Live & Learn
The Path to a Full-Time Job After Your Traineeship

You’ve probably have heard about the SGUnited Traineeships Programme by now. The programme is designed to help fresh graduates access jobs and training opportunities.

As the government has agreed to subsidise up to 80% of a trainee’s compensation in the traineeship programme, companies can afford to make new hires during this time and continue to operate. All in all, thousands of fresh grads and companies are currently being supported by this programme.

Still, browsing job portals and online career fairs is mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausting—especially during this pandemic recession, when employment is so hard to find. For many, it’s easier to convert a traineeship into a full-time role than it is to get a new job from scratch.

Obtaining a traineeship is the first hurdle that you’ll have to leap over. The next step is to secure your position for the long-term. There are a number of steps you can take to win your host organisation over and increase your likelihood of receiving that tantalising full-time offer.

Read on to find out more.

Measure your progress and take inventory of your new skills

Over the course of your traineeship, you’ll take on many different projects and try out different roles. It’s a great chance to learn so much about yourself, the industries you’ve been dreaming of, and the company you’re working at. To put it simply, you’ll grow—a lot.

During your traineeship, it’s important to measure your progress. Take an inventory of all those new skills and competencies! Regardless of whether you’re planning to stay or move, understanding the new skills you’ve learnt will help you sell yourself as a candidate to the right company. You can then update your resume with those new competencies.

You might wonder, “But what if I don’t actually gain any skills or improve during my traineeship?” Don’t sell yourself short!

If you’re feeling unsure about your growth and development, here are a few questions to keep in mind?:

•    What kind of tasks have you completed during your traineeship?
•    What was the most challenging project that you completed successfully?
•    What new concepts did you learn?
•    What new tools did you learn to use?

From there, spin those answers with some clever marketing talk. With the right language, even a McDonald’s employee can make their resume sounds interesting:


Do your job correctly and have good manners

If you don’t handle your traineeship responsibilities well from the beginning, your host organisation will be less willing to give you a chance in a full-time position later on. Carry yourself with dignity and practise good etiquette in the workplace. If you have questions, always remember to ask.

Some examples of good etiquette:

•    Do your tasks and assignments with grace and enthusiasm
•    Apologise when you make mistakes
•    Don’t browse job portals or online career fairs while at work
•    Ask questions on how you can improve
•    Avoid gossiping negatively about colleagues and managers—if you want to talk about others, then say kind things

Identify your company’s expectations

In order to position yourself as the perfect candidate for a full-time role at your company, you must prove that you have what they’re looking for. That means you have to know what they’re looking for in the first place.

Once you get your traineeship, you’ve essentially landed employment for the next few months, plus a headstart over outsiders and brand new applicants. Hiring can be a tough and lengthy process of sifting through hundreds of candidates to find the right fit. But if you know what your host organisation is looking for in a full-time employee, you can take steps to grow your competencies and fill those expectations.


Seek out responsibility in the workplace

Knowing your host organisation’s expectations isn’t enough. You’ll also need to prove that you can meet them! This isn’t just about doing what you’re told: it also means keeping an eye and an ear open whenever colleagues are complaining, and proactively offering your assistance.

For example—say that you want to join a company as a digital marketing trainee and eventually achieve a full-time role. Take note of the discrepancies in your job scope and that of your full-time colleagues. What are your full-time colleagues doing that you aren’t? With their help, would you be able to take on more of those responsibilities? What is the skills gap, and how can you take on more responsibilities until you get to that point?

Always offer your time and assistance to colleagues and managers when possible. But do choose wisely—you’ll want to seek out responsibilities that help you grow as a candidate. These include spearheading important projects, helping your colleagues strategise and taking leadership roles.

Be an irreplaceable member of the team

Having a positive and supportive attitude can go a long way in solidifying your position at your current company. Even though you may feel insecure or inadequate when you first enter your new workplace, having a cheery, go-getter attitude helps make colleagues feel comfortable with you—and that means they’ll be more loathed to see you go.

Being irreplaceable isn’t necessarily about always executing tasks perfectly. Rather, it means showing genuine care to colleagues and an authentic desire to improve. It’s kind of like that Cups song—you want them to miss you when you’re gone. Famed American chef and inspirational figure Anthony Bourdain once said: "Skills can be taught. Character, you either have or you don't."

You want your colleagues to trust that you are on the same page as them. If they give advise or fair criticism, then accept their feedback with a smile and resolve to improve. If you see that they achieved a personal milestone, show them recognition. When your colleagues and managers feel like you care, they’ll be more likely to advocate for an extension of your stay.

Conversely, if you rarely speak up or have been quietly following orders (instead of taking a more active role), you might inadvertently give the impression that you don’t really care. In many cases, it’s better to over-communicate than it is to under-communicate—feedback is a great way to improve your work life and the organisation itself.

Convey your hopes for  a full-time employment

A traineeship is essentially a courtship. You and your company will try to get to know one another to see whether you’ll be compatible for the long term. Without a “define the relationship” talk, you may miss out on an opportunity to establish your relationship sooner.

During your traineeship, you should seek to continually develop a deeper understanding of the company itself. Learn more about its structure, clients and customers, and company culture. This can help you understand where you would best fit.

If after at least three months, you feel like you’d enjoy a full-time role at your company, then communicate this desire! If you have regular 1-to-1’s with your manager, you could say something like, “Hi [Manager]. I’ve been here for a while and I really enjoy working here. I was wondering if I could be considered for a full-time position in the future—and what I would need to improve to make that happen.”

Network with like-minded graduates and trainees

As a fresh graduate, you’re in the early stages of building your career. These are the foundational years, where you’ll build important connections and gain skills that can catapult you towards your dreams. It’s natural to feel doubtful—everyone, even the greatest entrepreneurs and visionaries, feels confused sometimes.

One way to handle challenges that arise during your traineeship is to talk to others who have been in a similar position. If you’re looking for more assistance on how to succeed in your future traineeship, why not join the Young NTUC SGUnited Traineeship Network?

We aim to provide a safe platform for youths who are looking to take on traineeship programmes to network, share their experiences, get resources and useful contents to help them in their traineeship journey. You can join our Facebook group, Instagram, Telegram and LinkedIn to get the latest updates on upcoming career programmes, networking sessions,  jobs/ traineeship opportunities, career tips and many more!