4 Useful People in Every Young Singaporean’s Life Who Can Offer a Career Boost

Joanne Poh



We all know the old cliché that’s it’s not what you know, but whom you know that helps you get ahead. This becomes a real problem when the only people you know are your immediately family, your university classmates and the auntie who sells you kopi in the morning.

When it comes to reaching out to connections who could give you a career boost, don’t limit yourself. You don’t need to be the best of friends to connect with someone. Here are four people who probably exist in your life, and who could be useful members of your network.


Your parents’ kakis

If you’re a fresh grad, virtually every working person is above you on the career ladder. That also means you can get career leads from the most unlikely of people.

A friend of mine, who’s now a very successful banking professional, got her first banking job fresh out of uni from the mother of one of her tuition students who happened to be a VP at a European bank. Another friend got her first job in yet another European bank through one of her parents’ mahjong kakis.

If you’re young and fresh out of school, you might not know too many people who’re in a position to hire you. But your parents might. Get your parents to broadcast to their friends that you, their beloved offspring, are looking for a job. As someone without industry experience, it’s often easier to get a first job through a referral than by competing with other grads with nearly the exact same resume.


Your seniors at university

In the early years of your career, your university classmates aren’t really of much use when it comes to getting jobs, since they’re all rookies struggling through the first stage of their careers.

Your seniors at university, on the other hand, can be a great help, since these are people who not only studied similar subjects as you at school, and might be working in similar fields, but are also a few years ahead of you in the hiring game.

They might not just be able to give you information on companies that might be hiring, but can also offer you advice on market conditions in your chosen industry. And if their companies are looking for hires, they might be able to refer you.



Now that you and your former colleagues no longer work in the same company, you’re actually in the best position to refer each other to potential employers. You work in the same industry and know exactly what each other’s roles are all about.

When you’re looking for a new job, you might thus be able to benefit from asking your former colleagues if their companies (or those of their friends) are looking to hire for a role you could fill. This can be a great way to get a job as companies are often willing to consider referrals even before they try to run job ads. Just be careful word doesn’t get back to your current employer, the world being as small as it is.


Recruitment agent

A good recruitment agent who looks out for you is one thing any employee should have in their lives.

Of course, recruitment agents get a lot of applications, so don’t expect the first agent you hit up to become best friends with you, especially if you’re a fresh grad without much experience.

But as your experience grows, you’ll be more and more useful to recruitment agents, and if you’ve got good credentials and are the sort of person who’s open to changing jobs every few years, you can bet that agents will want to keep in touch with you and keep sending you job postings. Just periodically send them an email from time to time to let them know you’re considering new opportunities.

Have you ever gotten a job through one of the above people? Share your experiences 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.