When the economy is weak, it may be more difficult to secure a job when companies are cutting back on expenses but this doesn’t mean that your job-hunt is doomed to fail. We share with you tips on how you can still score your dream job in a weak economy and debunk common myths about job-hunting in an economic downturn.
The good news: Not all industries will be affected
Despite the economic downturn, some industries are likely to remain unaffected and others may even thrive, says Julia Ng, senior executive coach at Executive Coach International. She’s talking about those whose services people and companies need, regardless of the economic situation. Think the healthcare, education, accounting, military, digital marketing and property management industries.
And that pool is set to get bigger, now that 23 industries—such as retail, logistics and security, to name a few—are earmarked by the government for further development.
Under its $4.5 billion Industry Transformation Programme, roadmaps will be created to help these industries grow and become more competitive. Companies will benefit from this, but more importantly, workers can expect new and redesigned jobs, with better wages and training opportunities.
Knowing what jobs are out there—and deciding what you want to do—is the first step. The next: increase your chances of landing that coveted position. Paul Heng, executive coach and founder of Next Career Consulting Group, Asia, shares his tips.
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1. Start a job search “campaign”
You have to have a strategy, something that is proactive, definitive and structured (don’t just wait for job ads to be placed!). Make a list of the companies you want to work for, find out who you can contact, tailor your applications to suit the different companies and, most importantly, follow up after you’ve sent in an application or had an interview. Send your contacts thank-you e-mails, and get in touch with them at a later stage to check for updates on the position.
2. Go the extra mile.
Do what the competition would not think of doing or cannot be bothered to do. For example, network as much as you can to help build your professional connections and send customised Linked-in invitations to potential hiring managers.
3. Don’t lose confidence in yourself.
Don’t let rejection letters—or the lack of callbacks—stop you from keeping up the job hunt. Stay focused and, when you’re not busy sending out job applications, do things that make you feel good about yourself.
Myths about looking for work in an economic downturn
As you search, it’s easy to lose hope and believe what others tell you about finding a job in a weak economy. Despite the negative economic outlook, remember that jobs are still out there, your skills are still in demand and employers are still willing to pay you what you deserve. Scroll through the gallery to read our experts have to say about five common myths.
1. “Wait for companies to call you because in this economic climate, you can’t be aggressive.”
Being passive gets you nowhere. Julia says to actively approach people who work in companies you can see yourself being part of. You never know, they may be able to connect you to someone you can speak with about a job or, better yet, who has the power to hire you.
2. “You should take any job that comes along.”
Some people will tell you that you should be grateful that at least someone is willing to hire you. But it’s important to exercise some care in what you’re choosing to commit to.
“If you don’t see aspects of a job contributing to your growth or the job doesn’t align with your values, don’t settle; keep looking for something that does,” Julia advises.
3. “Contract jobs are dead-end jobs.”
Not necessarily. When the economy recovers or a full-time position for the role you took on opens up, the company is more likely to hire you because they’ve come to know you and your work – provided you did a great job, of course. So make the most of that temp job and treat it as if it was permanent, Julia says.
4. “You need to settle for less pay.”
Companies are willing to invest in top talent, says Julia. And telling yourself that asking for less pay will increase your chances of hire may actually raise questions about your confidence in your worth.
It’s OK to stick to the market rate, and there are a few ways to find this out. Visit the Ministry of Manpower’s website, which has benchmarking tools to give you a sense of industry norms, or check out job portals and look for work that’s similar to what you’re gunning for. Some listings will indicate salary offers, and that gives you a good starting point.
5. “No one is hiring.”
Some companies may have implemented a hiring freeze, but that’s not true across the board, so don’t stop sending out your resume. Paul says: “Whatever the state of the economy, you still need to look for work, right So forget about those factors you have no influence over or can’t change, and keep searching.”
Text: Sasha Gonzales / Her World / March 2017
Images: 123RF.com, Unsplash