Getting a Job that’s Unrelated to Your Studies

Have you ever wondered if it’s possible to land a job outside of your course of study? We met up with Yu Ning and Louis from our Regional Operations team and Brand & Growth Marketing team respectively, to hear their thoughts. Read on to find out what the first year of their Shopee career was like, their career progression, and their tips for students.

Hello there. Tell us about yourself!

Yu Ning (Y): Hello, I’m Yu Ning, and I graduated from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) two years ago with a degree in Applied Physics. I’m currently in the Regional Operations team, improving Shopee’s chatbots that help users with their enquiries. My Shopee career journey has been as vibrant as my university life so far! 

Louis (L): Hello, I’m Louis, and I also graduated from NTU six years ago with a degree in Chemical Engineering. I’m currently from the Brand & Growth Marketing team, and I’m in charge of helping sellers promote their stores. It’s been a while, but I still remember my awesome graduation trip with my friends to Japan!

Louis (leftmost) on his university graduation trip to Japan
Louis (leftmost) on his university graduation trip to Japan

#1: Find out what motivates you in a job.

Y: Even though physics and e-commerce seemingly have little to do with each other, I previously completed a Shopee internship in the Regional Operations team during my studies. I had a fulfilling time because of the impactful tasks I was trusted with, such as identifying the latest operational issues and providing suggestions to improve them, which made me feel that I was making a difference. I also enjoyed the vibrant and collaborative environment a lot. Needless to say, I applied after graduation and the rest was history!

L: Studying made me realise that I have a passion for learning, and I felt that working in a new industry and role would introduce me to fresh skills and new experiences. A Shopee career also gives me the chance to make an impact on millions of users around the world, which felt very exciting.

Yu Ning at her graduation ceremony Shopee career
Yu Ning at her graduation ceremony

#2: In your first year, learn what you’re lacking.

Y: My first year was definitely a period of transition. Thankfully, I had the guidance of my capable senior. Through her assistance in daily operational tasks and regional projects, I was able to master the required skills quickly and comfortably. Till this day, I feel incredibly thankful for Shopee’s work culture.

Under Shopee Singapore’s Company-Led Training Programme, I was also given opportunities to grow my programming knowledge through six months of on-the-job and structured training. The small class size, detailed notes, and relevant examples made learning programming easy and enjoyable. It gave me a great start to my Shopee career. It also allowed me to build a network with other fresh graduates, which helped me to transition well from a student to a working adult.

L: My goal in my first year was to learn as much as I can, and I’m thankful that I was given the opportunities and support to do so. I was assigned to look after Shopee’s Indonesia office, and I remember my surprise when I was tasked to prepare a deck for management team, including our CEO. I really treasured the opportunity as it allowed me to understand the company’s business considerations first-hand.

Advertising to Indonesian users also meant that I had to develop a close working relationship with the local team. That experience grew my communication and stakeholder management skills, which are still essential to my current role! 

Louis having a virtual catch up with a colleague Shopee career
Louis having a virtual catch up with a colleague

#3: Pick up new skills required in the workplace.

Y: The need for interpersonal skills is very important at work. As students, we are focused on mastering academic topics, and are typically only accountable for our own assignments. As working adults, however, we find ourselves working across multiple teams, or even markets, on large-scale projects. We need to work in synergy as a team, which involves proactivity, stakeholder management, and negotiation skills.

L: I’ve found that the process of learning on the job is different from when we were studying. In school, we were given a curriculum and topics that would be covered. At work, we usually learn without realising it, especially important soft skills, such as project management, and problem-solving. Unlike school where our exams and projects have a fixed timeline, work (especially in the tech industry) is much more dynamic, and requires us to be open to changes.

Yu Ning in the Shopee office Shopee career
Yu Ning in the Shopee office

#4: As your career progresses, explore opportunities to grow.

Y: In the second year of my Shopee career, I was offered a new portfolio in the chatbot team. My project involved creating a chatbot for Shopee sellers so that their questions or concerns can be answered efficiently and effectively. It is fulfilling to be a part of multiple teams and various solutions to help the business improve continuously.

L: As my team grew, I became a more senior member and my responsibilities changed. I had to pivot my attention from looking at individual markets, to strategy, analysis, and delegation. I dived deeper into the technical side of digital marketing, automating our products and systems. As I realised I needed more skills, I joined Shopee Singapore’s CLT programme to pick up Basic Python which was greatly beneficial. It opened up more possibilities for new solutions for our projects.

I also started to lead and mentor my colleagues, while ensuring that our team continues to perform well. Growing in so many ways since the start of my Shopee career has been a great experience! 

Louis (left) and Yu Ning (right) from Brand & Growth Marketing and Regional Operations respectively Shopee career
Louis (left) and Yu Ning (right) from Brand & Growth Marketing and Regional Operations respectively

#5: Keep an open mind

Y: The idea of landing the perfect job after graduation is a tall order. Instead of having that expectation, take the time to reflect and understand what you value in life, and consider your choices. By doing so, you can better seek out a career that you will find rewarding and sustainable.

L: When you’re new at doing something, you may not get it right the first time (and you don’t need to). Don’t be too hard on yourself if you make a mistake — learn from it. It’s important to embrace new opportunities to develop yourself. 

Inspired by Yu Ning and Louis’s stories? Grow with us, and make a positive impact on millions of users around the world. Check out our Shopee career site here.

We know that looking for a job can be daunting. Fret not, watch this video guide on how you can better prepare yourself for job interviews.

Photos were taken in compliance with local Covid-19 safety measures or before the Covid-19 pandemic.

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