Career and Enterprising

An HR expert weighs in on job-searching advice such as the need to stay in a company for at least 2 years and more

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Currently on the hunt for a new job or internship? If you’re relatively new to job searching, you may be confused with the many pieces of advice out there. Here are some job-related articles we’ve written recently that you will find helpful:

For today’s article, we will be focusing on the wise words of James Goh, founder and CEO of ACCESS HR & Talents, regarding the common job-searching advice out there. ACCESS HR & Talents is a by-invitation-only job portal that promises a minimum pay of S$2,800 across the board.

Let’s dive right in.

#1: Stay at least two years in a company before you move on to a new opportunity.

“No. Ignore. This is an old belief system. The current climate has evolved. Staying two years at a company does not boost your chances in any way.”

#2: Talk about your strengths only during interviews, avoid bringing up your weaknesses.

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“I agree with this. It might not decrease your chances to bring it up, but it will not increase it. Unless the interviewer brings the topic up, it would be safer to state your strengths primarily.”

#3: Accept all job interviews offered to you even if you don’t think you’re suitable for it.

“Yes. Most job descriptions are brief and not in actual fact of how the job would be. An interview offered would be an opportunity for both parties to tango and find out more. One might find herself being wooed by the actual job.”

#4: Stick to your chosen field only and accept relevant jobs.

Image Credits: Abacus Group

“No. Ignore. Many of my mentors who are industry giants, have worked in different fields and have “irrelevant” jobs in their resume before ending up in their current position. Senior partners, CEOs, founders, all had non-linear career paths.

There are many paths to success, and knowing what you are innately good at and having the intangible skills are the ingredients that will bring one to succeed.”

#5: Never try to explain the gaps in your work history.

“No. Ignore. HR departments and recruitment consultants are human too. If you have gaps for any reason, it is okay to be sincere and honest. It pays. Gap years are now less uncommon in today’s climate.

Many graduates and mid-career switches often have gap years to find out and deliberate over their next step. Your potential employer might even feel more confident about you after you have deliberated and are certain of the job you are interviewing for.”

#6: You should follow your passion.
passion or money

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“Yes but only to a certain degree. Passion is a first-world privilege. You cannot pursue passion if you are worried about where your next meal is going to come from. We are in a privileged position where most Millenials and Gen Zers are degree holders, not having to worry about rent or their next meal.

In the countries that I have worked in, such freedom of choice comes as a luxury. Your passion usually is a good indicator of what you will do well in. Passion breeds excellence. Excellence breeds success. And people pay for excellence. As much if possible, chase passion. And let success keep up with you.”

#7: It’s alright to apply for jobs you are under-qualified for.

Crossing industries does sometimes work even if you do not seemingly have the relevant experience. But the basic paper qualifications that the employer will seek are usually set in stone, especially for MNCs. If you think you qualify for the job even if you are in the opposite spectrum of a potential employee, then go for it! But in terms of required paper qualifications, one should manage their expectations a little.

I know of a candidate looking for a role in a FinTech firm, however, he graduated with a history degree from London School of Economics and Political Science. He aced the interview and is now rising through the ranks in that particular FinTech firm in London.”

#8: Personalize your cover letter and resume to each company you apply to.
personalized resume and cover letter

Image Credits: Human Resources Online

“This I personally believe to be true, albeit tedious. At ACCESS, our core belief is that there is more than one way to succeed. Many skillsets are transferable across industries. If someone is charming and does well as a salesperson, she would do equally well as an HR consultant. If someone is caring and articulate as a manager, she would do as well being a teacher. Similarly, if companies are from different industries or you are applying for a different type of placement, your resume should boast the qualities of your skill sets that the new placement and company would appreciate.

Some HR departments shortlist candidates only by looking at the candidate’s prior company and work experience, thus I believe it to be important to highlight certain skills which your new potential employer could be on the hunt for. A sales manager looking to go into teaching, for example, could highlight her subordinates’ achievements and how under her guidance led to those.”

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