4 Ways to Make Your Resume Stand Out When Applying for Your First Job in Singapore
Landing your first full-time job after graduating from college can be daunting, especially in a seemingly oversaturated job market like Singapore. For one, your work experience may be lacking. Even if you have better academic credentials and more energy compared to much older applicants, mere passion may not be enough to impress the hiring manager of the company you are eyeing. For another, even if you do find positions that favor fresh graduates, you also need to compete with hundreds of young and passionate individuals like yourself.
So, what do you do to make your application stand out? Simple. Make sure that you submit an impressive resume that will attract employers’ attention from the start—something that will boost your chances of getting those coveted interviews, and hopefully, improve your prospects of landing a lucrative job offer eventually. If you are unsure how to go about the process, here are four ways to create a resume that stands out from the rest:
Make Your Resume Relevant
While you can save time and energy when applying to multiple job positions using a generic resume, it will most likely not set you apart from the competition. As such, consider going for “effective” instead of “quick and easy” when crafting a resume. That means customising your resume to fit the position and industry you are considering.
For instance, if you are applying for a designer post or similar positions in the creative industry, you may want to come up with a resume layout that showcases your creativity and personality. You can use graphics, play with colours, and include catchy phrases and designs. But sending such a resume may not be fitting if you are aiming for a post in finance, government, and similar sectors. Essentially, you need to know and cater to your audience to create a resume that pops.
Use the Original Job Posting as a Guide
The descriptions and terminologies you read in the job posting are your best guide when crafting a noticeable resume. You may not realise it, but hiring managers often use carefully thought out keywords to describe the required skills and qualifications in the job ads they put out. This goes beyond simply providing applicants with the necessary information; they also do this to assess candidates from the get-go.
Your application documents will probably end up in a filing cabinet if you submit a resume that completely disregards the job description. On the other hand, there is a greater chance that you will catch the interest of the recruitment personnel when you take the time to scrutinise the original job post and meticulously modify your resume to mirror the descriptions written there.
Of course, there’s always room for customisation. Are your skills and experiences slightly different from the posted requirements because you are a fresh graduate? If so, you may need to get creative. Find ways to frame your current skill set in words that fit the open position.
Using the keywords is particularly critical if you apply for a position in a company that utilizes applicant tracking software or conducts keyword searches to sift through resumes. When such a system is used, your application will hardly move forward unless you include relevant words.
Highlight Your Skills and Achievements
While it may be tempting to write extensively about every little thing you did in university to make up for the lack of work experience, you should refrain from doing this. Keep in mind that the recruitment officer only has a few seconds to decide whether you have the potential to do the job. As such, it is best to focus on academic accomplishments relevant to the position.
Apart from the names of the schools you attended and your dates of graduation, include bullet points of all your notable achievements that make you a desirable candidate for the position. You may also want to mention additional programmes and certificate courses you completed that could help you perform the job well. Perhaps you have taken one or two of the SkillsFuture courses Singapore citizens can take to attain mastery in certain skills. Or maybe you earned some other certificate that is relevant to the post you are eyeing. Include them all to beef up your credentials.
Keep Your Resume Simple and Concise
In a way, your resume acts as your personal advertisement since you are essentially selling yourself to the hiring manager. This being considered, why would you make things hard for your “customer” by sending a lengthy document written in a hard-to-read font? As a rule of thumb, opt for a simple and concise resume—a two-page document at most with a clear and readable font.
You may also need to find a suitable format to help “market” your skills and achievements effortlessly. Try using bold letters, bullet lists, and similar techniques to emphasise essential points and to make your resume easier to read. Ultimately, you want your resume to pique the interest of employers and leave them wanting to know more about you.
The strategies mentioned above are just some of the most effective ways to make your resume stand out. Keeping these pointers in mind as you craft your own resume may require time, effort, and diligence, but they will undoubtedly increase your chances of getting closer to securing your first job. Forget about generic application documents from now on. Instead, study the needs of the company you are eyeing, and make your resume relevant and fitting to what they require.31 May 2022
^ What’s their field of research and did they do their undergrad or postgrad studies here?
I know before 2010, PRC PhD holders had a fairly easy time getting PR ‘cos my now-SC colleague and her fellow PRC friends have PRs from that era. Now even PRC PhD doesn’t guarantee a PR.
Their fields of research are diverse. Cancer, ageing, neuro, etc. Even the “hot” fields don’t guarantee anything.
I have 4 PHD friends out of whom, 2 got their SC recently and 2 are still PR's. All in the last 5-7 years. 2 .....
I suspect that Covid might have prompted more Malaysians than ever to apply, raising the bar for everyone else. So an increase in rejections might have more to do with the number of Malaysians in the queue (we know who gets ultimate priority).