Beacon of Hope

I started my job hunt in February 2020, hoping to secure a job before graduation. However, I soon realised that job hunting as a fresh graduate was not easy. I went for several recruitment interviews, but they were unsuccessful.

My primary career aspiration upon graduation was to enter the project management sector. However, as COVID-19 hit the construction sector severely especially with the dormitory lockdown resulting in a reduced number of workers on site and causing multiple projects to be delayed, such roles were far and few between. To be honest, I was dejected there were not many project management roles that I could apply for, but I was more worried about being unable to land a job offer at all. That was when I chose to open up my options and applied for other roles in the built environment sector as well.

I experienced the most challenging period during the Circuit Breaker. I settled into a mundane and exasperating daily routine of sitting in front of my laptop for hours, searching for suitable and relevant job opportunities that did not require much experience. However, my efforts were futile. The future soon seemed very bleak and different from what I had envisioned.

What motivated me to push on was the supportive community that surrounded me. My family was my pillar of support and my friends constantly provided moral support as well as helped in sourcing for job opportunities. There was also my career advisor, Miss Sim Mui Huang from NUS Centre for Future-ready Graduates, and my dissertation supervisor, Professor Stephen Tay, who reached out to me during such a tough period to understand my situation and helped me to think about what I really wanted from my career.

When I heard about the SGUnited Traineeship Programme, I was a bit more relieved because this meant that there were going to be more opportunities created for fresh graduates. It became a beacon of hope for me during the dark times and motivated me to keep going on my job hunt.

Things finally took a turn for the better when I received a call to attend an interview with SMM Pte. Ltd, a member of Surbana Jurong Group, as part of the SGUnited Traineeships Programme. With career advice and support from Mui Huang, I regained confidence and performed well in the job interview. I was glad to be offered the opportunity to pursue a unique business development role in facilities management.

It has been a month since I started my traineeship with SMM. My work at SMM has been busy but fulfilling. The most exciting part of my job is visiting different client facilities. I am also surrounded by colleagues who are passionate about enhancing their service delivery and uplifting the facilities management industry, and this makes me excited to be part of the mission. I look forward to a fulfilling journey with SMM.

Ms Cheryl Ng Wen Xuan, 23, is a Business Development trainee at SMM Pte Ltd, the facilities management arm of Surbana Jurong Group. She graduated from the National University of Singapore with a degree in Project and Facilities Management. She was a recipient of the BCA-Industry iBuildSG Undergraduate Sponsorship, offered by the Building and Construction Authority (BCA).

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