Losing a job and attempting to build a new career can be extremely stressful and even overwhelming. Yet one mature jobseeker demonstrated that resilience and the ability to position his strengths can steer him through the toughest times to achieve a better career.
47-year-old Mr Chia is armed with only an ‘O’ levels qualification but is a veteran with more than 20 years of experience in the electronics industry. Over the past 10 years, he worked at various production facilities in China and was highly valued for his expertise. In early 2015, he received news that his company would be closing down as business prospects were bleak.
“The company did not offer any retrenchment package or assistance in any way,” recalled Mr Chia. “They had simply announced the closure and left us to make our own plans. I was not too worried then as I had built up my savings over the years. My plans were to return to Singapore and spend time with my son and family.”
A month after he returned to Singapore, Mr Chia began searching for a new job. He tapped onto a number of job portals and responded to numerous job advertisements placed by companies in the semi-conductor industry. Over a 6-month period, he sent almost 70 resumes, but to his surprise, only 5 companies responded with interviews.
“I knew the job market was tight, but I didn’t expect the response to be so bad,” shared Mr Chia. “Around the fifth month of my job search, stress began to creep in along with fears of my financial commitments. I started to wonder if anything was wrong with my resume; were my age and qualifications hindering my progress or was I away for too long and was out of touch with the job market.”
Mr Chia’s doubts were exacerbated by his inability to reach out to his peers in the local industry as he had not maintained contact during the 10 years he was away.
Just as hopes of him landing a job appeared slim, Mr Chia’s wife chanced upon some information on Workforce Singapore’s Career Centres and the Career Support Programme while watching the news on Channel NewsAsia, and she encouraged Mr Chia to find out more.
In December 2015, Mr Chia had his first appointment with a Workforce Singapore Career Coach. He underwent a personal assessment to discover his strengths and received guidance in positioning his resume to better reflect the capabilities and experiences he had built up. He was also linked to industry events and job-matching opportunities to further improve his chances of finding a job.
“I was open to jobs outside of the semi-conductor industry, so I took up suggestions to attend career previews for Professional Conversion Programmes (PCP) to explore the possibility of being placed in a job in other sectors. Unfortunately, I felt there was no job fit,” shared Mr Chia.
In early 2016, armed with an improved resume, Mr Chia applied for a job in an electronics company and was called up for an interview.
In addition to assisting Mr Chia with interview preparations, Mr Chia’s Career Coach also shared about the salary support given to companies as part of the Career Support Programme (CSP) under the Adapt and Grow initiative.
Within a couple of weeks, Mr Chia received good news that he had secured the job.
“My 20 years of experience in electronics operations was certainly a crucial factor in convincing my current employer to hire me, and the wage support offered by the Career Support Programme helped me to secure the job,” reflected Mr Chia.