A RECORD number of jobs were on offer at Nanyang Technological University's (NTU) annual career fair yesterday.

In all, there were 4,300 positions available to graduating students, up from 4,000 last year.

There were 230 Singapore and multinational organisations taking part, seven more than last year.

The numbers reflect the tight labour market: overall, vacancies rose to 67,400 as of September last year, up 8.9 per cent from the year before, according to the latest Manpower Ministry statistics.

Minister of State for Trade and Industry Teo Ser Luck, an NTU business school alumnus, launched the fair.

Mr Teo stressed the need for students to keep developing their skills to remain competitive.

"Career fairs such as this give undergraduates the initial gateway by opening up opportunities for them," he said.

"The real challenge is after that, how long will they stay in the job, and whether they stay long enough to develop specialised skills to contribute to the company and... the economy."

NTU is also launching a new initiative to get industry specialists to coach students on career planning, and to create networking opportunities.

One student who has already benefited from the preparation programme for management consulting careers is Mr Thiruneeran Murugavel, 25, who will be graduating with a first-class honours degree in business administration from Nanyang Business School.

He got a job at global management consulting firm Boston Consulting Group after just two months. "They hired trainers who were former consultants, they took us through the process from the very beginning, from helping us polish our resume to tailor it to the specific industry," he said.

His advice to other job-hunters is to "know what they're looking for".

About 15,000 students are expected to visit the fair, which has two more days to run - this Friday and next Tuesday.