Jobless but not hopeless: Louisa found help in a time of need and now opens to share how she overcame her barriers and finally clinched a job with a pay increment, in hope of encouraging others seeking career guidance or a job…
Louisa Koh | 39| Marketing & Communications
“Being unemployed can be very difficult, and anyone who’s been jobless is usually not spared from feelings of despair, helplessness and sometimes hopelessness, whether you’ve been out of work for two months or a year.
I completed a contract job stint at the end of January without the option of a renewal, and realised this was a pivotal point in my career—I was considering either moving up the ranks or making a mid-career switch to a more financially rewarding role.
Staying at the same rank had its opportunity costs, as there was stiff competition from entry-level applicants willing to accept a lower salary. I had also been copy-writing for the beauty industry in-house for the past 2.5 years, which I felt limited my opportunities in making a switch to other industries or agencies, for that matter.
Battleground of the Mind
For about 6 weeks, I submitted 30–50 applications locally and overseas, covering as much ground as I could via job portals like JobStreet, JobsDB, Glassdoor, Indeed, MySkillsFuture and LinkedIn, making sure my profile was filled out meticulously at each website.
When days went by without a call or an email from the companies I applied to, it was difficult to stay focused on the end goal without the niggling thought: “Why bother?” at the back of my mind winning the battle. I sometimes had to take a day or two away from the job search just to keep myself from spiraling downwards.
There were also many false starts along the journey: My first interview raised my hopes but did not turn into an offer, as it was only the first round out of the possible many. Previous work associates contacted me for potential contract and freelance jobs, but the leads simply went dead.
I even made a trip to a job agency, which found me on JobStreet, to get my educational certificates photocopied, only to realise I had to be “bonded” for three months if I were to be offered a job through them, or risk forfeiting 80% of my salary.
The last straw was when I was offered a job at my second interview, but the offered salary decreased by $400 before I could even accept the offer.
Light at the End of the Tunnel
After being out of work for about two months, my friend recommended I meet an employability coach from e2i. To my surprise, it was so easy and quick to get a confirmed appointment less than a week later, at my preferred time and location.
During the session, my assigned coach was encouraging and candid about what he felt was my earning potential (much higher than my last drawn pay). I shared some of the negative experiences I went through earlier in my career, as well as how they have shaped my outlook since. We explored how I could let go of the past, look ahead to better prospects and achieve these in practical terms.
My coach provided me with some resume templates after the session so I could rewrite it to make it more presentable. He also helped pitch me for a managerial role in marketing and communications, related to the copy-writing experience I have had for a decade, at a non-profit organisation.
Within a week, I had attended the interview for the recommended position and was offered the job 16 days after my coaching session, with a salary raise of 20% from my last drawn pay. This outcome was really beyond what I had expected, since the job market is competitive right now and I had no prior direct experience in the role I was offered.
I recognise that I have been very blessed to have been given a chance so quickly, but I believe if this can happen to me, it can happen to anyone who is willing to do what it takes to give them an edge in their job hunt, be it brushing up their résumé and cover letter writing skills, trying all avenues including the Adapt and Grow initiative by the government, as well as honing their interview skills and resilience in the face of rejections.
The process may be difficult and discouraging at many times and may take longer than you have expected, but sometimes help and opportunities are just around the corner, when you least expect them. My encouragement to you is to keep pressing on and never give up!”
Louisa Koh was invited to the Adapt and Grow May Day Lunch held on 12th May 2018 at the Star Vista. This luncheon honored the resilience of job seekers who trudged through their challenges and tapped on national initiatives for career guidance and assistance, along with career coaches (from e2i and WSG) and employers.
For job matching, e2i’s employability coaches not only tap on an extensive network of employers, but also use a cloud-based recruitment CRM software, that enable them to provide better data quality and a more efficient recruitment process in facilitating matches to our partnering employers across various industries.
Seeking career guidance or a job?
Click here to make an e-appointment with an employability coach from e2i.
(e2i's services are free for all Singaporeans)
The Adapt and Grow initiative houses schemes for job seekers and employers. For more info, go to: http://www.wsg.gov.sg/adapt-and-grow.html
Story by: R.Lee