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Navigating Your Post-Academic Professional Life (Career preparation)

The final assignment has been handed in, and the exams are over; the career you have dreamed about, studied hard for, and imagined is before you.


However, it can all seem daunting, and it is easy to feel overwhelmed and uncertain. How do you navigate your post-academic professional life to give yourself the best chance of securing the role you studied so hard for?


It is important to remember that feeling daunted and uncertain is natural and normal; many students feel like this. A 2021 survey of more than 15,000 university students and recent graduates in the Asia Pacific found that 21% of Singapore respondents felt underqualified for the job they want.


So, how can you prepare for your career after you have completed your education?

You can take several steps to give yourself the best opportunity to enter the career of your chosen profession.



Career preparation


Use the resources provided by TMC Academy for your Career preparation


TMC Academy provides resources to assist students post their education.


Career Guidance and Advice


TMC provides a Career Advisory Service to assist students with job search preparation and enhance their confidence in interviews. The Service has also run workshops on effective resume writing, which are very helpful for students in developing their resumes.


TMC Alumni


Consider the benefits of joining the TMC Alumni. This community offers a valuable network of professionals who can provide guidance, mentorship, and potential job opportunities, which can significantly boost your career prospects.


The mission of the TMC Alumni is to provide a platform where students who have graduated can:


  • Maintain close links with TMC Academy and ex-classmates.

  • Forge new friendships and established business relationships; and

  • Provide an expanded pool of resources that former students can draw on, particularly in the early stages of their careers.

In addition to accessing these resources, there are other steps you can take to give yourself the best possible chance of job success.


Other steps to take post-education


Importance of Mindset


As mentioned above, many students feel daunted when launching their careers. This feeling of being overwhelmed can lead to anxiety or panicking about “what ifs.” Many students have experienced not performing their best because they feel anxious. The same applies when applying for jobs. We don’t perform our best when we are feeling anxious.


How do we develop a mindset that assists us in controlling anxiety?


Remember


Remember when you started studying at TMC Academy? During the first few weeks, everything probably felt new, and you felt anxious about whether you could learn everything. As you got to know the lecturers and topics were broken down into manageable areas of learning, your confidence grew.


The anxiety you feel about starting your career is similar to the anxiety you felt at the commencement of your studies. Now, you have graduated and are confident in your learning abilities.


Starting a career is similar. Just as you didn’t know everything at the commencement of your academic study, so with careers. You learn and grow confident as you learn. This is another aspect of mindset.


The importance of continual learning


The difference between stagnating and succeeding throughout your career often comes from this essential mindset.


A mindset of continual learning is necessary for two reasons.


Firstly, professions are continually changing and adapting to the impact and influence of technology and new trends. A continual learning mindset will keep you on the cutting edge of your profession.


This is where being part of the TMC Academy Alumni can be helpful to your continual learning.


Secondly, a mindset of continuous learning assists with managing anxiety because each situation we encounter becomes an opportunity to learn more. When anxious, we view each situation as a challenge that we either pass or fail. If we fail, it reinforces any negative judgments we have about ourselves.


If we have a mindset of continual learning, it changes our perspective from passing or failing to what we can learn from this situation. For example, we go for a job interview, and we believe it didn’t go as well as we would have liked. Instead of seeing this as evidence that we aren’t good at job interviews, ask yourself this question.


What did I learn from this experience to use in the next job interview?


Preparing for Job Interviews


There are several ways you can prepare for a job interview.


Resumes and answering selection criteria


Here are a few tips to help make your resume stand out.


  • Make sure it is up to date.

  • Keep your resume brief and concise. You want to tell the future employer how good you are; however, remember your future manager is extremely busy and will, at the most, give your resume a cursory reading. You must capture the manager’s attention within 60 seconds of them picking up your resume.


How do you capture your potential manager’s attention


  • Do your research on the company you are applying to. If the company has its annual reports on its website, read them; they will give you an idea of the company's challenges and issues.

  • Research how the role you are applying for assists the company in reaching its vision and business goals.

  • When answering the selection criteria in a job application, craft your response to highlight the skills you bring to the advertised role that will assist the Company in achieving its goals.

  • When highlighting your skills, answer three questions succinctly, in no more than a paragraph.

- What was the situation?

- What skills did you bring to that situation?

- What was the outcome?

If the situation didn’t go well, answer a fourth question.

- What I learned from this situation.


Never be afraid to describe a challenging situation and what you learned from it. This will demonstrate to a potential manager that you are willing to learn from challenges.


  • In job interviews, you will be asked to provide examples of your skills and abilities. Often, because interviews can be stressful, our minds go blank, and we can’t think of examples when asked for them. This is where using the three-question model above is important. We can use the examples we have provided in the selection criteria and elaborate on them further.


LinkedIn & Social Media


Just as organisations have brands, you, as a professional entering the workforce, have and will cultivate a personal brand throughout your career.


Social Media


It is essential to ask yourself, “What personal brand am I projecting on social media?”

Employers check social media when assessing whether a candidate is the right cultural fit for an organisation. Do your social media posts enhance your job prospects, or are there posts you would prefer an employer not to see?


When applying for jobs, it is essential to review your social media posts and ensure they project the personal brand you want to cultivate in your career.


LinkedIn


The same applies to LinkedIn. Does your LinkedIn profile project your brand as a professional?


LinkedIn's advantage is that it allows you to connect with other professionals both locally in Singapore and internationally. The ideas put forward by these professionals can give you new insights and deepen your understanding of how skills can be practically applied within a work environment.


Rather than simply liking a post, take the extra step to acknowledge what the other person has written. This can be as simple as thanking the post's author for what they have shared and telling them the one thing they wrote that caught your attention or made you think.


This habit is helpful because it builds your connections and profile on LinkedIn, but more importantly, it builds your confidence in discussing your ideas. There will be many occasions in your career when you will be asked for your views, often in a group of people you may not know. Building this confidence using LinkedIn can prepare you for when you need to speak your views publicly.


Starting your career is exciting and adventurous but can also be nerve-wracking and frustrating. It is important to remember the things you can do to give yourself the best opportunity to commence your career.


  • Use the Career Guidance and Advice support provided by TMC Academy.

  • Join the TMC Alumni

  • Maintain a positive mindset and a mindset of continual learning. Although your formal academic learning may be completed, you have a lifetime of learning. Use every opportunity as a learning one.

  • When applying for a position, research the company and the role. Think about how your skill set will add value to the company.

  • When answering selection criteria questions, frame your responses around the answer to three questions:

- What was the situation?

- What skills did you use in this situation?

- What was the outcome when you applied your skills?

  • Think about the professional brand you want to bring to your profession. Does your social media reflect this personal brand? Develop an active LinkedIn profile where you connect with skilled practitioners across professions.


Using steps like these gets your career started after your education is completed.

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Jun 13

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