Career Resources

Valuable Guidance and Expert Tips for Career Builders and Employers from Career Experts and Industry Veterans
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4 Practical Tips to Achieve Work-Life Balance While Building Your Career

According to the Singapore Department of Statistics (Singstat) data in 2016, a growing number of couples are facing divorce at a much higher rate. Marriages in Singapore are not lasting as before with couples whom cannot reconcile their spousal relationship seeking divorce lawyers to dissolve their marriages. In view of this national social trend, being career-minded or highly driven in your work does not necessarily mean it should take a toll on your dating life or relationships with your boyfriend/girlfriend, spouse, family and friends.



Aside from having a job which pays the bills and allows us to enjoy the finer things in life, we should seek to commit in healthy relationships with the important persons around us and have a balanced life. Although it can seem tough, it is not impossible to achieve work-life balance with these steps.


1. Stop Being a Workaholic

Foremost, you should understand the relationship you are establishing with your work. How much is your identity built upon your job position and title? While you may gain extreme satisfaction and be highly passionate in our careers, over-working beyond any boundaries in the long term will definitely lead to extreme stress and burn-out in your job.  Our jobs and career should not be the only thing that provides us with fulfillment in life. 

Work-life balance does not necessitate equal amount of hours into both work life and personal life. Ultimately, we have to ask ourselves whether we are working to live or living to work. You can simply strike a healthy balance between both by effectively taking time off to commit and maintain relationships with our loved ones.



As a hardworking employee or professional freelancer, you may be highly tempted to respond to emails sent by superiors or client beyond working hours. Instead of being bogged down by work 24 hours, 7 days a week, learn to “switch off’. Business deals and work can occur anytime while special memories can be created just once.


2. Prioritise Your Time Accordingly

Everyone should establish clear work-life personal boundaries so that any chance of work or relationships intruding each other can be avoided beyond your stipulated working hours. You should be fully in charge to meet your specific job deliverables during office hours and be actively present to care and concern for your loved ones outside of work. In the case when both aspects demand your attention at the same time, you should plan ahead and communicate with your superiors and families and/or friends of your expected response and obligations in these circumstances.

Be flexible and make it a conscious effort to differentiate the matters that require your immediate attention and those that do not. Learn to focus on cherishing private moments with your loved ones and be fully immersive in whatever you are doing, whenever you are doing it.


3. Schedule Your Life, Not Just Work

On the same note, you should also reserve slots of time in your schedule for leisure activities that allows you to recharge and add value to your life, such as through regular exercises, a weekly date out, reserved time for family bonding activities, and an overseas vacation. Not only will have something to be expectant about, you will possess the extra boost of motivation to manage your work hours well and be productive so that you do not have to cancel on others.  Setting aside regular time for your spouse or friends and family is very important, even if those shared moments may be brief.


4. Communicate Regularly to Build Trust

Communication builds strong trust and reassurance between couples and families. The top reason for divorce and failed relationships can be attributed to a lack of communication or the inability to communicate effectively with understanding. Over time, this will lead to mistrust and resentment which can erode a relationship unconsciously. On the flip side, struggles that you share with your other half can bring you closer together through a common vision and goal to overcome.



Frequent communication lays the perfect foundation for having a balanced relationship, one that is based on realistic expectations and commitment to each other. You are working hard to improve the lives of your family, so communicate this to them and help them understand why you work so hard. Communicate strongly so that you expand your partner’s trust in you while you are away or when things come up and you need to be understood.


Your job is not your life, your relationships are ultimately as important or not, more important than your job. Both our careers and relationships are essential to a fulfilling life, you too can achieve work-life balance with these few simple steps.  

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A Freelancing Interview with Ethan Seow

Ethan Seow is an entrepreneur, educator and musician with a love for Product Development and Business Consultancy. Originally a medical student of 5 years, he embarked on a journey of entrepreneurship since 2012 and has never looked back. His previous ventures are Home Ground Studios, Pulse of Music and The Music Salon, and is now developing his new psychology concept Thought Action Paradigm to address the need for personal and business development in the 21st Century.


His experience spans across retail distribution, music education, venue rental, events organisation and digital agency over the past 5 years. Currently, he is focusing on developing a lecture series with Funzing and a network of business owners and enterprises, to prepare people for the rapidly changing markets.



Stroff: Hello Ethan! Can you tell us more about yourself?

Ethan: Hey Wanwei! Yup sure. I'm what we would traditionally call a Renaissance Man, a person who spans across multiple disciplines with no real core specialisation. This made it rather difficult for me to find my so-called "place in society". While people have classified me as "doctor", "musician", "designer", "entrepreneur", "psychologist" or a whole host of other categories, I found it hard to stick by any of these terms. There's a book released last year about this predicament, called The Neo-Generalist.


I was trained in science throughout my childhood to youth, following a classic triple science (Physics, Chemistry and Biology) track through all my education. Meanwhile, I was deep into music as I started music from the tender age of 4 and cycled through multiple instruments including the organ, piano, violin, viola and double bass. I also fell in love with the art of education because of the impact that my teachers had on me when I was in my teens, and that actually made me fall in love with medicine, where I viewed the doctor as more of an educator than simply a drug pusher.


I then came across great entrepreneurs in my young adulthood when I met the Derek Sivers at TEDxNUS where I was featured as one of the speakers with my band. From that moment onwards I knew I couldn't stay behind a safe employment mentality and was eager to explore the world of business.


That's when I truly experienced the world of freelancing - managing oneself and potentially others. I worked as a musician, sound engineer, distributed cables and cymbals, and worked with a business consultancy while teaching music. I could not sit down and focus on just one thing as I was young and restless. I thought it was business, but it really was Freelancing.




Stroff: Can you tell us briefly more about the "Thought Action Paradigm"?

Ethan: Thought Action Paradigm (TAP) was birthed during an IDEO Human Centred Design Challenge where my group members and I were trying to solve the issue of Creativity at Workplace - why people can't seem to be creative when stuck in an office. As we delved further into this issue, Thought Action Paradigm was created as a Sandbox to be able to diagnose and address this issue by matching the right people with the right frameworks under the right management systems.


It is a decision-making paradigm where it goes from Intention, which is the most fundamental needs of a person, to Execution, which is where our internal world interfaces with the external world through action. It is a rather complex process that has been highly unexamined throughout the whole development of psychology. The different schools of psychology were arguing as to who was more "right" rather than recognising that they were just viewing the same process with different lenses. TAP was created to address that.


Thought Action Paradigm can be scaled from a single individual level all the way to a society/civilisation wide level, where the same decision-making paradigm takes place as long as humans are involved. It is important to recognise this process so that we know what is missing between Intention and Execution, to allow for more congruence.


When one freelances, one needs to have great levels of self-management or one would be stuck repeating the same cycles and not progress in terms of the quality and value of work. TAP is an effective tool to identify where one stands, and how to improve self-management - it is all about how we assess our Frames (also defined as Values and Perspectives) and how to adjust it to be more in line with our Intentions.


Stroff: How do you think freelancers can stand out in an economy that is changing rapidly?

Ethan: There is a core skill set that makes freelancers indispensable - creative solutioning. The outside-in view that a Freelancer has that an internal team will never have is the ability to integrate their outside experience and knowledge with the specialisation of the internal team.


Gone are the days where hourly rates define how much a person can and should finish. Technology makes the majority of these repetitive, inefficient work obsolete. Freelancers are no longer just contracted workers just to finish up work that overwhelmed the internal team but instead are functioning more like consultants in specific fields. The world still wants to do things by the hour because old habits die hard, but with automation, the real value comes from seeing things people can't and creating things people can't even imagine.


That's what I focus my energy on - creating people and products that do things no one else can; because we don't need more robots. Freelancers need to know what value they provide - the eyes and ears outside of the company that gives rise to innovation tunnel-visioning would never be able to create.


Stroff: How do you think freelancers can protect themselves financially, so that they would also have enough in old age? Can you give them three tips?

Ethan: It's all about self-management. How much money do you actually need a month to survive? How much money can you save? What would give you mileage and a nest egg? How do you automate what you do?




A majority of Freelancers who earn good money are blinded by their success and believe that the money will keep flowing as long as they keep working - and that's precisely the problem. They are not planning ahead because they might not realise how their career might be limited by many possible Acts of God.


I learnt this from a friend who gave me tips on financial planning, and this became how I manage things for the future:


1. Earn The Money: Keep trying to explain to people what you do best, you'll find your way to the best explanation one day and people will demand you because of it. And because you'll be focusing on what you do best, you can keep the money earning in this area going strong if you brand yourself through this method.


2. Find Passive Income through Collaboration or Referral: Work with others so that you can create products or refer them clients so you can get money with the minimal amount of effort. Best part is that this helps the whole network of Freelancers you are part of, which means you can develop a richer, deeper value for your clients when you work for them.


3. Keep Upgrading: The world keeps changing, and if you're not always upping your game, someone will kick you off whatever throne you thought you own. Even till this day and age, every great business person is learning something new, developing a new technology or product, or finding a world problem to solve. The moment you stagnate you're out of the game. But that doesn't mean you're not allowed to rest - even through play you can find your growth, just learn how to integrate new knowledge from new random areas of your life.


Stroff: How can freelancers negotiate for higher rates? Do you have a strategy to share? 

Ethan: It's all about how you sell yourself. Build your credibility through a strong portfolio, be clear to explain where you fix their problems and how much they save, then charge a good price for the work that you do.


Know what problems you solve best and fastest and build your portfolio around it. Make sure to get testimonials and examples in the process. Meanwhile, if you can speak, get a higher profile to command more money. Either that or use your specialisation knowledge to streamline what you do and take more clients while working fewer hours per project, so you can get more per hour. There are many ways to get there.


I'm personally going down the path of portfolio + speaking + doing a niche that no one else does to build my credibility and value so that I can demand higher rates.


Stroff: What is the one thing about freelancers that most people think they know, but they don't actually know?

Ethan: The value of their skill sets. Most either overvalue or undervalue their skill sets. The best effective freelancers often undervalue, and the good self-marketers often overvalue. Neither are in touch with reality because their focus is often in another area. We are often convinced by the markets what our value is, but I disagree.



For example, I believe I'm of a certain value that the market might not be willing to pay yet, but I know where I stand once I work my magic, therefore I'm just trying to educate the market about the work that I do. If I depend on what others think of my work to decide my value, it'll fluctuate depending on whether someone knows how to appreciate my work, and that's what often happens to Freelancers.


I had a friend who both undervalued and overvalued her work. The market did value her a lot, but she felt like an imposter because she actually didn't value her work. It became a very confusing experience for her when she realised it. I believe her value is very real, but she had not found the best way to describe what she did, and therefore she went through a crisis of identity.


This is a very real problem for Freelancers.


Stroff: Can you share with us some stories you have about your interactions with freelancers? They can be funny, downright ridiculous, strange or unreasonable encounters. 

Ethan: Nothing off the top of my head most of the time as I minimise such negative encounters as much as possible. I feel for a lot of Freelancers who have tons of talent but a lack of clarity of their value. I often realise that they keep getting stuck because they don't know how to evaluate their worth nor do they know how to manage their productivity, so I often have to let them be.


However, I have met plenty of Freelancers who overinflate their worth, this is thanks to the multi-level marketing models and motivational speakers/coaching circuit.


A lot of them are re-packaging whatever products were trickled down to them through the system, and they are effectively freelance sales people. They keep selling the "business owner" or "freedom" perspective that is just annoying to deal with, and their lack of self-awareness worries me dearly for those who end up buying from them (I was one of them).


Oh and freelancers who quit their day job so that they have more control over their time and end up working a lot harder and more for a lot less, with no planning for the future. And it's always hard to get it into their skulls that they are limiting themselves.


Stroff: On a parting note, do you have anything else to add?

Ethan:  Freelancing is basically being your own boss, sales person, manager, accountant and everything all in, you need to know a little bit of everything. Any gaps in knowledge would cause you to be functional but not as effective as you can be. It is important to grow and think like a business owner eventually to really develop your career and your financials.


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What It Means to Work for a Startup (As a Fresh Graduate) - Part 6 of 6

Hi there, I am Agnes Goh, a recent graduate of NTU Wee Kim Wee School of Communications and Information and University Scholars Programme. In my previous four articles as part of this 6-part sequel, I have shared about my personal experiences as an undergraduate and fresh graduate. In this final article, I would like to share the ups and downs of starting my career in a startup. Choosing the unconventional path takes a lot of courage and by sharing my own story, I hope to encourage you in finding the career that you desire. 



Is The Startup Life For You? 

For young, ambitious working adults with a sense of adventure, a startup proves to have immense opportunities for growth and learning. 

Are you at the cross-junction, deciding whether to join a startup? 


One important check is to identify your own personality and career aspirations. In order to understand if a startup is really suitable, you need to be honest with yourself. 

Reflect on your strengths and weaknesses, understand your current family circumstances and very importantly, your priorities and key considerations. 


If you have clearly set out to embark on a lucrative career with structured progression, then a startup environment is unable to meet your goals. 

Or if you are looking forward to a stable job to support your family, neither will a startup be suitable for you. 


If you are hungry to learn and are willing to forgo some aspects of work-life balance, then a startup is worth considering. Just be mindful that every startup also has its own culture and management style. 


Understand The Startup Before Joining

While it is mostly true that startup can offer many learning opportunities, be vigilant in knowing the direction and long-term plans of the startup during your interviews before jumping in. There are many startups that are growing rapidly, with some emerged as successful business models, but also those that are struggling to survive. So take the necessary steps to research about the company’s profile and validate the information you have gotten before or after the interview. 



Managing Your Work Life In A Startup

If you have arrived at the decision to join a startup, then begin with an end in mind. 

Be willing to work hard for the company and treat yourself as a member of the core team. 

Being part of a young and dynamic team also means that you should be willing to take on duties outside of your expected job scope and help your colleagues whenever required.

It is okay to make mistakes because you grow and learn from them. But as much as possible, avoid making mistakes that could impact the company. Every decision and action of a member in the team will affect the company far more than in a MNC setting. 


In the event that you are really too overworked, be willing to communicate with the management team and try proposing feasible solutions. A major plus point of a startup is its flat hierarchy and open communication, so find out if the management team really values its employees and are willing to communicate openly. Should you realise that things have been taking a turn for the worst and communication is not doing its magic, then move on to consider a change of environment.


What’s Your Other Options? 



Consider alternative options that offer similar learning opportunities or environment as per a startup. Explore different company setting to identify the best fit, such as MNCs with small local offices that share a startup culture, or SMEs with a flat hierarchy (relative to big corporations) but offer more stability than a startup. Between startups, the culture can also vary depending on the founder and its origin country. Find out what’s the best fit for you!


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What It Means to Work for a Startup (As a Fresh Graduate) - Part 5 of 6

Hi there, I am Agnes Goh, a recent graduate of NTU Wee Kim Wee School of Communications and Information and University Scholars Programme. In my previous two articles as part of this 6-part sequel, I have shared about my personal experiences as an undergraduate and fresh graduate. In the final two articles, I would like to share the ups and downs of starting my career in a startup. Choosing the unconventional path takes a lot of courage and by sharing my own story, I hope to encourage you in finding the career that you desire.  



Choosing The Startup Path 

My decision to work for a startup was not favoured by many relatives and friends. 

Salary, job security and career progression were shaky. 

Personally, it was also contradictory to my initial goal of securing a good-paying job. 

And frankly speaking, a low starting pay was a huge concern. I’ve heard common advice on how a low pay in my first job will affect the next job offer (I hope not!)


As many put it, working for a startup is not for everyone. 


Sacrifices in The World of Startup

Choosing this unconventional path came with tremendous risks and stresses - mental stress of having to manage multiple roles and huge workload, physical stress of working long hours (during peak period) and financial stress of having to survive on an intern pay for some months. 




Many sacrifices had to be made - be it personal interests, material wants or social life. 

It takes a lot of passion, determination and discipline to keep up. 

Work benefits were minimal, progress (in terms of advancement) was limited. Given a volatile startup environment, hard work is not necessarily proportionate to returns. Being overworked and underpaid is common. 


With the fast turnover rate, manpower was hardly replaced and workflow was unstructured. 

I had to adapt fast and manage the additional workload - ranging from marketing, simple designing, sales and events etc. I had to be extremely organized and well-paced to continue performing at optimal amidst the “chaos”. 


Working hours was not necessarily long everyday, but I was never truly out of work. I was constantly on social media and handling email correspondences after working hours, during weekends and holidays especially when it’s event period. Not that it’s a must, but I felt accountable (you’re likely to feel it too).


Food For Thought: How Ready Are You to Work for a Startup? 


Opportunities in The World of Startup 

Of course, sacrifices came with many diverse learning opportunities, and growth. 

I challenged myself in ways I could never have imagined should I have chosen the “safe” path.

I was immediately put to test during my first week of work (as a fresh graduate) to roll out marketing and promotional efforts for the company’s largest festival of the year (close to 1,500 people!) 

I was challenged almost every single day, constantly learning about marketing trends, social media strategies and business dealings to accelerate my learning. 


It was stressful. 

I was constantly accountable for event ticket sales, website traffic and social media engagement. Any mistake I made could affect the company greatly.



But there was something new everyday.

I liaised with sponsors, vendors, influencers, media and experimented with different social media tools.  

I learnt about digital marketing, events liaising and management, sales pitching and fostering partnerships.

I took part in many events and met inspiring entrepreneurs!


Food For Thought: Are You Looking Forward to The Opportunities? 


How The Startup Life Nurtured Me

Every decision, no matter how small - and every member, no matter how new - are rudimentary to the company’s survival. 

Being part of a young and dynamic team, I was given a say. I could give feedback and meet clients on my own. I was constantly communicating very openly and working very closely with the management team, as well as being introduced to valuable insights of how businesses were managed. These translated into very useful skills and experiences that I could share and display during meetings, interviews and networking sessions. I believe the best story we could ever share, is our own personal experience. They’re unique, enriching and inspirational. 


3 Key Strengths I’ve Gained 

While I’m in the process of searching for a new full-time job, I’ve grown a lot from where I was six months ago prior to my working experience in the startup. 




As a problem solver - addressed customer dissatisfaction, proposed constructive feedback to improve workflow and system, crisis management

As a versatile learner - tested and validated my ability to pick up new roles fast and manage multiple projects simultaneously in a fast-paced environment

As an effective communicator - more confident to network, foster and manage relationships with clients 


The market is tough right now, I’m feeling it as a fresh graduate. But with valuable learning experiences in both startup and agency environment, I have learnt to present and articulate my thoughts better during interviews. 


Food For Thought: How Do You Wish To Grow?


What I’m Currently Doing

I’m actively on the lookout for suitable job openings, attending more interviews and meeting more people. 


Every interview attended is a door unlocked.

Every networking opportunity taken is a relationship forged. 

Every conversation with prospective employers is a lesson learned. 



I am constantly understanding what companies are looking out for and what the different industries entail. As much as I’m dealing with potentially more rejections and disappointment, I strongly believe that every journey is worth taking.

I keep myself abreast of new opportunities by utilising job search portals and updating my presence on fast-growing career platforms such as Linkedin for networking, Glassdoor for industry and company insights and Stroff for useful and applicable career guidance tips. 


Food For Thought: What Are You Doing To Help Yourself?


End of Part 5: Career Guidance for Fresh Working Adult


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What I Went Through as a Fresh Graduate - Part 4 of 6

Hi there, I am Agnes Goh, a recent graduate of NTU Wee Kim Wee School of Communications and Information and University Scholars Programme. Through my 6-part sequel, I will like to share my personal stories during my university education and post-graduation. Following my first article where I shared about my experiences as an undergraduate, I will be sharing some of the personal struggles I faced as a fresh graduate in my fourth article. Trust that you are not alone in your journey, enjoy the article.



Fresh Out of School - What’s Next? 

You are exhilarated by the moment of glory, wearing the graduation gown on stage.

The next moment you find yourself overwhelmed by feelings of insecurity. 

You start experiencing the realities of job search. 


There’s so much to start preparing yourself for - applications to send, series of interviews to attend, questions to ask.. 


There are many questions which, at the moment, you don’t have an answer to.

What exactly do you want as a career? 

Where should you apply to?

Can you get your desired pay? 


Job search is hardly smooth-sailing. It takes effort, patience and perseverance. 

Even if you are desperately looking for a job, give yourself some time to identify suitable opportunities instead of rushing into one (really, don’t rush into it). 


Think Broad, Research More 

If you are really lost at the start, think broader and widen your options. Based on the list of job postings you have encountered, start eliminating those industries and jobs which you definitely do not want. 



Come up with a list of job options that you are willing to take up. 


If you are not sure of what specific skills you can highlight in your resume, start identifying the available job positions with prerequisites that you satisfy (based on your degree, past internship experiences, softwares learnt during your coursework etc). 


As you view more job postings and send in more applications, you will soon get a better sense of important skill sets that are highly sought after by your prospective employers. To improve your chances of securing an interview, personalise your cover letter and highlight key experiences that the specific employer has listed in the job posting. 


Practice Makes Perfect, Even For Interviews


Being shortlisted to attend an interview is a good start. 


Other than making good use of online resources about interview tips, experiencing them first-hand is also an effective way. Meaning to say, as you attend more interviews, you perform better. From there, you familiarise yourself with the common interview questions, interview flow and structure. You find yourself getting comfortable in a seemingly stressful setting. You will gradually feel less uptight about having to over-prepare for the interview. Just know, what they want to find out is actually just YOU. Yes, you.


Be ready to share more about yourself - Your past education, internship experiences, personal interests and aspirations etc. That’s most likely the very first question they’ll ask. 

Unless the role requires demonstration of technical or specialised skill sets which involves tests and assessments, most interviews will have a personal touch to it. 


The best speaker is your true self. The best knowledge is self-awareness. 

This includes being able to articulate your strengths without over-promising your skill sets, and mentioning your weaknesses (if asked) while expressing genuine interest to overcome them. 

So, start finding out how much you know about yourself.


TWO Questions to Ask Yourself When Choosing a Job

Eventually, some offers will start coming in. The first one will take a while but trust yourself, more are coming. 


If you find yourself hesitating whether to accept an offer, consider based on factors that are important to you. It is too idealistic to expect your first job to meet every single requirement that you have laid out, so exercise your judgment realistically. 


1. What Matters MOST To You?

You can’t have everything (most of the time). So prioritise. 

Good starting pay, benefits, work-life balance, future career prospects, skills, company culture - what is the deciding factor for you..



A good-paying job at a bank can satisfy your financial needs but comes with long working hours. An entry level job at a creative agency may meet your personal interests but starting pay is lower compared to other corporate roles.

Landing a job at a startup provides great opportunities to learn but lacks financial stability. 

So be clear about what’s important to you. 


2. Are You The Main Pillar of Support For Your Family? 


You may have your personal interests to pursue but it is important to stay grounded and understand your circumstances. If opting for a startup role may affect your ability to support your family, you should lay out possible risks involved and consider a better-paying job of similar nature or industry. Considering that you are independent of financial stress, then it’s worthwhile to consider a job that will lead to good skill sets and prospects even if the starting pay may be less than your ideal. 


3 WAYS to Speed Up Your Job Search

If you are struggling to compete for the roles you desire, seek to understand and analyse your situation better.


1. Find Out What’s Lacking in Your Resume and Overcome Them.  

It might be that you lack certain technical skills that employers are looking for in a specific role, be it computer software skills or industry knowledge. Or you lack actual experiences to prove your skill sets.



In the event that you have those skills but didn’t mention in your resume, be sure to highlight them upfront and capture the employer's’ attention. If you don’t, adopt an action plan by taking online courses to enhance your competitiveness or conduct your own desk research. That way, you can at least demonstrate some basic understanding even though you have no experience (show your willingness to learn!).  


2. Give Examples to Validate Your Points

On the other hand, if you are confident of performing certain tasks but lack specific work examples, try coming up with personal scenarios such as final year project, coursework that can help prove your point and illustrate them in your cover letter. Be creative and resourceful!


3. Explore!

Or if you are still struggling to identify a job option that suits your personal interests, then consider alternatives. For all you know, there are other options that offer you a platform to apply similar skills, or further your expertise in similar areas. So explore, explore and explore. 


Along the way, there would be rejections you need to deal with. And also, many possibilities that you can unlock. So, learn to manage disappointment but stay hopeful of opportunities!


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What I Went Through as a Fresh Graduate - Part 3 of 6

Hi there, I am Agnes Goh, a recent graduate of NTU Wee Kim Wee School of Communications and Information and University Scholars Programme. Through my 6-part sequel, I will like to share my personal stories during my university education and post-graduation. Following my first two articles where I shared about my experiences as an undergraduate, I will be sharing some of the personal struggles I faced as a fresh graduate in my third article. Trust that you are not alone in your journey, enjoy the article. 



Fears of a Fresh Graduate

Closer to graduation, I asked myself if I’ve achieved “Success”. 

And what are indications of success? 


I didn’t get a first-class honours, neither have I secured a good-paying job before graduation.

These are not strict indications of success. 

But it’s hard to get them out of my head sometimes. 

Perhaps it’s societal expectations that are associated with an university degree. 

Or, simply my own expectations.


As a result, I felt the pressure of having to secure a job nearer to my final semester. 

I’ve heard so much about peers who landed good-paying jobs (especially in the banking and finance industry), and fellow scholar friends who had already secured jobs as part of their bond. 

I became more and more worried about my career prospects.


Food for Thought: Do You Feel the Same Way as I Did? 


The Reality of Job Search

Nevertheless, I still remained hopeful. Hopeful of exciting opportunities ahead. 

As a communications graduate, I wasn’t expecting an impressive starting pay as compared to other professional degree holders. As cliche as I may sound, I wanted a job which I would enjoy and earn a decent income. 


With that in mind, I started searching for jobs around April when I was close to finishing my final year project. I came by a few good opportunities but they were immediate hires which I could not commit to. I went full-force into my job search in end May, applying to marketing/social media/events related roles. 



I wasn’t extremely particular about industries, but job search wasn’t smooth sailing. 

I spent a significant amount of time each day, filtering job options and applying for them. 

I submitted applications after applications, went interviews after interviews, in hope of landing a suitable opportunity. This went on for a month.  


Food for Thought: How Have Your Job Search Been? 


Dilemmas I’ve Had in Accepting Job Offers

It took a while before the first offer came in. And eventually, I received several job offers. 

But I didn’t manage to secure my top few choices. 

Among the roles that I really wanted, they preferred experienced hires (with at least 2-3 working years) over fresh graduates. While I had several internships, certain companies didn’t regard them as real working experiences. In the event that they did accept fresh graduates, the roles were mostly temporary hires, trainees or contract-based. 



Among the offers that I had gotten, I assessed based on personal interest, job scope and learning prospects. I rejected those that were a mismatch for my interests and learning prospects. Eventually, I narrowed down to two options - a digital marketing role at a MNC versus a marketing & sales role at a startup. 


It appeared as if the decision was easy to make. 


The marketing role offered financial stability and very attractive benefits, it was obviously the ‘sensible’ decision to make. Yet the startup offered an ideal combination of offline and online marketing opportunities in an industry of my interest (but with a very humble intern pay). 


At that point, I was caught in between. 



As a fresh graduate full of drive and passion, I was intrigued by the immerse possibilities in a startup culture. What’s more, my family was not undergoing much financial stress at that point in time. After much deliberation, I seeked my parents’ support and decided to pursue the startup path. 


Food For Thought: If You Were Me, Which Option Would You Have Chosen?


End of Part 3: Career Guidance for Fresh Graduate


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What I Encountered as an Undergraduate - Part 2 of 6


Hi everyone, I am Agnes Goh, a recent graduate of NTU Wee Kim Wee School of Communications and Information (also from the pioneer University Scholars Programme). 

Through this 6-part sequel, I will like to share my personal stories as an undergraduate, fresh graduate and first-time working adult. From the frustrations and difficult times I went through, to how I came to overcome these challenges, I hope to encourage each of you who might be struggling with your undergraduate studies, feeling lost in your final year or finding your graduate jobs like me. I will be sharing more on my personal thoughts on my undergraduate experience in this second article.



University is next. What’s your choice?


Which Degree Do YOU Want?



It might take a while for you to decide which course to take. The one with more “future” as others would tell you, or the one you have more interest in?  


If you are at this junction, it is worth your time to think through what you truly want out of your degree.

Not because you will definitely end up doing what you are studying (since most likely you would not). But it will affect the group of people you get to meet, the industry-specific opportunities and insights you can get. 


If you are someone who’s open to diverse learning opportunities, juggling multiple roles, then a generalist degree (social sciences, communications etc.) may be worth considering.


If you have already decided on exactly what to pursue, going after a specialist degree (medicine, law, pharmacy etc.) seems more suitable. 


However, your decision does not stop there. 


What Does It Mean to be a Generalist

Find out how a generalist or specialist degree would impact you.


When you choose to be a generalist, be ready for the challenges ahead. Companies would most likely expect you to know (or be willing) to do many things outside your scope of work. Say, the role of a social media executive. It is not as straightforward as handling just social media. It is likely to include making sense of data and doing report. Likewise, an events executive is not all about fun and meeting people. You may need to be sales-driven and carry logistics. 



In current context, many industries have integrated. There is less and less boundary between marketing, sales, designing, social media and PR roles. Being a marketing executive also means you have to manage the social media, drive sales and hit certain targets. Or be expected to create simple graphic designs using design softwares as part of your designation. It varies from companies to companies, so there isn’t any hard and fast rule. But one thing for sure - you are expected to multi-task and deliver multiple tasks. 


What Does It Mean to be a Specialist

Being a specialist, on the other hand, is much more defined in terms of career path and progress. But it also implies that you need to commit to your decision. Really commit to it.

And it’s important to get a better understanding of the industry before entering. Let say your interest lies in medicine, take time to identify the type of medical practice you want to pursue as a long-term career. If you choose accountancy, know how the career structure works in the industry. 


Why Do Internships Matter?

Being able to make an informed choice then lies in how much you know, how much you’ve learned. 

There is just how much a lecture can teach you. And the rest is for you to explore. 

It is not just for your resume. It is for yourself. 

Nothing helps more than experiencing it. 


Apart from meeting industry leaders and seniors, internships provide an entire learning experience. It helps you to have better understanding and expectations. Besides gaining skills in your designated role, you get to build relationships and experience the team dynamics within the company. You learn by doing, observing, interacting and questioning - everything that you need. 

From each experience, you learn more about yourself. What you are good at, how can you improve and also, what you really enjoy doing. 


Personal Thoughts

For me, internships helped to manage my expectations about a job. 



In the past, I used to have an overly idealistic image of advertising - I get to copywrite, come up with big ideas, or develop a fun campaign. But there’s SO much more to it. Being an account servicing intern in the past, I was exposed to a lot of nitty gritty details. The communication flow, tedious planning, administrative groundwork etc. There’s a lot more labour and sweat before the fun comes. Deliverables and job scope would also differ depending on specific roles and client accounts involved. There is no fun without hardship, no excitement without boredom. So as you are intrigued by the fun side of things, be ready to embrace the mundane and challenging side. 


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What I Encountered as an Undergraduate - Part 1 of 6

Hi everyone, I am Agnes Goh, a recent graduate of NTU Wee Kim Wee School of Communications and Information (also from the pioneer University Scholars Programme). 

Through this 6-part sequel, I will like to share my personal stories as an undergraduate, fresh graduate and first-time working adult. From the frustrations and difficult times I went through, to how I came to overcome these challenges, I hope to encourage each of you who might be struggling with your undergraduate studies, feeling lost in your final year or finding your graduate jobs like me. Have a read on my very first article where I share about what I have been through as an undergraduate in a top Singapore university. 



Opting for a General Degree

With a Junior College education, moving on to university was a sensible option for me. It didn’t take me long to decide what I wanted to pursue, since I had already decided to venture into the media industry before taking ‘A’ Levels. I spoke to some seniors, did some research and eventually decided to apply to NTU Wee Kim Wee School of Communications and Information. 


It was an easy decision, but I won’t call it an easy path. Some of my close relatives advised me to pursue more professional degrees (medicine or accountancy) as expected. While some recommended double degrees. Though my parents were supportive of my decision, my mother would have preferred me to pursue dentistry. 


Deep down, they were worried about my career prospects. 

So do I.


Food For Thought…  Would You have Chosen a Generalist or Specialist Degree?


Complications of a General Degree

The concerns they had were the fear I had. 


Given the nature of Singapore’s media industry, communications degree is not highly sought after compared to other professional degrees. A specialist is much preferred over a generalist under most circumstances. But at the point, I wanted to go with my passion and make the most out of it. 


I’ve always been someone who knew what I wanted. Or at least, knew what I didn’t want. Though I didn’t regret my choice, there were instances where I doubted myself. As I progressed year after year, the “obligations” to figure out my career aspirations grew heavier. 


In my first year, I was taught mostly on foundational courses about communication theories. I enjoyed them, but they were abstract. Moving on to year two, there were more specific specialisations to consider but there were too many things I wanted to try.


I’m interested in building rapport with people. PR?

I enjoy writing and designing. Advertising? 

I feel excited by big ideas and strategies. Branding and marketing? 


More and more questions popped up. I kept my options very open and it became part of the reason why I was constantly feeling unsettled, unsure of what I could really do as a living. I felt that I was a jack of all trades, but master of none. I didn’t have a niche. I started going for internships to gain new skills, hoping to get a clearer idea of what I could do. 


Food For Thought… What Do You Really Want To Do?


Taking Up Multiple Internships

I took up my very first internship as a CRM Marketing intern in an e-commerce. It was a position that helped me to gain some understanding of consumer data analytics, html and copywriting. 



Then I moved on to explore the advertising scene as an account servicing intern at one of Singapore’s biggest advertising agencies. I also took up a part-time internship in a startup, alongside other ad-hoc opportunities like freelance writing and events management to gain more exposure.  


Food For Thought… What Skills Do You Want To Learn? 


Personal Thoughts

Every internship was fruitful in its own way. I picked up new skills and met talented people in the industry. More importantly, I gained some industry knowledge about marketing and advertising. 


However, I was still a little lost. I had some skills to offer. But I wasn’t exactly sure of the type of companies and job scope to apply for. The more I’ve explored, the broader my options became.

I don’t feel ready enough to enter the workforce. Maybe I never would, I wonder. 


End of Part 1: Career Guidance for Undergraduates 




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Searching and Applying for Diploma and Degree Courses in Singapore Made Easy

With a plethora of school and course options, Singapore's private education landscape is diverse and well-developed. Faced with overwhelming choices, students are inevitably having trouble processing and evaluating information on all the education providers available in order to make a fully informed decision on their educational path. Furthermore, potential applicants have to deal with an antiquated application process with each school, further exacerbating their inconvenience. 



Here are the reasons why finding schools and courses in Singapore is so time consuming.


1. An array of choices


For a small country like Singapore, it is an intriguing fact that we have more than 300 private education providers. This is not including the local junior colleges, polytechnics and universities. Other than the better known providers, students local and especially overseas will find it daunting to search for much less evaluate all the choices available to them. This is a disservice to students as they should at the very least know what their options are.


2. Limited marketing dollars


It is not a secret that Singapore education providers are finding it difficult to keep their doors open as more and more students flood to neighbouring countries like Malaysia, Thailand, China as their government ramp up efforts to be recognised as the new educational hubs in Asia and the general lower cost of living. Faced with intense local and overseas competition, schools have to cut back their spending on marketing which will further limit their reach to potential students. 


3. Tedious application process


Many private education providers in Singapore do not have a robust online platform for students to apply for their courses directly. Students either have to go through a student agent or go down to the physical administrative office to submit their applications. With the proliferation of smart devices and internet connectivity combined with the online savviness of potential students, the current application process is not viable anymore. There needs to be an entire overhaul to streamline the application process to meet the expectations of these students.



The glaring gaps in the industry are exactly why there is a need to have a direct course application platform for students to apply to the course of their choice. A platform like SchoolBuzz nimbly consolidates all the information required by a potential student on a single platform and streamlines the application process into a singular channel, cutting out most of the hassle associated with applying for education courses. 



Once students have narrowed down their choices, they would no longer have to face the tedious process of applying and submitting documents to each school individually. SchoolBuzz allows the submission of application forms and supporting documents to our partner schools for admission purposes, so students can complete all their applications via our online platform simultaneously. 


To add to that, similar to a traditional student agent, we provide educational advice to students to steer them in the right direction. We work with numerous private schools in Singapore as it is free to market on our platform which exponentially expands the choices available to our users. 


The habits, behaviour and expectations of young students in and coming to Singapore have changed and are still rapidly changing. The old process of reaching out to students and having them apply for courses is not as effective as before. There needs to be a combined effort by private schools in Singapore to take advantage of channels that serve this modern forward thinking group of young people. 


Source: Guest Post by, a diploma and degree online platform that partners with more than 40 schools in Singapore offering more than 1000 courses of all levels and across a wide range of subjects on our platform.

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Stroff Recommends: Nordic Business and Design Case Competition


Are you an ambitious undergraduate or graduate student currently enrolled in a Southeast Asian university? Would you like to win an all-expenses-included trip to Finland to network with the top European business leaders? 



If your answer is “YES” to both questions, here is your chance: Sign up for the prestigious Nordic Business and Design Case Competition today! 



The Nordic Business and Design Case Competition 


We all know that the Nordic countries are strong in design and design thinking. Organized by Design Finland 100, the Nordic Business and Design Case Competition is specially set up to build a bridge between Finland and Southeast Asia.  


Our mission is to share the story of Finnish design. Here, we have four themes related to design: Product Design, Service design, Digital Design and Design as Strategy. 


According to the Bloomberg Innovation Index 2015, Finland was ranked No.1 in innovation globally. Innovation influences design greatly--The key drivers of great Finnish design come from its strong focus on innovation, growth, digitalisation and strategy. 


The Nordic Business and Design Case Competition is a true learning experience for students. It prepares you for working life by giving you valuable opportunities to learn through real-life business cases. 

The theme this year is: "How do we bring strategic growth for Finnish companies in Southeast Asia"? 


The Nordic Business and Design Case Competition also offers all participants opportunities to create strong networks of future business contact—with both fellow participants and also the top European industry practitioners and thought leaders. 


Best of all: Participation in the 5 days online case competition is absolutely free for our participants. And because it is online, it is also super easy for students to participate. The best teams will win all-inclusive trips to the "Design Drives Business" Seminar in Helsinki, Finland, in August 2017!! 


If you are an ambitious student who wants to challenge your boundaries, have fun and expand your business network, hesitate no more.


Sign up for the Nordic Business and Design Case Competition now!


(Feature Picture courtesy of Jussi Hellsten,

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Interview with Dylon Sim (Chairperson, Global Economic and Property Investment Convention 2017)

Today, Stroff is extremely privileged to interview the chairperson of the Global Economic and Property Investment Convention 2017 (GEPIC), Dylon Sim. Dylon is a 16 year-old who believes in endless learning, seeking and compassion for the less fortunate. In this interview, Dylon shares with us some of the challenges he had faced during the process of organizing GEPIC. You can also feel free to connect with Dylon at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.




Stroff: Hello Dylon! Can you tell us more about yourself and what you are doing? 


Dylon: Hi, I am 16 this year, graduated from Montfort Secondary School and I am the organizing chairman of Global Economic and Property Investment Convention 2017. We call it GEPIC2017. 

GEPIC2017 is an economic and property investment convention, which attracts over 1000 Professionals, Management, Executives and Technicians (PMETs) annually, to provide them insight by industries leaders in the fields of economic and property.


This year we are fortunate and honored to have invited: 

Mr. Song Seng Wun, a renowned economist and director at CIMB research. He also has over 33 years of practice in the field of Finance and Economy;

Mr. Sam Baker, founder of SRX property and Streetsine Technology. He uses a system of big data analytics which helped realtors accurately price a property according to market data; and

Mr. Charlie Ang, a prominent business futurist, he has founded over 3 different organization, which helped many businesses prepare for the influx of technology.



Stroff: Property and Investment seem like really heavy topics—what do you think is the relevance of these themes to young adults or PMETs?


Dylon: Well, we think that professionals across all industries can relate to Economic trends. There have been quite a few Black Swan events recently, ranging from President Donald Trump winning the US elections, to UK wanting to leave the European Union. 

GEPIC helps our local professionals make sense of these events, so that they can infer and analyse how macro-trends relate specifically to their industries. From there, they can then innovate and do more amazing things. 



Stroff: Wow, we also hear that you are only 16 years old! What makes you want to chair this event that takes such a huge commitment? 


Dylon: What actually motivates me to take on such a huge commitment was when I recalled my past humanitarian mission trips in Chiang Rai Thailand.

Sometimes, there is even a lack of basic necessities, such as light and water. Yet, we still see faces and smiles that glowed so brightly even though people there lacked many resources that we tend to take for granted. 

Recalling that has kept me motivated to take on this project.

Aside to that, I also wanted to learn something about entrepreneurship and investment after my “O” Levels. And that was why I met up with Dr. Patrick Liew, who gave me this project. Thus far it has been a rewarding and challenging journey, and I am grateful for my team and all the help rendered. 

All in all, as human beings, we are all one big family. So why not combine charity and useful Economic insights, all for the greater good of society? 


Stroff: What are some of the biggest challenges in managing such a huge event? And how do you manage, since it is your first time doing?


Dylon: The biggest challenge is simply, teamwork coordination and the freedom of planning.

What I mean is the following: There are many ways of doing things, and when we work with a team, we have to coordinate and adapt to the different ways things are being done. 

You see, in school, many of the task that we undertake are usually ‘solo’ work. That is, you do things your way and bear the consequences. There is no need to change your work and efforts to complement another person’s. 

As I moved up to becoming the organizing chairman for GEPIC 2017, I realized that there was much more to that then what I could undertake on my own.

Therefore I am very thankful to my capable team which has helped me throughout the entirety of the project. Without them, frankly we would not be able to achieve such success as we did today.




Stroff: What is the one key takeaway you have so far in chairing this event? 


Dylon: One key takeaway, would certainly be leadership.

I came to realized that without strong capable leadership, we will not be able to get anything done. 

Even with the most capable organizers, salesman or speakers, without a strong leader to manage and execute, nothing will ever happen.



Stroff: What is a good leader to you?


Dylon: A good leader to me is someone who has a vision, and executes actions in the direction of the vision. In other words, he dreams and foresees about something, and has the ability to guide his people in the direction of the vision. 




Stroff: Do you think age is an issue in doing big things in Singapore? 


Dylon: I believe that age could be both a blessing and a curse.

Why a blessing, you might ask?

• People whom you meet tend to be more forgiving. Even though they might say “Oh you are just 16”, which might not always sound nice, the flip-side of the coin is that they might tend to forgive the mistakes you might make.

• Business owners tend to be more willing to teach you. They are more willing to talk to you, if you are willing to listen. In general, they are more willing to help and guide you through this journey, due to age.

You will generally receive more help and guidance being young.


And why is it a curse? 

• Well, some people might not take you seriously. In some cases, when people see that you are of a certain age, they might sometimes dismiss you just because you are young. 

What I do then is simply to forget about my age, and step up as a leader to take charge. For example, I will tell this group of people in a logical way that this set of tasks is what has to be done. 


Dylon: So what are some things a young ambitious youth like yourself should look out for? Do you have any advice for them?

• Seek guidance beyond all ambition.

• We are prompt to failure and it is okay. Let us always seek advice on how to improve. I have had my share of failures from this project and we will always learn. I know this sounds really cliché, but if you let your failures determine you, it is a dead-end. Instead, learn from your failures and try not to make the same mistake twice. Move on! 

• Never stop learning; someone will definitely be better than you in a certain aspect. Learn from them.



Stroff: What are the some tips for young people to be able to get this sort of opportunities? Some young folks are ambitious like yourself, however it seems like they don't know how to do things. 




• Don’t be afraid to ask. 

For my case, I asked Dr. Patrick Liew quite long ago, way before the start of my “O” levels, for a job and some ways to learn business and entrepreneurship. 


• Don’t be afraid to try.

To be honest, when Dr. Patrick Liew first asked me to do this project involving 1000 over people, I was really scared. Imagine this scenario: You just finished “O” Levels, used to being spoonfed and operating within your comfort zone. 

And suddenly, a person you respect told you, “Okay, here is a conference you will be chairing and it will involve over 1000 people, do it well.” That will seem really daunting at the start!

However, I went home and thought through it. “Why not give it a try? What is the worst thing that could happen?” 

So, don’t be afraid to try! 


• Don’t be afraid to fail.

Frankly I have been through a lot of scoldings and hardships. Ha-ha! 

Let me give you an example: After setting up several appointments to urge people to attend your event, you will expect a higher turnout. So when the turnout is not as high as expected, I will regard it as a failure.

However, when I told Dr. Patrick Liew about my reflections and experiences, he will suggest that I do things in alternative manners, so I learn from there. So don’t take the various outcomes personally, and find alternative ways to do things in a better manner. 



Stroff: On a parting note, do you have anything else to add?          


Dylon: One important takeaway for me is to never stop learning. I have learnt so much from these few months working on this GEPIC2017 project! There is something new to learn from everyone every day. There is always someone better than you at something, so seek them out and learn from them!               

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5 Reasons Why Millennials Can Consider Learning The Virtue Of Patience

“Patience is power.

Patience is not an absence of action;

rather it is "timing"

it waits on the right time to act,

for the right principles

and in the right way.” 

― Fulton J. Sheen


As millennials, we live in an era of instant gratification. Everything is NOW, NOW, NOW




Want friends? Head to Facebook and Instagram to get likes—Social Media approval is now the new norm! Do we want a date? No worries—simply proceed to Tinder. Hungry and want food? Just call for food delivery and it will be sent right to your doorstep in a blink of an eye. 


Indeed, technology has made our lives so much better, faster and efficient. Yet, why do so many of us feel so empty? The answer lies in our lack of patience for things that we might consider important. Today, we feature 5 reasons why millennials can consider learning the virtue of developing patience.




Reason #1. Patience allows you to develop great skillsets that leads to a strong foundation. This strong foundation will lead to success.


Thomas Edison once said, “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realise how close they were to success when they gave up.” 


If you are sure of a skill you want to develop and are passionate about, don’t give up! Always remember to persist in your goals and dreams. Set up a system and work towards the bigger picture. Resist the urge for instant gratification, that we all have been so used to. 


Slow and steady wins the race is almost always true when it comes for foundations!



Reason #2: Patience is linked to focus. 



Contrary to society’s pressure that you must achieve X number of things at Y age, the reality is that life is long. Very long, in fact. 


You can take time to find yourself—there is no need to rush. Remember, it is always better to live life on your terms rather than live life in accordance to the standards set by others. 


When you are younger, you can explore and fail a lot! When you fail a lot, you can learn many good things about what you can do and cannot do. This will help you focus on what you are truly passionate about, and help you choose things. 



Reason #3: Patience leads to spectacular results. 



Bruce Lee once said, “I fear not the man who has practised 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practised one kick 10,000 times”. Patience does lead to spectacular results—the man who has practised the one kick 10,000 times can undoubtedly deliver the kick way better than the former. 


And we all know that people with higher quality in their work often stand out. And to obtain this higher quality of work, patience is needed. So be patient and practise a lot! 



Reason #4: Patience is all about right time, right place, right principles. 



Sometimes waiting a bit will solve a lot of problems. 


Everything has its place and time, and happens for a good reason. If you rush or skip steps, you might be missing out on a lot of good or better things in life! Doing things prematurely can sometimes be detrimental to your career path because it will lead to you missing out on a lot of opportunities. 


Therefore, be patient, observe, and act only when the time is right. 



Reason #5: Patience will help you develop more meaningful relationship. 



Patience is linked to giving your time the space and time to find yourself. 


If you don’t take the time to find yourself or know what your strengths and weaknesses are, you might feel really empty later in your life because you lack a sense of purpose in what you do. 


Patience will also allow you to enjoy more of life and develop more meaningful relationships. 


For example, instead of wanting to “skip steps” and find a mate through Tinder, why not go out physically to make friends, and see who you get along with? 


Instead of ordering takeouts or eating “fast-foods”, why not try your hand in making a meal for someone you love? 


Instead of turning to Facebook for social approval, why not make friends in real life? Face pain, disappointment, joy, happiness, excitement together in person—with great patience.



Conclusion: Live life on your pace, on your own terms.



Don't be made flustered by people around you who expect you to do certain things by certain age, or condemn you if you don’t do certain things by certain age.


Live life on your terms, at your pace. It is okay to slow down. Life is very long.

Stroff Portal

Freelance Professional – An Alternative to a Full Time Career?

Every other day a news article pops up, lamenting about how millennials and working adults are gravitating away from traditional full-time positions to do freelance or part-time work that will give them more flexibility.



The truth is, the freelance career is fast becoming a reality for many young adults (and even experienced PMEs) due to a less stable world economy and more number of graduates entering the workforce yearly. With more people competing for less vacancies, young adults are increasingly depending on gigs for income.


So how does one thrive in the “gig economy”? Here are some ways you can establish yourself as a “skilled freelancer”:-



1. Put Yourself Out There


Just like with any other job search, freelancers should actively look for opportunities and job advertisements. Yet there is another more passive way that freelancers can obtain gigs, by listing themselves on related websites.


STROFF ( is a great avenue to do this, as many potential clients have a presence on the professional networking website. List your previous experience on the site, and be sure to include the word “Freelance” in your present position title, which makes your profile more visible when potential clients search for freelancers to work on their projects.


Besides Stroff, you can also create profiles on other niche sites that are specifically for your chosen industry. For instance, if you are a freelance writer, you should consider portals that cater specifically for writing gigs.



2. Know Your Worth


Navigating clients’ budgets and your personal monetary expectations can be tough, especially if you and the client don’t see eye to eye. There might be instances where clients may even suggest you do work for free, in return for exposure for your work.


It might be tempting to agree to a lower sum than what you expected, for fear that the client might decide to engage someone else with a cheaper price tag. While freelance rates vary from person to person, it depends on a large variety of factors.



When deciding the lowest sum that you’re willing to work for, consider the following factors:


• How much experience do you have? A freelancer with 10 years of experience will definitely be able to charge more than someone who is just starting out.

• How much work does the project require? A project spanning several months will cost a lot more than a project that you can finish within a few hours.

• How much do you think the client is willing to pay? This might sound tricky, but different clients are willing to pay vastly different fees, depending on the size of the company and the urgency of the project. One good way to establish this is to ask the client if they have a specific budget for the project.



3. Get Everything Down In Black And White


Freelance work differs from full-time work in one very important aspect – you don’t have the same protection that most full-time staff have. This is especially true when it comes to payment.


You’ve done the work for the client, responded to all their emails and met their deadlines, and now all that is left is for them to pay you. Except they have suddenly stopped replying to your messages, and you’re left wondering what is happening and how you can recover the money owed to you.


Make sure to keep a record of all correspondence with the client, including telephone calls. One way you can do this is to take notes of what was discussed in phone calls, and reiterate the points in a follow-up email after the call. Once the work is done, you should send the client a detailed invoice listing down the work done, the amount owed to you, as well as the latest date for the client to make payment by. This way, you will at least have evidence to support your claims if there is a dispute.

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The 7 Scenarios that You are in the Right Job (Even if You Don't Feel Like It)


Hi folks! We are at the beginning of the new year, and today’s post is on the 7 scenarios that you are in the right job even though you don’t feel like it. 


We millennials and working adults often wonder if we are in the right job—how do we know we are not missing out on something even better? To answer this question, you will find in this post some guidelines on what to look out for. Enjoy!




Scenario No. 1: The Economy is bad, but you can still afford to dine at fancy restaurants.


Maybe your job is really boring. However, after paying for your monthly student loans, you find that you are still able to dine at fancy restaurants. 


That’s not it—you can still afford long-haul holidays to Europe, Japan or Korea, or buy luxury items for your parents. 


If that’s the case—you’re probably in the right job for the time being, even if it is boring! Try to learn as much as possible; leave only if you find yourself unable to ask for new responsibilities. 



Scenario No. 2: Your salary is not high, but you have great colleagues.  


Perhaps your salary is not that high for the time being, but you have great colleagues. You find that there is awesome teamwork and great results are produced as a result. You learn and grow professionally and personally with your teammates. Office politics is kept to the minimum. 


If that is the case, you are in the right job even though your salary is not high for the time being! Give the job a shot for 1-2 years to gain experience and learn more about human nature and work relationships. It will all pay off in the end. 



Scenario No. 3: Your salary is not high, but you have flexibility with your job. 


If you are someone who is a night owl like many of us at Stroff are, you will definitely appreciate this flexibility that comes with your job. 


Flexibility can mean working whenever and wherever you want to.  If you are fresh out of graduation and still unsure about what you want to do, it might even be a good idea to work as a freelancer. Granted, the entry rates for freelancing might not be high, but you have the space to experiment with the types of tasks you are interested and competent at. 


Furthermore, you won’t have to sacrifice your social life—freelancing right after graduation can be a great transition to a full time career as a freelancer, a career in a huge corporation, or even the start of an exciting entrepreneurship journey!



Scenario No. 4: You don’t worry about your job during your free time. 


Have you ever spoken to peers who talk about office politics during meetups? If you find yourself at peace during such social outings and not talking about work at all, then it might be a sign that you are in the right job. 


The right job empowers you to not worry during your free time, so that you can spend more time doing hobbies that truly make you happy, too.



Scenerio No. 5: You don’t get paid a lot, but you have great mentors. 


Great mentors are professionals who are willing and able to guide you in your career path. This is defined as them knowing where to focus your attention and efforts on, not stealing the credit for your work, and defining a good direction for you to move towards.  


Great mentors who place your interests at first priority are pretty rare to find, so if you have found them, it might be worthwhile to stay in the job for some time. 



Scenario No. 6: You are given a lot of responsibilities.


You might be really busy and given a lot of responsibilities. Sometimes it might seem overwhelming, and sometimes it might even seem that you are underpaid. 


However, it is only via challenging your own boundaries that you grow. Therefore, being given huge responsibilities can be seen as a great sign that you are in the right job. 



Scenario No. 7: It’s a really cool job and you know in your gut that you have the power to make it cooler! 


You know you are in a “cool” job, and everyone around you thinks that your job is “cool”. Sure, people who are not in the industry don’t usually see the hard work behind the scene and they think it is all easy. 


What other people think is not important—what is essential is that you know you have a cool job and you are willing to do whatever it takes to make it even cooler! It’s not everyday that people find a job that they enjoy and feel passionate about, so be thankful that you have found the right job for yourself! :)


We hope you have enjoyed this post. Have fun in your job!

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Stroff Portal

2016 Reflections: A 20 Year Old’s Dream to Excel in a Fast Paced Startup (Bethia Wee)


“Hey Bethia, what are you doing now?”

 “I’m working in a start up!”

 “Just graduated from university?”

 “No, I’m 20 and I graduated from Ngee Ann Polytechnic”

 “Ohhhh… You sure you want to continue with this? Why?” 


People's responses have been surprising, and it made me realize how superficial we all are in foreseeing the success of a person. I can’t remember the number of times I have had this conversation. Most people assume that this 20-year old didn’t do well enough at school, and is probably too lazy to further her studies. Yeah? I struggle to explain it sometimes. Nevertheless, the truth remains that my decision not to conform to a conventional way of life has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. 


Surely back when I was still in school, there was a time where I aimed to simply secure a spot in a local university, just like most of my classmates. Yet fate found me heading a different direction when I found myself receiving a job opportunity for the position as a marketing executive in one of South East Asia’s fastest growing startup, KFIT. The marketing manager from the HQ had identified my skill set a good fit for the available position. Thus during my last semester in the Polytechnic, I participated in a Skype interview and decided that I was ready to take up the challenge of solving real-world issues through the development of a product in a startup.



I was employed full-time in February 2016 and had taken on the role of exploring marketing opportunities to grow our base of users. I hustled day and night continuously, which made my friends wonder why I had so much work, or if it was my company's expectation of us to work such long hours. It was none of that, though. I was not asked to work in the night or do everything that I was doing. I just never saw myself as "just an employee" of the company. I felt like I had a responsibility to make things work and often took it upon myself to ensure the plan's execution would be effective; which gave me a great sense of satisfaction and fulfillment. This encouraged me to get involved in projects beyond my job obligations. Sharing ideas with my direct boss and team, identifying areas for improvement and opportunities for sales and exposure drove my passion for my work. I soon realized that I treated the company like my own as its growth gave me a vision. I was happy doing what I do. 


Working in a startup has seen me learn the ability to wear multiple hats, work across teams and product areas comfortably. The constant challenge and change excites me; in fact, I might dare say that this might be one of the biggest benefits of working in a startup. A start up therefore would not be an ideal place for one with a mindset of wanting to be a regular employee waiting to fulfill orders and be micro-managed by superiors. 


 The team in KFIT is insanely adaptable, functioning as a family with a never-give-up mentality. We work with a purpose and aim to excel in a learning environment. I am proud to say that we would have acquired both Groupon Indonesia and Malaysia from December 2016, which consists of strong engineering, marketing, operations and other supporting teams to build the best lifestyle platform for the masses. Not to mention that we are led by good leaders - Joel Neoh and Chen Chow.



We also launched our newest product FAVE as an expansion into F&B in July 2016. Together with my colleagues, we have built a supply of over 450 partners for our user base to discover. Some of our tie-ups include top brands Hard Rock Cafe International, Bangkok Jam from Creative Eateries, and many others.



 "This person is THE honeybager.

Uses the youth and charm to get things done around here.

Excelled in marketing and took up challenge on winning in sales.

No prior experience, barely 20 years old very quickly became the top salesperson in the region!"



To the end 2016, I look forward to the best learnings - knowledge and skill, going to good use. Hello, 2017!


Credits: This article was reproduced in its entirety with the kind permission of Bethia Wee. The original article can be found here

Stroff Portal

Best Resume Formats for Undergrads and Graduates

Your Resume Format is like the skeleton of your curriculum vitae/resume, and it plays a significant role in how the information is received by prospective employers.


There are three main types of resume formats: (i) the Chronological Resume, (ii) the Functional Resume and (iii) the Combination Resume.




We will first take you through (A) a quick summary of each of these CV formats, and then give you some (B) tips and advice on how to choose a format that works best for students or new graduates like you.





1. Chronological Resume

  • Most common resume format used
  • Information is organized in reverse chronological order according to work history
  • Accomplishments are written under the headings of employment history (dates and places of employment, job titles)



2. Functional Resume

  • May be preferred by individuals with problematic work history or those with very little prior experience
  • Information is organized according to skills and achievements that are most relevant for the position being applied for
  • Either leaves out employment history or lists it only briefly in a separate section, usually at the bottom



3. Combination Resume

  • Combination of the chronological and functional resume formats
  • Similar to the chronological resume format, it presents work history in reverse chronological order
  • However, skill sub-headings are used under each job title to group the key achievements in each role





i. Most employers prefer the Chronological Resume format

Most employers prefer the Chronological Resume Format as it is reader-friendly and clearly displays the candidate's job history and experiences .

The second most preferred format is the Combination Resume Format.

On the other hand, the Functional Resume Format is usually not well received by employers as they feel doubtful about the candidate and wonder if he/she is trying to hide something about his/her employment history.



ii. "But I have very little work experience! Should I use the functional resume format?"

The advice out there is to avoid using the Functional Resume Format, unless you satisfy certain conditions. One of the commonly stated conditions is if you are a student or fresh graduate and hence, have relatively little work experience.


If you are reading this, you probably fit into this criterion. Should you then follow this advice and use the Functional Resume Format?

PRO: On the one hand, the Functional Resume may be advantageous because it accentuates your skills and accomplishments instead of work history (or lack thereof)-especially if you have little prior experience or if you have many disconnected stints (e.g. babysitting, private tuition, etc.)

CON: On the other hand, the Functional Resume is going quite severely out of fashion. The suspicion that it may arouse in your prospective employers may outweigh the advantage of highlighting your skills.



iii. OUR TAKE:

We suggest that if you have at least some amount of work experience through internships or part time jobs (which is usually the case, even for students or young graduates like you), try to use the chronological resume format.



Q: "Well, I do have work experience but it's just a couple of unimpressive and random jobs!"

A: Don't underestimate your work experience, even if it may seem menial. Often, students assume that only internships and jobs that sound impressive could appeal to employers, which is usually not the case. Look back on your work experiences with an open mind, and you may find that there is in fact a wealth of transferable skills that you demonstrated and/or acquired, which you can include in your resume.

(Refer to Tip #2 of How to Write a Resume for more on how to present your work experiences effectively.)



Q: "I still feel that I have insufficient experience."

Q: "I would like to try a more unconventional format and have a more interesting resume!"

A: If you still feel that you have insufficient prior experience, or if you feel like you would like to give a breath of fresh air to your resume, we recommend that you try the Combination Resume Format, which gives more emphasis on the different skills you demonstrate in each previous job position.



Q: "Under what circumstances then should I use the Functional Resume?"

A: Our suggestion is to avoid the functional resume format as far as possible.

  • Even if you have no work experience to speak of, you can still write about other experiences like volunteer work and CCA activities.
  • If your reason for using the Functional Resume is because you want your resume to be unconventional, we recommend using the Combination Resume instead; it is clearer to read and will not incur as much, if any, suspicion.
  • But if you really wish to use the Functional Resume Format, we suggest that to increase the credibility of your resume, you should insert a section including a list of the dates and titles of prior employment (if any). In addition, try to specify in brackets beside each skill/ accomplishment the job position (or volunteer work etc.) in which you acquired or displayed that particular skill.



Use the Chronological Resume Format, or the Combination Resume Format.

i. When you can, use the Chronological Resume Format.

Most employers like convention (at least with regard to resumes, which they usually have to plough through in large volumes!) and prefer easy-to-read, reliable ways of organizing the information on a resume - hence the preference for the chronological resume. We suggest that this is the case even for students or recent graduates.

To make the most of this format, learn to present what seems like a relatively sparse and unimpressive professional history in a way that demonstrates the wealth of skills that could bring value to your prospective employer.


ii. The next best option is the Combination Resume Format, which is a good choice if ...

You feel that you have insufficient prior experience and/or would like to provide more elaboration into the skills involved in each role;

You would like to try a more unconventional format.

Read the next section on "How to Format Your Resume" for detailed information on what to include in each type of resume.


Stroff Portal

How to Write Your Cover Letter (for Internships and Graduate Jobs)

Most experts would agree that the cover letter is an important part of getting a job - possibly as important as the resume. Many employers read the cover letter before looking at the resume, and some may even disregard the resume if they are dissatisfied with the cover letter.

To help Tertiary Students or Young Graduates like yourself navigate the potentially tricky step of writing your cover letter for your Internships and Graduate Jobs in Singapore, this section contains useful advice on (A) How to Format Your Cover Letter, (B) What Each Paragraph of Your Cover Letter Should Include, and (C) Additional Tips for Writing a Good Cover Letter.




Your cover letter should be no more than one page in length. Although sending cover letters through snail mail is becoming less common, many job applications require you to attach the cover letter as a separate attachment, in which case it is good practice to still adhere to the standard business letter format.

For some applications, though, you are asked only to email your resume. In this case, you may decide to use the body of your email as your cover letter. In this section, we include guidance on how to format a standard cover letter as well as formatting an email cover letter.


(i) Formatting a Cover Letter

Your cover letter should contain the following sections:-



At the top of the page, you should have a header that includes your name and address, followed by the date on a separate line. For example:


Jenny Tan

123 Tampines Street 2

Singapore 123456

14 October 2008


Reference section

After that, you may want to include a reference section; for example:

RE: abc position at xx company



This would then be followed by an opening salutation. For example,

Dear Mr. Ang:


Dear Hiring Manager:


Body of Cover Letter

After the salutation, you can proceed to write the body of the cover letter. For tips on what to include in the body, refer to the next section "Content of Your Cover Letter".


Final Salutation

At the end of your cover letter, include a final salutation and your name. For example,

Best regards,



[Your name]



(ii) Formatting an Email Cover Letter

An email cover letter would look slightly different from a cover letter sent via attachment or snail mail. Here is how to format a cover letter sent in the body of an email.


Subject line: Application for xx Job Position

State clearly the job position that you are applying for in the subject of your email.



Open your email with a salutation. For example,

Dear Mr. Ang,


Dear Hiring Manager, (if you do not know the person's name)


Body of Cover Letter

After the salutation, you can proceed to include the body of the cover letter.For tips on what to include in the body, refer to the next section "Content of Your Cover Letter".


Final Salutation

At the end of your email, include a final salutation, followed by your name and contact details. For example,



Your Name

Mailing Address


HP number

Stroff Online Resume Profile URL / Website URL (if you have one)




The purpose of the cover letter is to introduce yourself to your prospective employer, show your interest in the company or job position, highlight important parts of your resume and ultimately show the employer why you are an appropriate candidate for the role.

Here are some suggestions on what you could write in each paragraph of the letter:-


(a) Introduction - Paragraph 1

Your introduction should state

i) The position for which you are applying; and

ii) Some background information about yourself.


For example, if you are a current student, include the school you are attending, your course and when you expect to graduate or your year of study. Here is a sample introduction (for recent graduates):

"I am writing to express interest in the position of xxxx. I recently graduated from the National University of Singapore with a Bachelor's degree in Life Sciences."

If you were referred by someone, mention the person in this section.


(b) What you have to offer - Paragraph 2

The goal of this section is to outline how you meet the requirements of the job position. A good way to do this is to highlight and explain specific sections of your resume that are the most relevant to the role.

For example,

"My part-time work as a research assistant involved in two projects in the area of social psychology has equipped me with extensive skills in research and statistical analysis...etc."


(c) What you have to offer - Paragraph 2

Before writing this section, you may want to think about why you are applying for this job position with this particular company. Think about your career goals and motivations and how they match with the job position and/or the company's mission, values or culture. For example,

For example,

"I am keen to join the team at (Name of Company) because of your company's emphasis on ______[e.g., one of the company's values, mission etc.] and I am passionate about _____[your values/motivations]."


(d) Conclusion

Finally, conclude the body of your cover letter by including your contact information (e.g., "you can contact me at...") and thank the person for considering you for the position. You can also mention in this paragraph that you have attached your resume.




What makes for a good cover letter? This is probably the most ambiguous aspect of the job application process for your Internships and Graduate Opportunities in Singapore. There are so many conflicting opinions out there that it is difficult to find advice that is unanimously agreed on. We filtered through the variety of suggestions out there and came up with a list of what we deem as the most important and the more universal tips on writing a great cover letter.


(a) Be Sincere.

This is especially important for students or fresh graduates, who typically have less professional experience. Being sincere and expressing your genuine interest in the job role and/or the company can make a huge difference because your enthusiasm for the job may be the very thing that sets you apart as a serious candidate.


Here are some ways that can help bring across your sincerity:


i) Customise your cover letter.

A copy-and-pasted, generic-sounding cover letter is not only unlikely to catch the employer's attention - it can also come across as insincere. The parts of your resume that you choose to highlight as well as your descriptions of why you are interested in the role should all be tailored to the specific position.


ii) Recognize and understand the company's needs.

Show that you have read the job advertisement carefully, and do some research on the company to understand what they need.


iii) Don't lie or exaggerate.

Hiring managers will likely be unimpressed by pretentious boasting. In fact, lying or exaggerating is often detrimental. This also brings us to Tip #2: Be confident, but humble.



(b) Be Confident, But Humble.

An extreme example of brutal honesty and perhaps humility being rewarded is the story of a university student's self-deprecating cover letter that Wall Street bosses called the "best cover letter ever". While the student did eventually land the internship, we do not recommend that you go to such an extent of self-deprecation - it does not always work (not everyone agreed with the Wall Street employers' opinion).

Nevertheless, it is good to be humble - and confident.


How do you achieve this delicate balance? How do you effectively promote why you are a good candidate while refraining from what sounds like shameless boasting? Here are some suggestions:


i) Focus on the employer, not yourself.

We have emphasized the importance of understanding the employer's needs in Tip #1; we emphasise it here again. Resist the urge to advertise all your greatest accomplishments ("I not only have a CAP of 4.8, but I am also the captain of three interest groups, and I came in first place for the recent Science Challenge"); instead, take the time to first understand what the company needs and is looking for, and focus on the skills and experiences you have that match these requirements.


ii) Avoid superlatives and unsupported praises about yourself.

Saying "I have strong leadership skills" without any evidence sounds like an empty boast. Always give examples of accomplishments or experiences where you demonstrated or acquired the skills you are claiming to have.

Don't be shy about what you can bring to the table, but avoid superla- tives or exaggerated descriptions like "I have unparalleled presentation skills and I am utterly formidable in handling marketing assignments". These can come across as obnoxious and utterly disagreeable.



(c) Be Concise.

Always keep your cover letter short-three to four short paragraphs is a good length; avoid going any longer than a single page.



(d) Use .PDF Format When Sending It As An Attachment.

This is a practical tip to ensure that all your formatting is retained, as well as to prevent any problems in file conversion.

Stroff Portal

Career Planning Guidance for Tertiary Students

You are a young, bright-eyed tertiary student in Singapore or overseas with endless possibilities, and you have a future that stretches ahead of you after you graduate. What do you do with the possibilities-and the uncertainty? How do you get started in choosing a suitable career and planning your career path even whilst you are still in school?



Here are FOUR steps to help you get the ball rolling ...


1. Self Assessment: Find Out About Yourself.

WHY: This is the first and possibly the most important aspect of choosing and planning your career. Assessing your values, interests, personality attributes and skills go a long way in helping you make wise career choices. Choosing a suitable career not only increases job satisfaction, it also means that you are in a place where you are more likely to perform well.


HOW: Ask yourself questions like:

  • What are the values that will moti-vate me to love my work everyday? (E.g., giving to community, independence, status etc.)
  • What kind of interaction at my future workplace is most important to me? (E.g., teamwork, open communication etc.)
  • What are your interests and hobbies?
  • What are some things that you are good at?


HELP: Also helpful are:

  • Self-Assessment Tools, many of which you can access online for free. Just google "career test" and you will find a wide variety of tests that you can take;
  • Stroff's Career Guidance Forum, where you can ask any careers-related questions and receive insights and advice from fellow Talents and resident Coaches; 
  • Your Career Advisor at the school career guidance centre, who can give you more personalized advice;
  • Life Experiences, which are possibly the strongest method of self-discovery. (Refer to the next point on Exploring the Possibilities.)

BE INSPIRED: Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. - Steve Jobs.


2. Explore The Possibilities: Read Up, Talk To People, And Try Things Out.

WHY: You are equipped with some key ideas about what makes you tick. Some of the self-assessment tools may have also given you a list of possible careers that suit you. The next thing you need to do is to find out more about the careers that you may be interested in, so that you can narrow down the possibilities.



  • Read up. Do some research and read up on job descriptions, working conditions, and other aspects that are important to you when considering whether you would like to pursue a particular career.
  • Talk to people. Information found online is usually insufficient to show you what a particular job is really like day in and day out. Hear it from the insiders: talk to those you know and attend career talks and events so you can hear the perspectives of those who are actually working in the fields you are interested in.
  • Try things out. Take up Internships in Singapore and overseas and meaningful Part Time Jobs, volunteer for community service, join CCAs and interest groups, etc. There is probably no better way of finding out how much you want to do something than to actually try it out!. An Intern Job in Singapore in particular will give you valuable firsthand insights on your intended career path.


BE INSPIRED: The more you practice what you know, the more you shall know what to practice. - W. Jenkin.


3. Set A Direction. Then, Discover Along The Way.

WHY: On the one hand, it should be recognized that there are many factors beyond your control that will shape the course of your career. Hence, planning your career path down to the specifics can be a fruitless venture and may even prevent you from recognizing opportunities when they come your way.

On the other hand, wandering around aimlessly is quite certainly not a recipe for success. The best way, in our opinion: strike a balance between the two by (i) starting out with a direction or vision in your mind, and (ii) taking things one step at a time and making discoveries along the way.



  • Set a direction. From what you have found out from Steps 1 and 2, you probably have some possibilities in mind. From here, you can envision a certain direction you would like to see yourself going towards.
  • Take action steps. Once you have set a direction, you can take a step in that direction. This could be a decision to take a certain course of study, take up an internship, apply for a job at a certain firm, etc.
  • Discover along the way and change route if needed. At each step along the way, learn from what you experienced. Integrate what you have learned into your thought processes as you consider the next step forward. 


BE INSPIRED: Every strike brings me closer to the next home run. - Babe Ruth


4. Finally, Never Stop Learning, Discovering and Exploring. Planning your career path is a continual process of discovery. Ask most people and they will tell you that what they are doing right now is quite different from what they imagined fifteen years ago. Don't stop exploring; keep learning, keep growing.


If you wish to achieve worthwhile things in your personal and career life, you must become a worthwhile person in your own self-development. - Brian Tracy


Stroff Portal

How Personal Branding Can Help You Get Your Desired Internship Or Job

Hello, My Young Adult Friends! 


Today I will be writing about how working on your unique personal brand can help you get your desired internship, scholarship or job.  I used to advise my ex-students on scholarship applications, so I hope this piece helps you in getting your ideal job, scholarship or internship successfully. 




 1. What is Personal Branding and Why Should You Care?


Everyone has a brand, intended or otherwise. Simply put, your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room. A brand is what you stand for, the value you offer to people and how they will remember you by. Sometimes, it is even worse if people don’t talk about you—because it shows that your brand is not exactly memorable.


If you are a job-seeker or a student searching for an internship, personal branding is increasingly important because jobs are getting more and more scarce.  In particular, according to the report “Fast Forward 2030: The Future of Work and the Workplace”, more than 50% of today’s jobs will be eliminated by 2025. A strong personal brand will therefore be a strong determinant to standing out amongst your peers who have the same universitiy degree and relatively good grades like you do.


If you are going for a scholarship, the pool of scholarship applicants is small. Everyone who is applying for that particular scholarship has great achievements according to their own rights. 


Clearly, it is to your advantage to think about how to communicate your personal brand well.



2. How Can I Brand Myself?



Here are three simple steps as to how you can brand yourself:



(A) Consider what you are naturally good at and determine your direction.


You might have a flair for words, an aptitude for mathematics, or an outgoing personality. Write down on a piece of paper what you think you are good at. 


Then ask your friends what they think you are good at. Sometimes certain tasks are so easy and effortless for us that we take our talents for granted. At these times, your friends can come in to help you identify your strengths. 


After that, on this same piece of paper, write down some facts about yourself that can be verified. Have you won any awards? Do you have a masters degree? Do you have professional credentials? Write all these down. 


After you have written them down, consider the direction you are heading. What does your heart want? What are you naturally good at? What do you find easy? In what ways do you think you can contribute significantly to industry or in general to people around you? How do you envision yourself in 1-5years? 


It is okay not to have perfect answers to these questions—what is important is to determine a general direction to head towards.



(B) Consider your rational value to the industry or organization.


By rational value, I mean exactly how you can value-add to the organization. What are your skill-sets? If you are a fresh graduate with no experience, fret not. Sometimes zero experience is an asset for it suggests that you are teachable. 


Here, it is important to do positioning. With the list of paper you have written your strengths and verifiable facts on, consider how to position yourself vis-à-vis your peers. 


Would a lack of experience be an advantage? Would your ability to speak a third language help you in securing the job? How about your hobby in gardening—can you tell a story of passion that can value-add the company in some ways?



(C) Consider your emotional value to people around you. 


In the workplace, people skills are essential and sometimes even more important than technical skills. It is usually not the most talented people that make a workplace conductive, but the most compatible people who do. You make up a team, and it is up to you to be an excellent team player. 


In your personal branding therefore, consider your natural emotional value to the people around you and convey that. You can communicate this via your social media channels, blog and visuals.  



3. Conclusion

Contrary to popular belief, personal branding is really not about being narcissistic. On the contrary, it is about the value you can naturally offer to your ecosystem, or to the people around you. Once you have a clearer idea of who you are and what you can offer to people, getting your ideal job, internship or scholarship can be a breeze. 


I hope you have enjoyed this article! Please feel free to connect with me as your "Personal Branding Advisor" in Stroff. To do so, simply register your Stroff "Talent" account at and "follow" my Stroff account (or add me as a "contact")


For more tips on Personal Branding, you can also visit my personal blog on Public Relations at :)


Look forward to connecting more with all of you!


Yours sincerely, 

Soh Wan Wei

Stroff Portal

The 5 Most Common Stereotypes Of Millennials (And Are They Even True?)


"Spoilt", "Entitled", "Lazy"—we’ve heard it all! Today’s post features the Top Five Most Common Stereotypes of Millennials. We will also examine the truth behind them. Enjoy! 



Stereotype #1: Millennials are Non-Committal. 


Is this true? 


According to this Forbes’ article

“…the fact that millennials now make up the largest percentage of the American workforce isn’t conducive to the 5-year plan way of thinking. Millennials are the generation of the slash-career, and they don’t stick with one job and company the way older generations used to.”


The image millennials give employers is that they are spoilt, fickle-minded, and do not plan for the long-term. Millennials seem to just be fond of #YOLO, do not have tenacity and have low tolerance for boring, routine work. 


Well, in the age of social media, we are bombarded with constant stimulus, so this might be true. However, is being non-committal necessarily a bad thing? 


Given that technology changes rapidly these days, being non-committal might be an upside. Since this implies that the millennial is forced to be flexible and agile to changes.  



Stereotype #2: Millennials are Spoilt and have a Sense of Entitlement. 


Is this true? 


One perception is that millennials just want to be spoon-fed and show zero-initiative in everything. 


In the Singaporean context, perhaps the sense of entitlement applies to most Singaporeans, not just millennials. Singapore is a safe, wealthy nation, and it is not surprising that most of us feel that certain high standards are justified. After all, we did spend a lot of time and money on our tertiary education, so should we not enjoy life after graduation?


Is having a sense of entitlement necessarily a bad thing? Well, yes and no. Yes, because your expectations are not in line with reality, and this would only make you suffer. No, because it is always good to have high expectations, so that your quality of living can be of a certain level. 



Stereotype #3: Millennials are really Narcissistic and only Care About Themselves.



Have you watched the following video titled “Millennials International”? 


If you haven’t, watch. They show a bunch of narcissistic millennials.


Is this true?


Yes and no. 


Yes, because millennials are born into an age of social media. Social media polarizes people and places us further into our own bubbles and tribes. With group think, there might be a tendency to think that one is always right, since voices of dissent can be easily blocked. 


No, because with the advent of social media, tech-savvy millennials could be seen as more narcissistic than the older folks simply because they are young and on social media. 


When you are young and looking good, of course you’d want to take more selfies, won’t you? Furthermore, older folks might be narcissistic and not on social media—just check which older lady takes a lot of photographs in front of the mirror! 



Stereotype #4: Millennials are Materialistic. 


Is this true? 


I personally would say yes. With fast fashion driving down the prices of clothes and bags dramatically, an average millennial can own more of such garments now.  


This might be as opposed to the past where people simply own more timeless clothes that can be counted with ten fingers.


However, there is nothing drastically wrong with being materialistic if it does not compromise other values—such as being considerate towards others. If your being materialistic does not harm someone else, perhaps there is nothing too bad with it? 



Stereotype #5: Millennials are Delusional. 


Is this true? 


Yes, in the sense that their expectations might not match reality. Refer back to Stereotype #2. 


No, because millennials are more flexible, resourceful and interested in things, they can exhibit a high curiosity and drive to learn as well. When this happens, they can use the Internet to educate and enrich themselves, therefore becoming more aware and mindful of the environment around them.


How do you feel about these five stereotypes—have you personally have to defend yourself against any one of them? Let us know in the comments!



P.S.> We at Stroff ( believe in empowering Young Adults (like yourself) in Singapore, by helping you achieve your dream career and personal aspirations in life. WE UNDERSTAND YOU! So Partner with us today by registering your "Career Builder" account at .   

Photo Credits: Unsplash and Shutterstock.


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