No idea what to do after graduation? Don’t worry, we’ve been there. These inspirational page-turners will help to guide you towards the right direction in life.

OPEN: A TOOLKIT FOR HOW MAGIC AND MESSED UP LIFE CAN BE
By Gemma Cairney

OPEN A Toolkit for How Magic And Messed Up Life Can Be 

A colourful guide that paints a relatable picture of growing up, you’ll find plenty of personal stories and practical advice in this comprehensive ‘toolkit’. Filled with expert advice spanning a wide range of topics from mental health to matters of the heart, this “wise best friend in a book” has you covered for every aspect of your life. It may seem like a heavy read, but we like that it’s peppered with vibrant illustrations and speech bubbles to spice things up. Trust us, you wouldn’t be able to put it down!

DESIGNING YOUR LIFE
By Bill Burnett and Dave Evans

Designing Your Life

Let design innovators Bill Burnett and Dave Evans show you how to design your life, one page at a time. Embracing the notion that most of us have yet to figure out our career paths, Designing Your Life seeks to help others find fulfilment in their lives the way a designer would – from experimentation to way-finding to prototyping. Chockfull of fact-finding exercises and sensible advice, it’s an improvisational guide that unlocks one’s imagination and allows you to make better decisions in the future. For those hoping to kickstart your career, this is the book to turn to.

IGNITE YOUR SPARK
By Patricia Wooster

Ignite Your Spark

Unlike the typical self-help books that tend to sound overly formulaic, Ignite Your Spark is anything but. Packed with thought-provoking quizzes, interactive activities and even role-play scenarios to keep you thoroughly entertained, each chapter discusses relevant topics such as relationships, self-image and goals in a fun yet insightful manner. It also includes interviews with millennials and professionals where they share their success stories and personal experiences, inspiring you to truly ignite your spark within.

THE PRODUCTIVITY PROJECT
By Chris Bailey

The Productivity Project

If you’re prone to procrastination and often find yourself unable to cope because of poor time management, The Productivity Project is here to help. This book is the result of a year-long series of experiments Chris Bailey conducted on himself – whether it’s cutting out caffeine, going on a digital detox, or even living in isolation for days, he’s done it all – in order to find the most effective ways to increase one’s productivity. Besides sharing his top tips, he also gathered advice from experts in the field so you can’t go wrong with these tactics.

MIND YOUR HEAD
By Juno Dawson

Mind Your Head

When it comes to the topic of mental health, people tend to shun it instead of openly talking about it. Mind Your Head, however, does a clever job of sparking conversation about all things mental health. Not only does it help to school teenagers on various conditions like anxiety and personality disorders, Juno Dawson also delves into ways to confront your own issues and offers suggestions to cope with these complex emotions. Although this book deals with mainly serious topics, it still manages to be lighthearted enough to ease you through.

THE TEENAGE GUIDE TO STRESS
By Nicola Morgan

The Teenage Guide To Stress

There are plenty of tips out there to help you handle stress, but what made us pick up The Teenage Guide to Stress was its ability to truly resonate with the readers on a personal level. Nicola Morgan tackles everything from the pressures of exams to body image to cyberbullying, sharing her personal experiences while providing practical strategies to manage them effectively. It comes complete with a list of useful resources to assist anyone who may be struggling with mental health issues.

THE SECRET TO TEEN POWER
By Paul Harrington

The Secret To Teen Power

Don’t be too quick in dismissing The Secret to Teen Power as another cheesy novel. Despite the somewhat questionable title, it’s an absolute pleasure to read. At the core of it, this book teaches you the concept of using the law of attraction to draw positive things into your life. It isn’t entirely about philosophy either – Paul Harrington also incorporates a good mix of real-life stories, inspirational quotes and even pop culture elements to make it more engaging. Bonus points for the Star Wars references!

This article was adapted from Teenage Vol.30 Issue 2.

More related stories: 9 Books Every Millennial Should Read9 Tertiary Graduates Share Their Biggest Regrets From School

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In today’s cutthroat job market, scoring an interview is tough enough – let alone landing that coveted position. In addition to having a solid resume, having the right skillset can help to improve your performance and impress your potential employer. Here are some resume-boosting skills to pick up that will get you hired, stat!

Adaptability

It’s important to demonstrate that you’re able to transfer skills you’ve learnt from other jobs and courses to your work. Hirers look out for skills that are most applicable to their field, so list those first. Even if they weren’t initially looking for someone with those talents, they may be intrigued enough to want you working for the company. Who knows, they might create a special role just for you! 

Importance: ✮✮✮

Business Development

You may not be the boss of the company or even be in any decision-making management role. However, if you have a good head for business strategy and can see potential opportunities and downfalls where others can’t, be sure to pipe up and your enterprising suggestions will soon take you up the ranks quickly.

Importance: ✮

Business Ethics

Companies are always working towards building a good reputation in society by becoming more transparent, charitable and building a safe workplace with high standards. If you’ve had experience with volunteering, creating policies or quality control, be sure to bring them up in your application. Many businesses spend big bucks in these two areas to get their products and services seen in the market. It would be a great help if you have experience in these aspects and can offer some assistance with ideas before the company goes to an external creative firm.

Importance: ✮✮✮

Content Creation

Being able to create good content – from churning out timely and relevant articles, to brainstorming creative story ideas for clients, to managing social media – is always a treasured skill. It pulls people to the brand and gives it credibility, so all companies need it whether they know it or not. 

Importance: ✮✮✮

Contract Negotiation

Clinching big deals is a big deal. Not everyone has the skills to win over tough clients or negotiate the best bargain for your company. It takes good communication and trust-building skills, as well as being quick, decisive and assertive when needed. If the employer feels like you can be the person to crack the code, the job is basically in your pocket. 

Importance: ✮✮

Data Analysis

Are you able to look at data gathered from the web or surveys and tell what’s working or not for your company, who your customers really are and what they’re looking for? As the market gets saturated with more copycat businesses, being able to stand out and really connect with your audience is what will take your brand to the next level.

Importance: ✮✮

Design And Illustration

Almost every business requires something to be designed, whether it’s posters, a newsletter or packaging, so this skill is always a good one to have. To further hone your sense of aesthetics, balance and colour, take up creative internships and design courses to help keep your style fresh and appealing to the masses.

Importance: ✮✮

Marketing And Advertising

Many businesses spend big bucks in these two areas to get their products and services seen in the market. It would be a great help if you have experience in these aspects and can offer some assistance with ideas before the company goes to an external creative firm.

Importance: ✮✮✮☆☆

Presentation

Even the best products won’t do well without nice packaging, which is why you’d be sought after if you can create impressive powerpoints and talk about your company in an engaging and compelling way to clients. To get your foot in the door and prove this point, start by designing a flawless resume!

Importance: ✮

Search Engine Optimisation

All companies want to be top on the list when people do a search for products and services they offer. You can always read up online or in books on how to do search engine optimisation, but if you’ve had formal training or prior experience in setting up content so that your brand appears first in search results, it’s definitely a selling point.

Importance: ✮

Team Building

Unless you’re working by yourself, this skill will certainly come in handy. Most businesses underestimate how important co-worker relations is to the performance and camaraderie of a company. A smart boss hires people who work well with others, and can help staff learn and cooperate together to build a successful business with contributions from everyone.

Importance: ✮

Web And User Experience Design

Think about the number of times you’ve been asked if you know someone who can create a website. Every business worth its salt these days has one, and they’re always looking to improve their site so that customers find it easy to navigate, make purchases and look up information. You’ll be one precious employee if you can contribute to this.

Importance: ✮

This article was adapted from Teenage Vol.30 Issue 2.

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So you started your first job, thinking you’ve landed a sweet gig and everything will be smooth-sailing from then on. Instead, you’re greeted with manipulative colleagues, pantry gossip and toxic drama. Office politics are unavoidable, especially if you’re the newbie and pegged as the resident millennial in the department, but fret not – here’s how you can deal with malicious attacks in the workplace like a pro.

DO: Stay professional

If someone is trying to get you in trouble, first assess if there’s any truth to what they say, and if there is, act quickly to fix things. Show up on time, do good work and be professional in your interactions. Not only will you become a more valuable employee, it’ll be hard for anyone to pick on you when you’re practically faultless.

Do: Always keep records

Emails, text messages and meeting minutes record timelines, what was said (and not said), the tone used and more. If you feel attacked, keep these – save them externally to a personal email account, for example – in case you have to prove yourself or if you’re wrongfully fired. Also, if your reputation is being dragged, subtly bring up the goals you’ve achieved at meetings and let colleagues know what you’re currently working on.

Do: Stand up for yourself

It takes some courage to confront backstabbers, but silence and meekness will only encourage them. Don’t accuse them openly as they might deny any wrongdoing, and don’t criticise their character in retaliation which may fuel tension. Ask to meet them privately, share how their actions make you feel, and tell them you would appreciate them being more supportive or to give you feedback directly, instead of pointing out your supposed flaws to higher-ups without giving you a chance to explain or do better.

Don’t: Keep quiet

If you feel like you’re being sabotaged, try to handle the situation yourself first. When you’re left with no other options, go to your boss and present your evidence. They’ll probably try to help you as they’d want to retain a hardworking worker over a negative employee sowing discord amongst staff. If the higher-ups don’t seem to care, it may be better to switch jobs for the sake of your own mental health and happiness.

Don’t: Be fooled

Some people are genuinely nice, but use good judgment if someone’s always trying to get in your good books – buying you treats, giving you li s and complimenting your outfits randomly. They may want you to get chummy with them so you spill your secrets, or that of others, which may then be shared without your permission and twisted out of context.

Don’t: Join in

When everyone’s having a bash bad-mouthing someone, don’t chip in. A er a while, people will get the message that you’re not interested in o ice politics and will avoid involving you in these toxic conversations. It’s good for your emotional health, and you never have to worry about what you said being used against you or being overheard. It’ll also prevent you from being biased against people, which is always a good thing.

Featured image: Pexels

This article was adapted from Teenage Vol.30 Issue 2.

More related stories: How to Handle Bad Bosses #LikeABossInternship Horror Stories That’ll Make Yours Seem Like A Vacation

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Taking a gap year can be an incredibly rewarding yet nerve-wrecking experience. To help you get started, here are some ways you can make the most of your year-long break – plus they look great on your resume!

#1 See The World

This is the one time in your life that you’re not tied down to a job or school commitments, so get out of your comfort zone and broaden your horizons. Take the time to immerse yourself in the various cultures, interact with the locals and become part of their community. While indulging your wanderlust, you may also want to secure yourself an internship or a side gig in the country. Not only does it help to fund your travel expenses, it’s also a great way to gain global exposure and beef up your portfolio. Even better, it may even open up doors to potential work placements should you decide to stay on!

#2 Get An Internship

Scoring yourself an internship will not just look good on your resume for university and job applications, but also allows you to try out careers you may be hesitant in pursuing. Unlike full-time employees, interns get to start from scratch and work in a more forgiving environment. As an intern, you’ll get to learn the ropes, acquire new skills and gain a broader perspective of your desired field. On top of that, you’ll be introduced firsthand to its culture and etiquette. Internships are also a good opportunity for you to build connections and expand your network in the industry, so remember to present yourself well.

#3 Do The Side Hustle

If you are certain of what you want to pursue as a career, find jobs that are relevant to your ambitions. Getting a full-time job or part-time gig at a well-established company will be incredibly beneficial for your resume as it indicates your interest and experience in the field. Similar to internships, you will gain the vital skills to get your foot in the door of your desired industry while getting to know more about the working environment. However, you should possess basic knowledge of what the job scope entails and be prepared to commit to a longer time frame as a full-time or part-time employee. For starters, here are some side gig ideas you can consider.

#4 Go Freelance

Do you consider yourself innovative and have a spectacular idea up your sleeve? Take the year to bring it to fruition! Whether it’s a self- initiated business startup, a screenplay or a social movement for a meaningful cause, this will serve as a great stepping stone for your future endeavours while highlighting your creativity and drive. Before jumping straight into it, do note that not every venture will be successful on your first try, so be prepared to commit if you want your personal project to gain traction.

#5 Shadow A Professional

Take the initiative to reach out to a working professional in the field of your choice. Shadowing a professional, especially in professions that require a lot of real-world experience, will allow you to learn some tried-and-tested tips from seasoned veterans. A recommendation from a person in their position will go a long way in boosting your chances in university and job applications as well. Moreover, it’s a fantastic way to establish a good relationship with your mentor while making your mark in the industry. However, do note that they’re doing you a favour at the end of the day, so be polite when approaching them and don’t expect a salary.

#6 Kickstart Your Own Project

Do you consider yourself innovative and have a spectacular idea up your sleeve? Take the year to bring it to fruition! Whether it’s a self- initiated business startup, a screenplay or a social movement for a meaningful cause, this will serve as a great stepping stone for your future endeavours while highlighting your creativity and drive. Before jumping straight into it, do note that not every venture will be successful on your first try, so be prepared to commit if you want your personal project to gain traction.

#7 Volunteer For A Cause

If there’s a cause you feel strongly for, dedicate some time to extend your services to organisations that help promote or support it. This could be done overseas or locally, and is usually defined by short-term projects. In this case, the intangible benefits clearly outweigh the pragmatic benefits of a well-rounded CV. If you’ve already taken on a full-time position yet still wish to get involved, you can still choose to o er your help over the weekends – be it helping out at the old folks home, or rolling up your sleeves at a local soup kitchen. Here’s a list of volunteer organisations to check out.

#8 Never Stop Learning

If you’re considering applying to overseas universities, you may want to take certain tests that are widely recognised such as the SATs to boost your application. Likewise, you can pick up a new skill related to your desired field of study to give you a headstart. Skills like coding, data analysis and web development will give you a competitive edge in this day and age, especially with the growing influence of social media – and you can easily sign up for free online courses to help brush up your skillset. As the saying goes, the more you learn the more places you’ll go!

This article was adapted from Teenage Vol.30 Issue 2.

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Thinking of enrolling into a private institution? Here are some reasons why seeking a private education may be the choice for you.

#1 Less is more

Prefer learning in a small group setting? A private institution has all the resources you need to help you thrive. Typically, they keep their class size smaller so every student gets a fair amount of attention and guidance from the lecturers, creating a more conducive environment with lesser distractions. Not only does it encourage teamwork and personal growth, this aids in fostering a sense of community as well.

#2 Explore your interests

It’s not all work and no play. Private institutions place a huge deal on making your academic experience as holistic and immersive as possible, so get ready for all the exciting opportunities coming your way. Whether it’s the wide variety of student clubs available or the various activities happening on campus, there are plenty of ways to get involved. It’s a great way to make friends with people with similar interests, and who knows, you might even become professional allies after graduation!

#3 Pick the right setting

It’s important to choose an environment where you can excel academically and fit in socially. Apart from the various factors discussed here, take into consideration the reputation, location accessibility and facilities available as well. No school is one-size- fits-all, so make sure you’re doing it with the big-picture in mind. For instance, it’s clear Kaplan boasts a strong academic core – after all, it’s recognised as the Best Private Education Institution* – but it’s their unique qualities and specialised offerings that really complete your educational experience.

#4 Work hard, study smart

If a full-time degree isn’t an option due to financial reasons, you may want to consider taking up a part time course at a private institution. At Kaplan in Singapore, you can choose to pursue a Bachelor- level programme on a part-time basis. Its curriculum is scheduled to accommodate those who are juggling studies with daytime commitments. Gaining work experience while earning a steady paycheck? Adulting achieved!

 #5 Get industry ready

For those who are eager to enter the workforce after graduation, picking up an industry-relevant certification will give you a headstart in your desired field. Offering a broad range of course offerings across 10 specialised disciplines, Kaplan seeks to equip you with professional skills and knowledge in preparation for your future career. And with more than 25 diploma and over 300 degree programmes** available for you to pursue your interest, there’s no lack of job prospects for you!

#6 Going global, locally

Getting an international certification without having to go overseas is totally possible! Kaplan partners up with prestigious universities such as Murdoch University, Northumbria University and University College Dublin, just to name a few, to offer top-notch degree programmes. This allows you to experience the same quality of education and secure your qualifications in a local setting. The best part? You don’t have to be separated from your loved ones and worry about the hefty expenses of living abroad. Win-win!

*Awarded to Kaplan Higher Education Academy for Marketing and Psychology; Kaplan Higher Education Institute for Accountancy, Business Management and Law by JobsCentral Learning T.E.D. Awards 2017.

**Refers to the Degree programmes at Kaplan in Singapore.

This post is brought to you by Kaplan Singapore.

Find out more about Kaplan’s diverse range of diploma and degree programme offerings here!

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