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Jobseekers’ Diaries: How I turned my futile job search around

In this instalment of Jobseekers’ Diaries, fresh graduate Darren Cheong Yue Yang writes about a slew of rejections in the initial stages of his job hunt and how he eventually achieved breakthroughs in his search for work.

Jobseekers’ Diaries: How I turned my futile job search around

The writer received a slew of rejections in the initial stages of his job hunt, but later achieved breakthroughs in his search for work.

Darren Cheong Yue Yang

As jobs are a top concern for Singaporeans in the Covid-19 crisis, TODAY’s Voices section is publishing first-hand accounts from jobseekers in which they reflect on their experiences and what keeps them going. 

In this instalment of Jobseekers’ Diaries, fresh graduate Darren Cheong Yue Yang writes about a slew of rejections in the initial stages of his job hunt and how he eventually achieved breakthroughs in his search for work.

The Covid-19 pandemic is the main challenge that the Class of 2020 has had to face in finding a job.

The economy has been hit severely and job openings have been reduced significantly. 

As a mechanical engineering graduate, it was difficult for me to find traditional mechanical engineering roles in multinational corporations.

Many job vacancies are software-related, which I do not have a background in. At the same time, I faced stiff competition from other university students.

The job search process is a marathon, not a race. You must check job portals regularly, like how one checks one’s Facebook and Instagram accounts, as there are new job openings daily.

I started my search in late February, applying for jobs mostly through the National University of Singapore’s (NUS) career portal, NUS TalentConnect, and professional network LinkedIn.

I submitted more than 200 applications, but only six companies replied to me. Three of them shortlisted me for interviews, which I attended in March and early April.

I was, however, rejected after the first rounds as they found me unsuitable for the roles.

Rejection was painful and demoralising, as all the time spent preparing for the interviews had been futile.

I also realised that my resume did not catch the eye of recruiters. 

So I sought help from the NUS Centre for Future-ready Graduates. 

I was connected with a career adviser, Mr Louis Lim, and had one-to-one consultations with him. He guided me on resume writing and told me about interview strategies.

After every consultation, I would book a follow-up session to receive feedback on my resume.

I sent my improved resume to recruiters and received more replies. During the circuit breaker from April 7 to curb the spread of the coronavirus, I attended 11 interviews, 10 of which were for full-time positions. One was for a traineeship. 

Louis also provided me with useful advice on choosing the right company once I received job offers. I owe my job search success to him.

Having internship experience was also highly beneficial. I cultivated my mechanical design skills during my internship with the Agency for Science, Technology and Research.

To showcase my design and technical skills, I compiled a portfolio of the projects I completed, including my internship projects and academic projects at NUS. I sent this out with my resume.

During interviews, I also presented a PowerPoint compilation of pictures and videos of my projects, which allowed recruiters to visualise and assess my technical knowledge and soft skills more clearly.

I received three job offers.

At the end of May, I accepted an offer to be a mechanical engineer at NDR Medical Technology, a Singapore-based start-up specialising in surgical robotics. 

I joined the company in June. This role aligns hugely with my interest and passion in product design and development.

My advice to jobseekers is to be patient and trust the process. Good things will come.

Every candidate is good. It is a matter of whether you are the right fit for the company.

ABOUT THE WRITER:

Mr Darren Cheong Yue Yang, 26, graduated from the National University of Singapore this year. He is a mechanical engineer at NDR Medical Technology, where he works on mechanical design and product development.

If you are a jobseeker with a compelling story or know someone who wishes to contribute to this series, write to voices [at] mediacorp.com.sg with your full name, address and phone number.

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jobseekers Jobs Covid-19 coronavirus

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