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3 Things Young Singaporeans Who’ve Given Up on Their Job Searches Should Do in the Meantime

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Joanne Poh

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It’s not been an easy year for the class of 2016. Hiring has slowed this year and entry-level jobs are harder to come by.

According to this report, some 20-somethings are getting so frustrated that they’ve “given up” looking for jobs altogether.

While there are probably a few people here and there who are aborting their job search so they can get up to speed on Game of Thrones before the next season starts, for the majority of jobless millennials, the constant niggling feeling that you should be surfing JobsDB isn’t very pleasant.

So if it’s been many moons since you first started spamming companies with your resume and you still haven’t found somebody besides Ronald McDonald who’s willing to hire you, what should you do? Here are three tips for coping till you finally get hired.

 

Explore jobs you wouldn’t otherwise have considered

So you’ve been sending out ten copies of your CV every day and just about every HR manager in your industry has glanced upon your name before clicking “delete”.

If it’s been that long, and you’re sure your CV doesn’t suck and has been well-formatted, it might be time to explore jobs you wouldn’t otherwise have considered.

Say you’ve been applying only to MNCs. Well, it might now be time to consider start-ups or SMEs.

Or your industry could just be saturated with fresh grads right now, like the law graduates who are finding it hard to obtain training contracts this year. That being the case, it wouldn’t hurt to explore roles in other industries you might not have previously considered. There are some fields, like recruitment, that are open to grads of all stripes.

When the economy picks up, you can always reapply for the jobs you were originally after. At least you’ll have more savings and work experience than if you spend the next 18 months watching Korean dramas.

 

Start freelancing or start that microbusiness

You might end up gouging out your eyes if you look upon another job search website. But job or no job, you’ve got to eat, and unless your parents are willing and able to let you freeload until you find employment, you should probably find a legal way to earn a bit of cash.

One way to do that is to take on freelance jobs of some sort, or start a small business. For many graduates, the easiest and fastest way to earn quick cash is to become a private tutor. A handful of students can easily be found through agents and yield at least $1,000 a month.

When you do eventually get a job, you might find that you don’t want to give up your side gig, which can then become a very useful second source of income.

 

Use unemployment to train yourself to avoid lifestyle inflation

While it’s certainly not fun being unemployed (that is, if you actually need a job for survival and aren’t living off some trust fund), this period of hardship can be good training.

You see, many of those who enter jobs immediately after graduation instantly go from being students receiving an allowance to working adults earning several thousand a month. It’s all too easy to fall prey to lifestyle inflation once they start earning a decent salary. Many people very quickly make the switch from eating at McDonald’s to eating at fancy restaurants at Marina Bay Sands.

When you’re unemployed at a time when all your friends are starting their careers and earning real money for the first time in their lives, you’re going to feel very poor. Use this as an opportunity to train yourself to live frugally. You’ve got all the time in the world to learn how to prepare your own meals, wean yourself off Uber and simplify your wardrobe.

You will eventually get a job, and when that happens, you’ll have a bunch of thrifty habits in place that will help you to avoid lifestyle inflation. After a long stretch of being the poor and jobless, it’s unlikely you’ll want to spend your first paycheck on designer shoes, and you’ll be all the better for it.

Are you facing a roadblock in your job search? Share your difficulties in the comments.

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Joanne Poh

In my previous life, I was a property lawyer who spent most of my time struggling to get out of bed or stuck in peak hour traffic. These days, as a freelance commercial writer, I work in bed, on the beach, in parks and at cafes, all while being really frugal. I like helping other people save money so they can stop living lives they don't like.