Imagine this, there are 10 people queuing up to purchase the latest iPhone but there is only one left. All of them are able to afford the iPhone and some are even willing to pay a higher price for it. Yes, this is how the current job market looks like. The job market is saturated with degree holders and qualified workers, yet there is a shortage of jobs because of COVID-19. Unemployment rate in Singapore is at 4.38%, up from 4.11% from a year ago. As firms become more prudent in hiring and the emphasis on digital technology (think AI and machine learning), your job could become obsolete in future! Machines have become so sophisticated that they can take on not just labour intensive jobs, but skilled jobs as well (does robo advisors sound familiar?). So how do we remain relevant to the economy? The right skills and attitude are key.
If you have FOMO (fear of missing out), don’t miss out on the trending skills! Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning and Data Analytics are the buzzwords for 2020. In this fast-paced economy, it is important to unlearn and relearn. Skills that you currently possess might become obsolete in the next 3 to 5 years, so always have the thirst for knowledge and desire to learn. Equip yourself with these skills or at least be aware of them. Sign up for in-demand courses or at least something that you are interested in. Who knows? You might discover an even better career path. Remember to look out for courses with certificates so that you can flex it on your LinkedIn.
Work On Your Soft Skills
Hard skills are important and the first step to opening the doors to your career path, but it is the soft skills that will snag you the job. In the sea of degree holders and experienced workers, what sets you apart are the soft skills! Regardless of the type of job you do, soft skills are highly-valued in the economy. It determines how you interact with your colleagues and manage your work. As technology advances, companies want people who are thinkers and leaders. Ideas, empathy and leadership are irreplaceable by machines and robots and proves that you are value-adding to your company.
Did you know that more than 75% of the jobs available in the market are not posted on job portals? Job positions are often filled through employee recommendations, so never underestimate the power of networking! Get out there and attend networking events. If you are an introvert, connect with people on LinkedIn. Engage in conversations and catch up with them once in a while even if you are not looking for a job. These connections could come in handy when you are looking for a career switch or better opportunities in the future. Not looking for a career switch? Connect with industry experts who can share tips on excelling in your career.
Review And Assess Yourself
What’s stopping you from becoming a better version of yourself? You, and only you! The competition is always within yourself and becoming a better version of yourself. If you are feeling comfortable where you are, it’s time to change. Discomfort leads to growth while comfort leads to stagnation. If you are not sure where to begin, start by getting feedback from your colleagues and people around you. We often view ourselves either too critically or through rose-tinted lenses, so having a third person perspective can provide feedback objectively. Being aware of your weaknesses is the first step, but what really matters is that you are committed to make the change and improve yourself.
Seize The Opportunity
Opportunity doesn’t come knocking on the door twice, so seize it when you are given the chance. Be it a new job opportunity or a new position, don’t take too long to consider. The longer you take, the more time it gives them to consider other candidates. If you are looking for a job, take any reasonable opportunity that comes your way. If you are interested in climbing the corporate ladder, find ways to showcase your competencies and leadership skills. Take the initiative to spearhead new projects. As the saying goes, Carpe Diem!
If there’s anything COVID-19 has taught us, it would be to never be complacent. Good for you if you are still in your current job! Learn to improve yourself consistently and show that you are an asset to your company. If you lost your job because of COVID-19, it’s okay. Understand that some things are beyond your control and know that you are not alone. Many others have lost their job amidst COVID-19 as well. You might feel lost and demoralized after losing your job, but don’t give up! Give yourself some time to recalibrate and find your direction.