Don’t judge a book by its cover. Unfortunately, with hundreds of law students flooding the market, grades are usually the first indicator that law firms use to shortlist their candidates.
Adopting smart study habits is very important. Ask your seniors for advice. Often, it is about having the correct mindset and determination to stick to a study schedule. Learn to understand (not just memorize or regurgitate), and enjoy the process. If you have a process-oriented mindset, results will follow.
1. Not giving context
The first mistake that many students make is to write their personal statement without context. You must always remember that you are one of thousands of applicants, and you are a foreign student. Among foreign students, there is so much diversity and differences in academic systems, life experience etc.
Be sure to explain what you are talking about first, before diving in head-first. Common terms that Singaporean students take for granted without definition include "NS", "CCAs", "JCs" etc.
1. Know what you are good at and don’t give up
Mr Ang Chin Koon is the CEO of myCK, a budget-friendly retail outlet chain around Singapore with 19+ outlets. His story in business is one full of roller-coasters, from reaching incredible heights with an almost IPO, to a nasty fall-out with family members in their family business, personal bankruptcy and an incredible rise from the ashes (a real fire was involved).
After a drawn-out family feud and bankruptcy, Mr Ang has this to say:
"I decided to go back to what I'm good at, which is to sell things. It was the only skill I had." - Mr Ang Chin Koon, CEO of myCK
From there, he re-built his retail roots and created myCK, which is doing better than ever. What we can learn from this? Even the biggest setback should never get you down. Being self-aware of your own strengths and weaknesses is important. Stay positive and re-build from the ground up by focusing on your strengths. You can achieve whatever you set your mind to.
It seems that every millennial nowadays has a side hustle, and wisely so! Beyond the obvious internships and accreditations, a side hustle is an excellent way to show your passion and develop skill-sets that will make you a valuable asset to any company.
1. Start a blog or freelance writing
Think of what you are absolutely passionate about and start a blog recording your observations and thoughts. Once you have taken a few baby steps of getting your blog running, go ahead and look at freelance writing opportunities. There are websites on every imaginable topic possible online, and many of them accept submissions from newbie authors.
This is a wonderful resume builder, you can link your blog and/or published articles in your resume which demonstrates your writing abilities, knowledge and savvy on the subject matter.
Office dynamics can be difficult and it is easy to overstep your boundaries without thinking. The mantra of think before you speak holds true. What you say is a reflection of who you are and in an ecosystem like the office, bad things tend to get around faster than good. Here are 5 things that you should never say at the office.
1. “That’s not my Job”
This is a very common thing that can get blurted out in the heat of the moment when your boss assigns you one too many tasks or when a coworker once again tries to throw you under the bus. Play this one carefully. If it’s your boss, you should never say that as you come across as a terrible team player. If you are genuinely swamped, a better approach could be to list your current tasks and ask your boss which you should prioritize. This demonstrates that you have a lot on your plate and you are not just shirking responsibility.
If it’s a co-worker, it would depend on your assessment of the situation. We are ultimately codependent on our colleagues, and helping someone out can pay back in the long-term. Where you can, you could use your discretion to take on others’ responsibilities. However, if someone is trying to take advantage of you, you could decline in a firm but polite manner.
Doing things outside of your perceived job scope can benefit you. You learn by doing. You might find a new niche, or by doing things outside your normal job scope, you could interact with new colleagues or bosses from another department and build new network contacts for yourself.
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Shoot for the moon and you will reach for the stars. In the ever-evolving job market today, it is more important than ever before to challenge yourself and go out of your comfort zone. In many instances, you may find yourself applying for a job that may seem like a “stretch” or “out of your league”. Here are 4 ways that can help you rise to the occasion!
1. Focus on transferable skills and being adaptable
Study the job description carefully. Write down the list of skills and qualifications that they are looking for. Compare this list to your resume and make linkages wherever possible. This will form as an excellent base for talking points during your interview.
More often than not, there are a lot of transferable skills that you possess than what is immediately obvious. Managerial experience and sales skills can be demonstrated in a variety of ways and you shouldn’t be shy in speaking up for yourself.
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1. 5% Rule
The key to success and getting promoted in the workplace is often dependent on 5% of your visible and most important work rather than 95% of the work you accomplish in your day-to-day.
Volunteer and challenge yourself to take up visible projects and tasks. Place yourself in projects that put you in sight of upper management. A great article on the 5% rule is linked here.
The workplace can be full of sharks and snakes. Survival is a matter of training, perseverance and rising above the situation. These are 5 suggestions to think about if you find yourself in an unpleasant situation.
1. Dealing with sabotage
This is a tricky situation and should be dealt with carefully. Do not stoop to the level of your co-worker and engage in an emotional or confrontational manner. Poor reactions will only look bad on you and not your co-worker.
Think of how you can avoid further traps instead. If a co-worker stole your credit, make sure that next time you have to work with them, demonstrate your contributions in a more visible way, and perhaps on a timely basis so that everyone knows the process involved and not just the end-result.
Workplace sabotage sometimes stem from a toxic work environment that goes beyond just 1 – 2 nasty individuals. If it is truly a workplace culture that you cannot adjust to, it may be better to formulate an exit plan.