Local Graduates unaware of their personal branding shortcomings?

About 2 months back, my mentor and I set up a social media group, called Graduates Career and Employability Club (GCEC) The link can be found here


Recruitment was smooth, and we managed to get 400+ signups in less than 5 days. Thanks to Mr Indra from SDG Asia, a business consulting firm, we managed to get him to agree to become the principal mentor for this group for FREE.

Anyway, below is the copy included as incentive to join the group

Differentiate yourself, and get employed in your dream job!

*Get better pay
*Land more interviews
*Network with other graduates
*Lets employers find you
*Differentiate yourself from other graduates
*Double your employability factor

Graduates Career and Employability Club (GCEC) was set up to assist Polytechnic and University graduates to land their dream jobs, using the GEMS method.

GEMS is short for Graduate Employability and Mobility Systems.

You may have found it difficult to find a job which is line with your salary and industry expectations, like thousands other graduates. If so, GCEC provides a platform where you can network with potential employers as well as like-minded graduates.

Through the GEMS program, a graduate will be greatly differentiated from their peers.

This means that a graduate who has undergone the GEMS program will appear much more value-added and attractive to a potential employer.

This Club is not only for University and Polytechnic graduates who are yet to get a job amidst the uncertain economic climate.

It is also for graduates who already have a job but are unhappy and intend to get a more attractive job.

GCEC is run by SDG Asia, under the guidance of its Chief Executive Officer and Managing Consultant, Tengku Indra. (www.sdgconsultancy.com)

Tengku Indra’s personal website can be found at www.TengkuIndra.com

Indra is an International Consultant and Business Coach with a span of more than thirty years of Corporate and Consulting experience having worked and consulted with large multi national corporations and conglomerates which include sectors such as Engineering, Chemicals, Life Sciences, Energy, Agriculture, Bio-Technology, Real Estate, Aviation, Shipping, Banking, Finance and Securities.

As an Organizational Change Management Specialist, Indra has trained and coached organizations and people in adapting to changes as a result of mergers, acquisitions and re-organizations.

Some of these companies include Monsanto, Pfizer, DuPont, Hunstman, Standard Chartered, Bayer, HSBC and British American Tobacco Company.

Indra, who was formerly a visiting lecturer with The Strathclyde University MBA Program on Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management, had also spearheaded numerous business consulting and advisory services for small and medium-sized companies in S E Asia.

Often “dubbed” as a ” People Developer”, Indra is an active platform speaker on the subject of Organizational Change, Corporate Value Systems. He had spoken at several international conferences such as those organized by the Asian Institute of Management, the ASEAN Chemical Club, the Institute of Engineers and Rotary International.

He is a Certified Senior Consultant with Psychological Associates Inc. USA. and Situation Management Systems USA and had been on air for radio and television talk shows in Singapore and Indonesia for topics on Managing Performance and Organizational Growth.

Recently, Tengku Indra has been dubbed as a “Royal Mentor” in the Straits Times for his role in advising and guiding the career paths of hundreds of graduates.

Tengku’s mentorship has led to the employment of many graduates in highly competitive markets.

For more information, please visit these 2 websites




1 week into the group’s creation, I sent out a invitation for all graduates (Poly and Uni Grads) to attend a free workshop on how to create personal brands which would greatly enhance a graduate’s prospects at landing a relatively attractive job, as well as command a higher starting pay.

It was FREE, completely a NON-PROFIT initiative. I thought the members would jump on the chance to re-brand themselves and get employed.

Well, I was WRONG! Out of 411 members, 2 (two!) members expressed interest in the workshop.

Here I was certain that graduates would be interested in matters pertaining to their career health, but the numbers proved me utterly wrong. Instead, I received more than 30 calls that largely mimed the following dialogue opener “Hey Imran, I saw online that you are providing jobs? You got work opportunities for me?”


These graduates were interested in the job itself, not the tools required to actually land the job! If only they realised how branding themselves could play a large role in them being much more employable.

Perhaps it is not their fault after all. Growing up, I heard countless times, my parents assuring me that having a degree would mean an instant job upon graduation. I am sure many other parents have told their children the same myth!

What we fail to realise is that in the ocean of graduates, we need to differentiate ourselves to be able to catch the attention of employers. This is achieved in a calculated manner, an active attempt at branding oneself. We cannot afford to keep sending “blah” resumes to employers, hoping that the Law of Averages will apply each time we send them out.

So what if one has a degree? ALL their friends in school has one too! Having a degree is no longer the key to getting a job. But what puzzles me is how graduates in Singapore, despite having obvious difficulties at securing employment, is blaming everything, from the influx of foreign talent, to the government policies, to the economic downturn for their lack of ability to land a job.

We blame everyone and everything except our own bleak and utter failure at differentiation.

In the U.S.A however, the concept of personal branding and graduate branding is not new. Dan Schawbel, a 24 year old, is already a pioneer of the personal branding movement for student in USA. His website can be found here