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Jobseekers’ Diaries: I lost my aviation job when Covid-19 struck. Tech courses helped me switch quickly to a different industry

In this instalment of Jobseekers’ Diaries, Mr Dominic Wong, 30, who formerly worked in the aviation sector, recounts his “inevitable” retrenchment amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Jobseekers’ Diaries: I lost my aviation job when Covid-19 struck. Tech courses helped me switch quickly to a different industry
Mr Dominic Wong, 30, who formerly worked in the aviation sector, credits skills upgrading courses, and a supportive family, for helping him land a role at logistics company UPS just four months after getting retrenched.
Dominic Wong Hon Hoe

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 Dominic Wong, 30, who formerly worked in the aviation sector, recounts his “inevitable” retrenchment amid the Covid-19 pandemic. He credits skills upgrading courses, and a supportive family, for helping him land a short-term role in a different sector just four months later, which eventually became a permanent position. 

Losing my job came as a shock to me. I had worked as a pricing and business analyst for two years, putting my degree in aviation management to use by working with airlines to price air tickets for consumers, travel agents, and travel groups.

My colleagues and I were retrenched in early March 2020, when the pandemic first struck. In hindsight, it was inevitable. Covid-19 had reduced air capacity dramatically everywhere. My colleagues and I weren’t thinking about that then, we were just anxious to get back to work. My wife and I had a newborn child to care for, along with our home mortgage and living expenses.

For the next three to four months, I applied for over 200 roles in pricing, finance and business development functions across job portals, and on the government portal MyCareersFuture. However, it was challenging to get a job based on my previous niche work experience.

My life would have taken a downward spiral, but luckily, I had a great support system. My wife, family, and friends helped me and stood by me through those times, and I am truly grateful.

My wife gave me several suggestions for the interim. She encouraged me to open a stock brokerage account to help support myself by learning analysis and trading, while opening my career options to other industries. I also took courses in technology and data analytics to make myself more marketable.

Meanwhile, my family unconditionally supported the three of us with surprise deliveries of weekly groceries so that we wouldn’t have to worry about daily necessities, and I could focus more on securing my next job.

My friends kept a lookout for me and offered to put in referrals should there be spots open for someone with my skillset within their companies.

Finally, in July 2020, I landed a short-term marketing analyst job at logistics company UPS which eventually led to my current permanent role there in November that same year.

While the role differed greatly from my past jobs, I found I already had several skills that made me successful in this role, together with support and guidance from my mentors. My days are now much smoother and more stable than they were two years ago.

I would be lying if I said that my search was without any disappointment and several downfalls, but job-seeking did have moments of positive discovery. One of the high points of my search was getting feedback from an interview without asking for it. I was told I lacked the data analytics know-how compared to other candidates, which motivated me to learn and deepen my understanding of these tools and platforms.

I’ve also learned to think about my skills more creatively and this helped me open up to opportunities in more industries. As a result, I increased my understanding of myself and used my transferable skills to get new certifications that were more relevant to my current situation, which also aligned with what UPS was looking for.

My most important takeaway from this experience is to open yourself up — try something new and keep your options open for something that you are interested in or passionate about. 

ABOUT THE WRITER:

Mr Dominic Wong, 30, is an assistant manager for high tech segment marketing in the Asia-Pacific region at UPS. He plays a part in enhancing customer experiences and implements initiatives using the latest market trends. He is a proud father and husband.

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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