So you’ve just been accepted into the traineeship of your dreams—congratulations! A brand new journey awaits.
Now that you’re done attending career fairs and scouring job portals, you’re probably wondering how you can possibly make the most of this unique opportunity. What is the best way to make new connections, optimise capacity building, and maybe even land a job with the company once your traineeship is over?
The answer is simple: be intentional.
Some trainees are under the impression that once they land a programme, all they have to do is to show up to work every day and that’s it. But to truly reap the benefits of a graduate trainee programme in Singapore, you need to navigate your traineeship with intention. - This means setting your goals right from the get-go and striving towards achieving it.
Here are a few steps you can follow to being intentional during your traineeship:
1. Set goals and expectations for yourself
The first step is always to figure out what you want to strive towards.
A traineeship programme can offer you a wealth of opportunities, including the chance to build your network or hone new skills. Also, “success” is subjective—highly dependent on your own personal goals and projected career trajectory. Therefore, having a “successful” traineeship should be measured based on how you’ve progressed towards your personal objectives.
Take a moment to list down some of your short-term and long-term goals in a traineeship journal, and describe how you plan to reach them. Landing a long-term job is one obvious goal, but you may also have other important plans during your traineeship.
For example, if one of your goals is to find a mentor, then the appropriate steps to achieving this goal would be:
(1) To speak to your supervisor and express interest in finding a mentor,
(2) Research prominent members of the company you would like to learn from,
(3) Explore other opportunities through networking events, friends/ relatives and more
It’s also important to keep in mind that this traineeship is not just for you, but for the company as well. There are duties and responsibilities expected of you from the teams you’ll be assisting.
At the beginning of your traineeship, be sure to clarify the expectations of your role with your supervisor. Understand when you need to clock-in to work, what your daily responsibilities are, and what results they expect you to deliver at the end of the day. By understanding your supervisor’s expectations, you’ll be able to perform better at the job over time.Perhaps if you impress your supervisor enough, you might even stand a chance at snagging a full-time position.
Meet with your supervisor regularly to see how well you’ve been doing or where you could potentially improve.
2. Do your research beforehand and don’t be afraid to ask questions
Take care to do your own research on the company before your first day. Learn all about the company you’re working for and its industry by sweeping through newspaper articles, online features, and other publications. LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and perhaps even your school’s job portal are fantastic resources for getting a glimpse of the inner workings of a company. Even better if you can ask friends or family members who have interned or worked in similar industries before.
This will give you an idea of what the company is known for and what skills and assets you could learn during your programme.
If you get to talk to your supervisor beforehand, don’t hesitate to ask questions about the standard operating procedures (SOPs), like whether you’re required to wear trainee IDs or if there’s a dress code to follow. And don’t forget to ask about the little details that go on outside of work too, like where people eat for lunch and if it’s customary to eat lunch together.
Company culture is a huge part of the traineeship experience, and getting familiar with these customs can prevent awkwardness on your first day.
Remember, asking questions is a good thing! You’re not burdening anyone with your stream of queries—traineeships are all about learning. Plus, doing sufficient research beforehand can ease any nervousness or anxiety you might have about plunging into this new world.
3. Be ready to do what’s expected of you and more
In your traineeship, you’ll be treated like a junior member of the team. That means you will probably be asked to do things that you’ve never done before, or take part in big projects that require more advanced skills.
But hey, that’s what a traineeship is for! You’re there so you can get a firsthand experience of what it’s like working for that company. That’s how you develop your skills and aptitude at the workplace. So be open to these experiences because the only time they’ll stop being scary is when you’ve already done them.
If you ever find yourself in a tight spot, you can always ask for help. Approach your advisor; he or she can guide you in the right direction so you can solve the problem. You can even approach a co-trainee and work on the project together.
Even if you make a mistake, the experience will still be valuable. Every career has its own set of challenges, and you’ll likely encounter some form of “failure” one way or another. What’s important is that you’re learning on the job.
4. Develop professional relationships
Professional relationships and connections are one of the biggest perks of traineeships. During your time in the programme, you get to rub elbows with some of the top guns in the industry. You can impress them with your eagerness to learn and your deep interest in their line of work, and let’s not forget your stellar performance as a trainee!
All you have to do is smile, greet everyone in the morning, and be polite and helpful at all times. Being personable is a big part of forging relationships with co-workers. It makes it easier for people to approach you and want to get to know you better, giving you the chance to dazzle them with your sparkling personality.
Confidence is also an important trait, even if you have to fake it. You can exude confidence in the way you dress, speak, or even shake hands. Remember to maintain eye contact and smile while greeting others.
Being friendly and confident makes for a great first impression, but it can also help build trust among colleagues. For example, if someone assigns you a project, you need to show them that they can trust in you to do it well and finish it with flying colours. If your colleagues have confidence in you, more likely they’ll give you bigger responsibilities.
Do be careful not to overstep your boundaries. Being overly friendly and confident can make you come off as conceited or arrogant, and it can definitely put some people off. Remember to keep it professional.
5. Act as if you’ve already got the job
Ask yourself, what would a professional do?
Show up to work on time
Take initiative with projects
Be accountable for your work
Listen to feedback and criticism
Voice your opinions
While you’re there as a trainee, your performance during this programme will show them what it’s like to work with you. And that can make or break their impression of you as well as their chances of hiring you full-time. So be professional—that means no complaining, abusing leaves, or being late.
The SGUnited Traineeships programme in Singapore provides priceless opportunities to learn new skills, develop professional networks, and maybe even get hired as a full-time employee once the programme ends. Anything is possible, for as long as you proceed with intention.
Jobs in Singapore are scarce right now. To get even more support during your Traineeship Programme and get notifications on possible job opportunities, join Young NTUC’s LIT XChange Facebook Group and Telegram Channel.