Resources for active job seekers

Since January of 2018, I became the full-time job seeker. Even though I struggled almost every day, it has been a great learning journey over the past 3.5 months. I was able to focus on improving my interview skills, finding the connections in the target companies as well as figuring out what role and industry that I can have better chance to get an interview and finally land an offer.

I like the saying from the 2 Hour Job Search that “Job searching is a numbers game. The more referrals you have, the more no’s you get, the closer you are to a job. ” and the whole job hunting journey is so much alike the movie Edge of Tomorrow that we repeat the same process again and again. Every time we fail, we learn from the mistakes, we make progress, and in the end we get to the goal.

I would like to share the experience and resources from the job hunting journey. The following contents include two parts: 1. suggestions for the active job seekers; 2. the resources that I found useful. Hope everyone can get the dream job as soon as possible!

1. Suggestions for the active job seekers

  • Master the methods from 2 Hour Job Search: the author of the book is the career advisor of Duke MBA. He pointed out several common mistakes made from the MBA job seekers and guided many MBA students to find their dream jobs. The book provides the methods and email & conversation templates for finding your mentors/ career boosters who can give you the insights and refer you. I recommend to read the summary first to get the general idea of this book and then read the book for details. (PM me if you want to know more about the details; Thanks Chieh-An for providing the great information)
  • Form a career/interview preparation group: I found out that the MBA students in the exchange school are more collaborative than in NUS in terms of job hunting, and they tend to have higher interview skills and better results. During the recruiting season, the students who target the same company/ industry usually formed the groups to practice interview questions and gave each other feedbacks. This makes me believe that fighting together for the jobs has better results than fighting alone. After all, people are good at different things. Some people are good at networking, while others are good at interview or job searching. It’s always great to share and learn from your peers. (After finishing the exchange semester and coming back to Singapore, I tried to duplicate the environment and formed a interview preparation group. Check here for reference)
  • Setup your plans for networking & interview preparation, and execute them: if you follow the methods from the 2-Hour Job Search, your google calendar might be full of networking reminders. Besides, your Google spreadsheet might also be full of plans for the weekly interview practice. It’s time to take actions!

2. Useful resources

2.1  Job discovery in Tech industry/ CV

  • Break intro Tech: A great website for those who don’t have Tech experience but want to get into the industry or for those who want to continue to pursue their career in a better Tech company. The website has plenty of resources including explaining different positions and required skills in Tech companies, guiding you how to get the micro experience for switching the job function as well as showing you how to tailor the interview answers
  • JOBHERO: this website gives you good idea about what your bulletin points should look like on CV (by industry/job title)   

2.2  Interview

  • Basic questions: if you are like me as a none native speaker and have difficulty of making the interview answers concise, make sure you master the basic 6-8 questions without thinking by writing down the scripts, refining the scripts and keeping practicing them. Use the framework, and keep the answer short but include all the key points. Normally your self-introduction and behavioural answers should be within 2-2.5 minutes. Here are some video example that I think very useful.
  • Case cracking reference book 
    • CRACK THE CASE SYSTEM by David Ohrval: the example videos are good materials for benchmarking how the experts cracking the cases.
    • THE PRODUCT MANAGER INTERVIEW: the author is the alumni of Standford University and Kellogg MBA and used to work in Google and Microsoft. Now he is the guest trainer of several US MBA programs. The book contains 164 actual questions and answers from the top Tech companies such as Google, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft and Uber.
  • FAQ by job function
    • Glassdoor: you can get the previous interview questions from the interviewees
  • CEO interview videos: watching the CEO interview videos is one of the effective ways to understand the industry trend, company challenges and the language/terms that are used in that company.  Check here for example.

2.3  Learning materials by job function

2.4  Salary

  • Salary structure in Singapore: stop telling the recruiter that your expected monthly base salary is SG$?K just because you hear the number from someone else. Before answering the million dollar question, it is better to have better understanding of the salary structure in Singapore (ex. monthly base * number of months + fix allowance+ fix bonus + variable bonus). You may find out that the number you heard from someone might be the total package divide by 12 and the actual monthly base salary is much lower than you expected. Ask your career advisor for more details.
  • Salary benchmark websites

2.5  The trend in Asia/Singapore