Who doesn’t want to land great gigs fresh out of school? But according to the founders of a successful careers startup, top grades are not enough to secure graduates a good job in today’s competitive market.
Daniel Kang, 29, and Tony Jin, 33, the founders of BestTop, a Singapore mentorship service for millennials, told Business Insider that most fresh graduates get rejected from job applications due to a lack of experience, the wrong skill sets, or failing to impress at the interview.
Nevertheless, they claim to have landed every single client into their dream company so far – including top firms like Google, JP Morgan, P&G, PWC and KPMG.
According to them, there are two ways university students can land their dream first job:
#1: Spend the school holidays developing their career
As top companies often have rigorous application processes, such as assessment center days and video interviews, undergraduates should plan carefully how to use each school holiday to maximise their career development with internships, projects, and co-curricular activities.
Internships in particular give grads real-life experiences to talk about during job interviews, and are also a good way for them to discover which jobs they’re passionate about (or not).
When applying for an internship, students shouldn’t focus on big corporate names or aim for the highest-paying jobs, the duo said. Instead, they might want to consider experiences that can help with self discovery: an overseas stint, volunteering at an NGO, or working in a start-up.
#2: Network enough to get job referrals, and maybe even a mentor
When applying for a job, referrals work best to get applicants in the door, especially warm referrals made by someone who knows the applicant well, the founders said. Therefore, students should network with experienced professionals in their desired industry, which can help raise their chance of a referral – instead of relying on their circle of family and friends for leads.
The founders also suggested LinkedIn as a networking platform; job-seekers can use it to share insights and showcase their career readiness. If possible, they can also use it to secure a mentor that can help them assess their career situation and devise a structured way to develop their career.