My experience in finding a job, so far.
The current pandemic has impacted everyone and will continue to for a long time to come. Many people have lost more than they ever imagined. But I’m sticking to the subject of jobs.
I knew I was leaving a career I enjoyed and would have nothing. That was a risk I was willing to take, and it was essential in achieving our goal in moving to Singapore. I chose not to have a job and to find something when we landed. What I didn’t expect was a global pandemic to hit a month after arriving in a new country.
There are a lot of recruiters and business leaders commenting on recruitment and how to get a job in this most challenging of times. Some of the advice is good, most is obvious and some I just don’t agree with. Whilst I haven’t landed a job yet, I’ve been successful in having a number of conversions and I’ve started to develop a whole new network in a new country and continent. This for me is a huge win and I’m hopeful of some positive news soon.
With the above in mind, I wanted to share a few of the things I’ve been doing over the past few months to gain some traction in the recruitment cycle, in hope that it helps someone else. I’m no expert, agree or not, this is simply my experience to date.
- Use your network. Just before I started my search, I posted a message on here asking my network if they knew of anyone in APAC and more specifically Singapore. So many people shared my message and connected me with friends, family and ex-colleagues it was incredible. I figured, what’s the point building this network if I wasn’t going to use it?
- Biggest learning – LinkedIn alone, isn’t enough. Please, please, please don’t just apply on LinkedIn and think your job is done. If this is the approach you’re taking – then you’re not doing enough. Having been on the other side I can tell you that the format isn’t pretty, and you won’t stand out. It’s unlikely that you’ll even hear back from a LinkedIn application. So, to counter this, I’ve been proactively finding the hiring manager. Nine times out of ten this is listed on the description ‘reporting into the CEO/VP of X’. Find this person and drop them a mail, say hi, start building a relationship beyond your profile. I’ve been pleasantly surprised as to the number of responses I’ve had and remember, if nothing comes of it, you’re growing your network.
- You’ll do more by yourself and with friends than a recruiter will. I appreciate I may have now screwed myself for the future. But the reality is I’ve got further personally trying different routes to build my network than any recruiter has for me so far. I’ve met a few and they have all been great, they’re having a tough time too. But, don’t rely on them to get you out of a hole. You’re only as good as you’re network. But, don’t forget your friends, family and ex-colleagues have networks too and a referral goes a long way. I’ve sent countless WhatsApp messages asking people if they know anyone at X business or Y agency. A lot of the time someone knows someone and they’re mostly happy to refer as there’s a financial benefit if I get the role.
- Think outside the box, be open to different roles and consider creating a role over finding one. It has surprised me a little in Singapore. Everyone seems to want to put me in a client services box. It’s not a position I’ve ever had before and to be honest not a position I’ve ever really wanted. But, three of the interviews I’ve had have suggested that they’d love to reach out when a client leadership role becomes available. As nice as it is, I’d urge you not to jump into an area that you don’t want to be in, just for the paycheque. Stay strong, you’ll find what you want.
- People are trying to help you, let them. I saw this last week, (https://www.linkedin.com/posts/carolinelangston_singapore-jobseeker-unemployed-activity-6665838178752180225-oN-N) which is actually part of a bigger thing, recruitersgiveback.org. Set up by Caroline Langston to help people, like us in Hong Kong, Singapore, UK, USA, Thailand, Australia and Dubai, definitely take a look. I thought this was pretty awesome, a little ray of sunlight in a miserable forecast. There are many examples of people trying to help. From people offering CV advice and free coaching (like my lovely friend Kerry) to others sharing lists of companies that are hiring. Use this resource, it’s free!
- Digital interviews are the new norm. Prepare just like you would for a face to face. I’ve struggled to adapt to digital interviews seeing them more as chats or meetings over interviews. But, if you’re lucky enough to land a job in these times, your introduction to the business, colleagues and clients will be digital so get used to it and make sure you have a setting that enables it.
- There are jobs out there, you have to look for them and hustle a little more than you normally would. Don’t give up, you’ve got this. Be patient (if you can) I appreciate everyone isn’t in the same position. This is your opportunity to redefine yourself and find a role that you’ll enjoy.
- Don’t let it consume you. It’s mind-numbing, a little demotivating and can get you down running a search and seeing nothing new day after day. Relevant jobs don’t come up every single day. Set a schedule, I’ve started searching every three days. It’s the first job of my day and is followed by learning, I’ve just finished a certificate in nutrition. Otherwise, networking or playing a bit of Scrabble on my iPhone. Consider your mental health as this could have a negative impact if not managed, it’s a tough slog.
Eight things I’ve learnt in the last two months. I hope this help someone else, I’d love to hear your thoughts and any lessons you’ve taken too.
Practising what I preach – if you know anyone in Singapore, specifically in the content world, I’d love to grab a virtual coffee with them and would appreciate an intro.