As I looked through the statistics compiled for the visitors to my site, I realised that there was something in common. People don’t come to my site because they are frequent visitors; rather they come due to search engines which harvest key words from my articles. In the recent months, the posts that were viewed more often was about being an Air Force Engineer in the RSAF, how is the percentage of first class honours like in NUS/NTU (which is a fruitless effort, i’ve tried finding), how is the Guards Conversion Course like.
At each stage of our lives, we are confronted with uncertainty and to reduce this uncertainty, we go to Google to find more information that can help us anticipate. Which is why people are interested in finding out how an interview is like at a particular company etc. People are seeking advice.
Then, I thought about myself when I was graduating and I felt that I could use some honest advice about choosing a job myself. I didn’t regret my choice, so I must have done something right. But I shall also write about the lessons I have learnt about my job so far and how I thought a graduating student should know of before settling on any job.
In 2011 when I was graduating, I was somebody that isn’t very decisive. I would usually think about something for a few days before moving on with a decision, if at all. I used to not interact with new people much, but now I’m slowly becoming better at it. There are many changes that I have had and it is all due to the same reason: My job. My job shaped me into who I am today.
And that is what a fresh graduate should think about. What do you want to become and how does that job you are going to take up help you get there? Most people get into a job not knowing what is going on, but if we took a more proactive approach to learn and ask our interviewers, we might find out more.
My job at the Air Force helped me in many ways. The Air Force provided me with a long training duration which gave me some breadth in a variety of topics. Through my job I was exposed to staff writing which drove hard to me on the importance of keeping words simple. Through the many papers that I wrote to justify expenditures for welfare-related expenses, as well as the many reports I get to vet prior to submission, I have learnt to be very particular, and anal, about certain formatting. My own experience from it told me something important: When you are busy and have to make important decisions, the last thing you want to do is to have to re-read sentences again to get its gist. The formatting, grammar etc helps in making the reading smooth. Never have I gained more motivation to learn proper grammar, to find out the differences between advise and advice; or whether is it “Principle Considerations” or “Principal Considerations”. The latter is correct, btw.
Through having nobody to command to actually having people, I developed many aspects of myself. The many experiences I get helped shaped my leadership and management style. I got the opportunity to explore different methods of getting jobs done. I had free reign in implementing policies within my department. I could call a meeting, ask someone to be a secretary, and move things along. I could ask for something to be done simply because I believed I need to. Through this I became more decisive, more structured. And the Air Force still continues to challenge me. Sometimes you feel down and tired, but you realise that you are growing.
What about inspiration? I’ve been inspired by countless commanders, each with a part of themselves I seek to emulate. Some are people friendly, others are sharp witted and clear about their jobs. Sometimes I realise how much I need to level myself up, and that means I still have the chance to grow.
So what do you want to become at the end of it all? Does the company provide you with the necessary training? Does the company allow you to have job rotation opportunities to learn more about the company and develop yourself in other ways? Does the company provide you with sufficient challenges? Does the company make you a better person? What kind of culture does the company have? Is it supportive? Caring?
With all these to think about, an interview should not be a one way street anymore. Also, need I mention that a conversation is more interesting than a Q&A session? That way it makes you more likely to get hired as well.
So fresh graduates, take the advice and find the job that you truly need to develop yourself further.