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Jobseekers’ Diaries: I couldn’t get a job for 4 months. Then I worked on my resume and interview skills

In this instalment of Jobseekers’ Diaries, retail veteran Low Chee Wee, 52, talks about how he found it tough to secure job interviews, despite having sent out more than 80 job applications in four months. Sprucing up his resume, and working on his networking and interview skills did the trick.

Jobseekers’ Diaries: I couldn’t get a job for 4 months. Then I worked on my resume and interview skills

Low Chee Wee found it tough to secure job interviews, despite having sent out more than 80 job applications in four months.

As jobs are a top concern for Singaporeans in the Covid-19 crisis, TODAY’s Voices section is publishing first-hand accounts from jobseekers in which they reflect on their experiences and what keeps them going.

In this instalment of Jobseekers’ Diaries, retail veteran Low Chee Wee, 52, talks about how he found it tough to secure job interviews, despite having sent out more than 80 job applications in four months. Sprucing up his resume, and working on his networking and interview skills did the trick.

 

For the first time in my life, I felt the pain of being rejected multiple times. It was probably one of the most challenging and difficult periods of my life.

I have been working in the retail industry for over 20 years, amassing leadership experiences in various roles such as sales, merchandising, operations and logistics. I even tried my hands on procurement.

Although the retail sector is dynamic, I decided to give myself a new challenge. In December 2018, I made the switch to join a private medical institution as its director of operations. It was an eye-opener and I enjoyed it, though the learning curve was steep.

Unfortunately, the pandemic made me rethink my future as the company was heavily dependent on foreign patients, which dwindled massively.

I left the company in June 2020, thinking that I could easily find another job since I’ve been successful in my job searches previously. I was so wrong. I was unaware that the shrinking job market would be so unforgiving.

I contacted my regular recruitment agency and also went online with my job search. I sent out more than 80 resumes over a four-month period, but only landed four interviews with no success. I could not believe that with my experience, it was so hard to get more interviews. I was dejected and doubted my capability.

In July 2020, I decided to sign up for a digital marketing course with Google. I took this as an opportunity to upskill so that I could possibly utilise and apply this new skillset in my new career.

Two months later, with encouragement from my wife, I decided to approach Workforce Singapore’s (WSG) Careers Connect centre.

A career coach there helped me to improve my resume, LinkedIn profile, methods of networking and even my interview skills.

It was not easy for someone of my age and experience to accept such feedback, but I trusted that it would benefit me.

With an improved resume, my profile drew the interest of more companies. I was even contacted by a Fortune 500 IT company when they saw my profile on the MyCareersFuture job portal.

The company invited me for an interview. It eventually chose an internal candidate, but I was still on its list for the future. That experience invigorated me and gave me higher hopes.

In November 2020, my break came when I got in touch with a human resource personnel from Tan Tock Seng Hospital through LinkedIn.

I was subsequently offered a job and I started work with them as a deputy director of operations (pharmacy) in February this year.

My stint so far has been nothing but enjoyable, having the opportunity to play an important role in the healthcare industry.

I want to say that in times of adversity, do not lose hope. Know your strengths well, be focused and don’t ever give up. You will get rejected, you will feel defeated, but one day, you will get that incredible opportunity which will make a big difference.

 

ABOUT THE WRITER:

Mr Low Chee Wee, 52, left his job in operations in June 2020. After finding interview opportunities few and far between, he signed up for a digital marketing course and also approached WSG Careers Connect for assistance. He eventually landed a job at Tan Tock Seng Hospital as a deputy director of operations (pharmacy) in February this year.

If you are a jobseeker with an experience to share or know someone who wishes to contribute to this series, write to voices [at] mediacorp.com.sg with your full name, address and phone number.

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