As a fresh faced A level or poly grad, you thought you were following your heart. So you picked a degree course and major that you were actually interested in.
And now you’re about to graduate with a degree in hieroglyphic interpretation or musicology, and your career prospects look about as bright as the grave.
Enrolling in a general degree course, or one in a major that’s considered by ultra-pragmatic Singaporeans to be “useless”, is not for the faint of heart. Good for you for pursuing your interests, but when it comes time to look for a job, you’re probably in for a harder time than your friends in courses like finance and engineering.
But it’s not the end of the world. There are many things which you can do before graduation to make your job search less tough, such as the following.
Do internships in a wide variety of fields
Your friends studying finance or law might be doing internships at masses of companies that all look the same just so they have a better chance at snagging a job offer.
But for you, one big reason to undertake internships is to experience working in as many different types of companies as possible.
Your career path is a lot less straightforward than that of your peers who’re completing professional degrees. That’s precisely why you need to dip your toes in as many ponds as possible and figure out what career path would suit you best.
If you’re not sure what kind of career you’re interested in, your goal should be to sample as many jobs as possible through internships. Try to experiment as much as you can in the first few years of your undergrad career. Hopefully, by your final year, you’ll have a clearer idea of what kind of work you’re best suited for, and can then start to intern in a more targeted manner at companies you’d like to be hired by.
What’s more, as a general degree holder, there’s a high chance you’re going to be competing with people with more marketable degrees. You can close the gap by getting relevant working experience before you graduate.
Network and maintain an active social life
Of all your friends who have jobs lined up for them upon graduation, most of them will have snagged these offers on internships or through connections.
So, while you should definitely intern during the holidays, you don’t want to neglect your social life and fail to build a large network.
Your uni days are an excellent time to build expand your network of friends and acquaintances. So put yourself in situations where you can meet not just classmates, but also seniors and working adults. You can do this by participating actively in a CCA, staying in hall, volunteering and pursuing interests outside of school.
Having a large network will serve you well for many, many years to come. Not only are the people around you the possible bearers of job lobang, they can also give you a broader perspective on your career options for the future.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to older, wiser friends for advice. Even if they’re not working in a field you’re interested in, someone they know might be. For instance, many humanities majors tend to think teaching or the civil service are their only career options, and only later realise there are far more options out there.
Start saving money at university
Your job search might take a big longer than that of your friends who’re graduating from med school, or who can take their pick of finance or computer engineering jobs.
So make sure you are financially secure enough to weather the first few months of job hunting, assuming you don’t manage to get an offer straight out of school.
You’ll thank yourself later if you start saving money aggressively at uni, because that’s exactly what will prevent you from taking up a job out of desperation at the first company that will hire you.
Are you graduating with a degree that’s been slammed by others as being useless? Share your concerns in the comments!