With big companies like SPH, Keppel Corp and various investment banks announcing retrenchments, this is definitely a dreadful period of time to look for jobs in Singapore. In today’s context, experience and qualifications can only get you so far. So why is it that many Singaporeans are unable to find jobs in Singapore?
Is it a case of skills mismatch in today’s new age economy? Are Singaporeans too complacent and choosy? Is it down to the lack of selling skill during job interviews? Or have we priced ourselves out of this competitive market? Too many foreign talents fighting for positions that Singaporeans can perform?
I would say none of the above is exactly true. Most Singaporeans are unable to secure a job is because many downplayed or ignored the power of networking. In fact, networking is not only a powerful skill for securing a dream job, it is an important skill that entrepreneurs must possess in order to build their businesses. When you have a quality network, jobs will come to you, and not the opposite.
Contrary to what most people thought, networking isn’t about promoting yourself or cold calling your business contacts when you are being retrenched or fired from your job. Networking is about building long-term relationships and helping others in your workplace or even neighborhood. The process is a two-way street that involves giving and taking. Far too many people like to take but forget to give. When you do that, you risk damaging the relationship.
Indeed, it is important to master a niche skill in life and this is what Singapore government is currently promoting – SkillsFuture. But technology is always evolving and what you learn today will likely be obsoleted in the near future. So start to develop soft skills like customer service. You don’t learn these stuff in school but to survive in this society, you need to master them!
Networking is one of the timeless skills that will get you ahead of the job competition. This is because hiring managers prefer to work with people they know or like. Thus, many jobs are not advertised at all, especially the more critical ones. Employers would want to fill such strategic roles with people who are competent and whom they can trust.
For me, the significance of networking really drive home when my wife recently got three job offers in the span of five months. Yes, you read it right – three job offers in this terrible market condition. The most unbelievable thing is that she has been a stay-at-home mom for the past five years after quitting her bank job to look after my two kids. Sound amazing isn’t it? Let me share with you her story.
Prior to our marriage, my wife had a successful stint in one of the local banks. However, she decided to give up her banking career to take care our first baby. It was not an easy decision because she had good working relationships with her ex-colleagues and had built a good reputation within the banking sector. Nonetheless, five years passed and she feels ready to re-enter the workforce again.
In June, she got her first offer from one of her ex-colleagues who sounded her out about a vacancy in a bank. Over the years, she still keep in contact with many of her colleagues. Initially, we were quite skeptical about her chances of getting the job because after five years of being stay-at-home-mom, her experience may be considered out-dated. Nonetheless, through her friend’s referral and recommendation, she got the job.
Then recently, her friend refer her to another position in another financial company. She was interested because the working hour is more flexible and allows her to spend more time with our kids. The salary offer is much lower but we are fine with it because money is not the first priority in re-entering the workforce. She went for the interview and nailed the job.
My wife tendered her resignation last week but her boss did not try to retain her. Instead, the higher management from another division heard about it and wanted to transfer her to his department. As a result, she got another offer!
The whole episode reinforced in me that while Singapore employers still emphasize on meritocracy, having a strong network can be advantageous to your career. A quality network will provide you that first-mover leads on good jobs and open doors that may not be visible to others. Of course, the success rate of securing the job will still depend a lot on your interview skill but it doesn’t hurt to have glowing recommendations from your referral.
But what if you don’t have any professional network to speak of? Then it is time you start to build your network. For me, blogging allows me to reach out to my readers and I started this email subscription in June this year. The number of followers of my blog has been increasing and I hope to organize a gathering to let my followers network. If you have not signed up, I hope you will because it is free and you may unsubscribe anytime you wish. Signing up is easy: you just need to input your email address in the box below. You will receive an email confirmation requesting your validation. Please remember to confirm to receive my blog articles in your email.
It is my wish to meet my blog followers one day and get to know them better. Investing can be lonely sometimes and I would love to exchange ideas with my followers in a gathering. Through sharing, I believe we can be better wealth builders. This will be a gathering by wealth builders, for wealth builders.
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SG Wealth Builder engages Singaporeans on topics related to personal finance, entrepreneurship and investments, such as shares and real estate.