Jobseekers’ Diaries: I feared I wouldn't find a new job at my age. Learning how to use social media changed that
In this instalment of Jobseekers’ Diaries, Mr Winson Gabriel Tay, 50, recounts his 10-month job search after losing his job when his employer underwent restructuring.
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, Mr Winson Gabriel Tay, 50, recounts his 10-month job search after losing his job when his employer underwent restructuring. He used the time to improve his profile on professional networking site LinkedIn, as well as hone his social media marketing skills, which paid off when his current employer saw his profile and offered him a job.
Do you want to “go through” or “grow through” the pandemic? This is a question that I constantly reminded myself of after I was displaced in September 2020 from my job as a key account manager.
The consumer electronics conglomerate where I had been working for three years had undergone restructuring.
This challenging period has been an epic test of character for all of us. For my part, I wondered if, and when, I would be able to find another job at my age.
The 10 months of my job search was no walk in the park. I sent off more than 90 job applications but received countless rejections.
In the first four months, I started by simply applying for jobs in any roles or sectors, even those that I had little experience in such as digital marketing. The fruitless hunt affected my morale, and I got wearier with each passing day.
I’m grateful to have a big-hearted and supportive wife. She stood by me and lifted me up when I was down, even though she was occupied with her work.
That got me going, and I decided not to wallow in self-pity and review what I was not doing right to nail any interview opportunities.
In December 2020, I chanced upon various webinars conducted by Workforce Singapore and attended specific sessions that offered various job search strategies and tips on maintaining a positive mindset during trying times.
I began to be more strategic in my job applications and ensured that my skills and experience matched at least 80 per cent of the job description.
I used the next few months to enhance my LinkedIn profile which was bare and didn’t even have a photo. I worked on highlighting my job experiences and skills endorsements, and reached out to ex-contacts to help pen recommendations.
I also widened my LinkedIn connections and positioned myself as a thought leader in the areas of retail and digitalisation with my posts and comments.
During this time, I also took up a social media marketing course under the SGUnited Skills Programme to develop myself in an area I was weak in. I was paid a monthly allowance of S$1,200 during the course, which helped to sustain my family’s finances.
I began to see the significant difference it made in my job search as I received calls from three employers for job interviews.
In June 2021, I got a call from my current employer, an interior design firm who had seen my LinkedIn profile, and joined them the next month as a marketing and sales manager.
The pandemic, which has affected everyone globally, has taught us invaluable lessons. I strongly believe that it is crucial to upskill and retrain ourselves constantly, and not to let the challenges we encounter along our journey defeat us.
I encourage others who may be in the same boat as me to persevere and “grow through'' this pandemic by improving their mindset and skill sets to emerge stronger.
ABOUT THE WRITER:
Mr Winson Gabriel Tay, 50, had a gruelling 10-month job search journey. His family support and religious faith played a significant role in helping him overcome his job search fatigue. After improving his job search techniques, he eventually secured a marketing and sales manager role with an interior design firm in July 2021.
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.