A NEW report by member-based advisory company CEB says that two out of three graduates regret accepting their job offer as soon as they start in the role, and one in four expects to leave the first employer within a year.

As a new year draws near, CEB has identified areas that fresh graduates and new job seekers should consider to halt this trend and prepare better for a positive start to their work life. To do this, it is important to:


Identify your strengths

Think about what you are good at and what you enjoy doing. As many as one in five graduates admit to applying for jobs that don’t interest them. Employers are looking for key skills in:

   Presenting to and communicating with others;

   Solving problems and making decisions; and

   Planning, organising and prioritising. 

Reflect on situations where you have demonstrated these skills and areas where you need to improve, and practise talking about these confidently.


Define your career aspirations

Unless you are drawn to a particular vocation, answering this question will be tough. Spend some time thinking about where you want to get to in the future and map out possible routes for how you could get there.


Do your homework

Reflect on your interests, strengths and skills by seeking opinion and feedback from trusted peers. Just 15 per cent of graduates understand the job before applying, so make sure you scrutinise job listings, research employers and opportunities extensively. Don’t be afraid to question the recruiter or company.


Gain experience

Before applying for a role, work out what skills, experience or qualifications you want to gain while you are in this placement. Once you make the decision to accept an offer, be committed, open-minded and keep focused on getting what you want out of the experience.


A step in the right direction

Your career is made up of building blocks – decisions you make today will shape your future, so never lose sight of your goals. It is very rare that people have a direct path to their dream job or employer.

Instead, be confident that your skills and experience will develop over time and seek feedback from peers and seniors to help you reach your ambition.


Preparing for the future

In addition to the points stated above, students who are continuing in education can also optimise their learning journey to be ready for the challenges ahead.


stay focused

Use this time to work out what aspects of your studies interest you. Try new things, share your ideas, and gain exposure to, work with and learn from different people. But never lose sight of your goals and keep focused on what you want and need to achieve.


Develop key skills

Every day is an opportunity to build your skillset. Strengthen the skills that employers value such as presenting to and communicating with others; solving problems and making decisions; and planning, organising and prioritising.


Identify what you enjoy

Think about what you are good at and what you enjoy doing. Seek out opportunities to apply your strengths and be proactive in addressing skills gaps.

Seek guidance

Seek advice from career guidance counsellors, trusted peers, and professionals you encounter who are willing to share their insights and experiences.

Understand your options and map out your route.


Gain exposure

If there are particular roles or industries you want to explore, approach your tutors to find out what type of companies and contacts they have connections with and how you might gain access to them to find out more.

How will the next step get you closer to where you want to be? Always keep your goals in mind.

Your skills and experience will develop over time. Seek feedback from your peers and seniors to build on your strengths and correct your weaknesses. 

You can expect some twists and turns in the path to your future career but if you are clear about what you want to achieve, you will be moving in the right direction.

Article by Shaurav Sen, executive director (South-east Asia), CEB, which is a global, member-based advisory company that equips organisations in Asia with insights, tools and actionable solutions to help these companies transform performance.