by Ir Dr Shamsuddin Wahid Sulaiman, Associate Director
“I know it is tough.”
“I know it is difficult”
“I know it is frustrating”
“But you must persevere”
We all know it is not the best of times. For more than a year, the COVID-19 pandemic-induced economic downturns have disrupted young workers and students entering countries' workforces.
But believe me, all the engineers before you have gone through similar or I would say even tougher times.
Only a few decades ago application for jobs are through actual cover letters with resume in hard copies sent through the snail mail; each one of them.
And we all come back home hoping to get a telephone message on our house phones. No emails, no handphones, no WhatsApp.
And we read the newspapers every morning for openings. No Jobstreet. And most of them asked for application in handwriting. We wrote each one of them.
I cannot remember how many postal stamps I have bought.
And now you can just apply by just clicking on the “Apply” button?
Yes, I know. Starting out your career is a formative, fragile time — in the best of circumstances. It’s even more challenging during the intersecting crises we’re living through now.
Make full use of your social media skills to reach out and market yourself.
Email addresses like email@example.com may look trendy to you during those years but now it will have an adverse effect.
You may want to replace the pictures of cats, dogs or celebrities for your profile pictures.
Is your social media contents highlighting your strengths? Are there anything that you think should not be shared with potential employers?
LinkedIn is a good platform to network and highlight your skills and experience and ideas. Make sure you profile and contents reflect what you want your potential employers to see you.
The pandemic has been scary, and it’s overtaken our lives, but it’s also the perfect time to start a new chapter.
I realise for some people — certainly anybody who has been sick with the virus — my words will ring hollow right now (as they should). But for many people — those who have lost their jobs, those who are working but are hating their jobs, and those who just feel like they should be doing something different than what they’re currently doing — I think the time to be planning your next move is now.
Companies are like human beings because they are run by human beings. Not all are pessimistic or doing badly. There are companies who are planning ahead during these times.
These companies are looking for candidates that can handle the new responsibilities of the job market.
Recent graduates actually have an advantage because they are comfortable using newer technologies and have been communicating virtually their whole lives. They can take what they've learned and apply it immediately.
We will see an increased need for change management and agile responses. We will also see an increase in the number of interviews being conducted virtually. More workplaces will conduct onboarding virtually and use flexible and hybrid work schedules, more specifically those including work-from-home or virtual work, at least temporarily, if not more permanently.
We will see continued hiring and organizational growth, despite concerns from many regarding the job market. All industries will experience an increased need for upskilling and reskilling of employees.
Technological skills will be in high demand and so will human skills, such as emotional intelligence, negotiation, nonverbal communication, collaboration, and change agility.
“You owe it not only to yourself but to your community”
“You have a burden of duty to the society and your family”