely be an entry-level position. But you wouldn’t want to be stuck in the same role for years on end.
Thinking about how you can achieve career growth is essential because you want to show your next employer how much you’ve progressed at your previous job if you were to look for a new role.
How do you go about this if you’re unsure about the career progression you’re aiming for?
First of all, think about your goals:
• What kind of skills do you want to develop?
• What type of projects do you want to be involved in?
• Where do you see yourself in three or five years?
Write down the answers to these questions so that your career vision is clearer to you. Understanding your goals will help you establish your desired career progression.
Secondly, do your research on the company you’re applying for. What does the role entail?
Some roles don’t have specific or clear job progression, depending on the industry. People often think about progress only in terms of a hierarchy of roles. But career trajectory is subjective and can be perceived differently—it’s not just in terms of climbing the corporate ladder, but whether you’re able to learn new skills and gain expertise.
Think about whether these things match with your career vision. Be prepared to ask about the opportunities for career growth during your interviews.
If you’re doing a traineeship, you’ll know your host company's inner workings better than others. Find out more about career trajectories in your current company, or ask your supervisors about it so you know what to expect when your traineeship is converted to a full-time position.
2. Job Fulfilment
One of the most important things to consider when finding a full-time job is career fulfilment.
Look through the job description of the role you’re applying for. Does it align with your interests and goals? Are your current skills applicable, or will you be able to hone those skills?
Job fulfilment is more than about economic compensation—it’s about gaining personal satisfaction when working. Does knowing that your role will help others or improve processes for clients fill you with a sense of purpose? Thinking about your job in terms of your purpose and passion will motivate you to thrive in the long run.
After all, you’re going to spend a lot of time working, and you'll definitely end up unhappy if you hate your job. Among many other reasons, career fulfilment enhances your sense of purpose and gives you greater responsibility and pride for what you do.
Take your current traineeship as a gauge for a full-time job. Are you enjoying what you’re doing as a trainee?
Write down the things you’ve learnt so far. Suppose your traineeship gives you a sense of satisfaction. In that case, you can consider pursuing similar roles in other companies or do your best to increase the likelihood of a conversion into a full-time role.
3. Company Culture
Since most of us are currently working from home, we lack opportunities to interact with our colleagues regularly—which means we may not experience the company's culture.
Company's culture is an important aspect of your job. You would want to work with a team that helps you grow and be in a company whose values match your own. Developing better relationships with your colleagues can increase productivity and also cultivate better attitudes towards your job.
Find out more about the companies you’re applying for by checking their website, LinkedIn, Glassdoor, or other relevant sites.
Research on their organisational structure and their company's culture through online job portals too. You can even search for reviews written by existing or past employees of the company you’re interested in.
Tap on your circle of friends—ask around and get information about the company's culture so that you have a hint of what to expect. Consider the type of environment you would enjoy working in before applying for the job.
Similarly, if you’re going through interviews for a full-time job, you can also ask questions about the company's culture or the distribution of teamwork and independent work.
To quote Louis Gerstner, former CEO of IBM, “Culture isn't just one aspect of the game—it is the game. In the end, an organisation is nothing more than the collective capacity of its people to create value.”
4. Work-life balance
Even though your job is important, it’s also vital to have a work-life balance. In other words, you should have a life outside of work too.
The perspective of work-life balance differs from person to person. While it’s hard to determine the exact working hours of the job you’re going to apply for, it won’t hurt to ask about them and whether you may have to work overtime often. After all, Singapore is the second most overworked city in a study of over 40 cities by the tech company Kisi. If the job requires you to work overtime, enquire if you will be paid for those extra hours.
Having a good work-life balance can improve your productivity and emotional wellbeing—something that we all need, especially in the midst of a pandemic.
5. Salary and employee benefits
Will the compensation you receive complement the skills you have?
If you think the offered salary is too low compared to your expected salary, there are ways to negotiate it appropriately without coming off as rude.
Putting food on the table is one thing, but your salary also affects your job satisfaction and fulfilment. Remember to do your research on the general range of salary for your industry before applying for a job.
You can also find out what type of employee benefits the company offers. Employee benefits include annual or sick leave, medical benefits, or extra allowances.
Don’t be afraid to ask more about these things. Ultimately, these are the perks and benefits that you deserve when working. Never short-change yourself!
6. Job stability
As a result of the pandemic, over 3,800 companies shut down in Singapore in April 2020. And even as the economy is starting to pick up, many are still under pressure and in danger of ceasing operations. Make sure you understand the local job market and economic climate when applying for full-time jobs.
Find out whether the company you’re applying for has been experiencing layoffs or significant budget constraints. You wouldn’t want to be offered a job and then find out you're going to lose it in the next few months.
This also applies to those who are currently doing a traineeship. Ask about the financial state of your host company and how they are doing during this recession—but of course, in a considerate manner.
Stay in touch with fresh graduates and trainees
Navigating through this period of uncertainty is scary and intimidating, especially when you’re a fresh graduate who’s about to enter the workforce. Everyone has their doubts when it comes to looking for a job, and the journey of landing a suitable role or even traineeship has its ups and downs.
It’s always good to know you can connect and talk to someone in a similar situation. If you need career advise or support for traineeship, why not join the Young NTUC SGUnited Traineeship network?
Get access to various career programmes and resources including job opportunities and many more. Join Young NTUC's other social accounts; Instagram, Telegram and LinkedIn to ensure you get the latest updates to guide you in your career journey. Connect with fellow fresh graduates and trainees by following the Young NTUC LIT XChange Facebook too!