5 Essential Truths To Get Ahead Of Your Peers

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All the details about beating your competition.

Singapore Internships, Stroff.com - 5 Essential Truths To Get Ahead Of Your Peers

The world is getting very demanding. Pressure's up to establish a good career and have a fat salary - to buy a good car, apartment, and all the luxuries necessities in life. Yet, the road to success is never smooth. I just turned 22, and there are a lot of things I wished I had known to avoid silly detours. To become a "functional, productive, and capable" adult that employers clamor for, there are many things you need to know in 2015. This cheat sheet is compiled from my internship experiences:

Singapore Internships, Stroff.com - 5 Essential Truths To Get Ahead Of Your Peers

Number One:
You have to be a jack of all trades before becoming a master of one.
Gone are the days when either being good at everything or particularly talented at something is sufficiently stellar - now you need to be both. It's a competitive, dog-eat-dog world out there yo. Brings me to the next point: Job-hopping is more common than ever because of many reasons - indecisiveness, a strategic method to increase pay due to poaching, high stress environments... The worst part? Employers will squint at your resume and question your short tenures with doubt (or gaps in your resume indicating you to be unemployed). Start early and experiment with different jobs before you graduate to find out what you are interested in. Whatever you do, find something you are both passionate and talented at. You won't find it at the first strike unless you are very lucky, but don't go bouncing from place to place all the way till your late 20s and suddenly realize you're not climbing the corporate ladder but moving from the base of one ladder to another. In your process of experimenting, keep an open mind and absorb like a sponge whatever you are exposed to. Once you find that holy grail of yours, go on and sharpen your knives to become a true professional.

Singapore Internships, Stroff.com - 5 Essential Truths To Get Ahead Of Your Peers
  
Number Two:
Go for the real thing.
Ditch school activities to pump up your resume. Achievements in the 'adult arena' (ie. workplace) are more impressive, makes you appear to be more mature, and in reality, acclimatizing you to the workplace environment slowly. If you have interests to pursue, join professional networks from public groups. These might be intimidating, and cliche as it be, life truly starts beyond your comfort zone. Nobody learns fast enough within a protected ecosystem like a school to even survive in 2015 anymore. You might have teachers and seniors to guide you in secondary school, but after O levels, it's a fantastic time to expose yourself to the outside world. Go out there and find yourself a Singapore internship, get terrified, be disheartened, trip over your words, be careful but still, you will make mistakes. Then pick yourself up and emerge more tenacious than ever. 

Singapore Internships, Stroff.com - 5 Essential Truths To Get Ahead Of Your Peers


Number Three:
Social connections will help you. A lot.
I only realized that socializing became a big, visible activity at 21 years old. Everyone started going to a lot of mingling events to meet new people, fervently expanding their networks. I am very much against befriending people to collect them as resources, or just because they will be useful to you in future. Build real friendships. Go for quality, not quantity (don't scrimp too much on numbers as well). But social connections will help you a lot, as plainly as it is. No individual lives in a vacuum, nor does anyone knows everything. We rely on one another for different expertise, we engage in ideas from various perspectives for fruitful conversations. We become at least a-third as knowledgeable as someone from any given subject. Most of these sources do not come from your school, because just about everyone in school studies the exact same boring thing as you do. You need to expand your circle outwards to other places - and one way is definitely by getting into a new professional environment through internship Singapore opportunities.

Singapore Internships, Stroff.com - 5 Essential Truths To Get Ahead Of Your Peers

Number Four:
Mingle with the older folks.
Is there such a thing as ageist? Obviously, yes. Older folks know best and they tell me most of these essential truths in bits and pieces that nobody ever collates and distribute like a Modern Manual to A Basic Successful Adult. When speaking, you are only repeating what you already know. That's not to say that you'll be selfish and not speak at all, but always keep your ears open and listen to the experiences of those who lived longer than you. They might not be the most accomplished, but they've been through pitfalls that you can avoid by knowing about it. Listening only takes a few minutes - some life detours can be as costly as years. With irreversible harm and collateral damage sometimes, too. Much of the wisdom imparted by the older folks is made of platinum and gold, and the earlier you know these, the faster you can get started on them. You are the youngest you will ever be. The best way to access these wise people is through conversations during lunchtime at work - they will be very free. Owing to a very Singaporean characteristic, people tend to talk about work, or their past work experiences during meals. Be a willing Padawan and accumulate years of experience under your belt without actually going through them.

Singapore Internships, Stroff.com - 5 Essential Truths To Get Ahead Of Your Peers

Number Five:
Experience > Paper Qualifications
This is not news: job experience and company prestige of your internships are regarded to be way more important than your academic results. However, countless of people still slog tirelessly for their A's while completely neglecting about building their resume (I will be blunt: being assistant sectional leader in your band really does not count. Maybe, presidents of school clubs can get you one brownie point). I cannot emphasize this enough. I have been there, I know how being part of a cog in the Singapore education system machine feels like. You want excellence, you want straight A's, because only A is Acceptable. Hold your horses. If I could advise 16 year-old me, I will tell her to dedicate less time to studies and more on collecting life experiences, socializing skills, and make more friends from different places. You might have seen this - First job requirement: Experience, and you are wondering how should you go about getting experience when you haven't had your first job? Lifehack: find yourself a Singapore internship and keep doing various stints straight after your O's. Grab every holiday opportunity possible and trust me, you won't regret it. I am so glad I was incredibly kiasu and stayed somewhat ahead of the game, growing as an individual in so many ways. 

Singapore Internships, Stroff.com - 5 Essential Truths To Get Ahead Of Your Peers

I used to be afraid of approaching strangers, going for meals alone, and think for hours about how I can promote myself without appearing arrogant/shameless. Now it feels like second nature, and I cannot be more grateful for the opportunities during my internships. Where should you start searching for your internship? You can sign up for free as a 'Jobseeker' or 'Employer/Recruiter' accounts on the Stroff.com portal which connects you to your future employers or employees/candidates respectively.

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8 comments

  1. Great tips for internship and fresh grad.. I'm too old for this, I guess.. But the tips is suitable for everyone..

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  2. Ditto with Kylie. I am too old for this, but this will be helpful for those who are working or looking for a job.

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  3. Same here, too old already. Done with college back in 2004, great tips for fresh grads. Will pass this article to my cousin who's graduation soon, it'll help her for sure. :)

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  4. I agree with everything on your list. In relation to experience, I'd like to add that it's important to always give your best in everything that you do. Excellence, in any task, whether big or small matters.

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  5. These are very helpful tips! I wish I knew about them when I was in college or about to graduate from college. It might be a little to late for me now, but this can still apply not just for fresh grads. :) Some of the tips here like #1, #3 and #4 are generally good tips for learning things in life. :)

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  6. Nowadays, competition on your chosen field is very much alive even online. Be very smart and determined to succeed with your undertakings. Your list could help indeed.

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  7. I wish I knew all those tips after graduating. Even though I’m my own boss now, I still appreciate all the advice you have given. It was spot on.

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  8. I truly believe in social connections because sometimes it's not what you know but who you know. Sometimes that's the only way to get ahead.

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