Jobseekers' Diaries: I was laid off twice in 8 months but landed a job through networking, humility
In this instalment of Jobseekers’ Diaries, business development veteran Kannan Ram, 40, recounts how he was retrenched twice during the Covid-19 pandemic.
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, business development veteran Kannan Ram, 40, talks about how he was retrenched twice during the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite the double setback, he maintained a positive attitude, improved his resume and turned his attention to sectors and positions he had not previously considered before landing a new job.
There is a saying that lightning does not strike twice. But I felt like the shock of lightning hit me more than once when I was retrenched twice during the Covid-19 pandemic.
I was working as a regional development manager for an events management company for close to 10 months when the news of being laid off was delivered to me in June 2020 as the position had been made redundant. Though I was disappointed, I did not let it affect me.
I immediately started applying for jobs on the MyCareersFuture platform.
Through this, I came to know about government agency Workforce Singapore's Careers Connect centre and decided to seek career help.
I was connected with senior career coach Noralizah, who gave me tips on improving my resume to better showcase my professional experience and skill sets, and who also encouraged me to leverage my networks and be more active on the professional networking site LinkedIn during my job search.
In October 2020, I landed a full-time position with another events management company as a business development executive. Unfortunately, the joy didn’t last long as I was let go in February 2021 with the company downsizing because of the pandemic.
The thought of having to restart the whole job search process frustrated me, but I remained positive as I learnt that there is no shame in falling down and only pride in getting back up.
Every time I hit rock bottom, the only way was to look up and stand tall. My wife has been my pillar of support during this difficult time.
Once again, I went back to the drawing board, tapping the various job portals and LinkedIn in my job search.
I applied for roles that I was familiar with, such as in business development and sales, and considered industries including fast-moving consumer goods and logistics, which were new to me.
I must have applied for close to 20 roles a day but received very few responses from prospective employers. During this four-month period that I was not employed, I kept myself occupied by doing freelance work, including coaching staff manning call centres, while continuing my job search.
My patience paid off when I was headhunted by a recruiter on LinkedIn in May 2021 and was offered a role as a business development representative with an oil-and-gas company in June 2021. Even though it is a junior role, I now enjoy my work and have put the past behind me.
My advice to mature jobseekers out there who are in a similar situation is to stay relevant and not be afraid of making a career switch.
Be open to accepting roles that may seem like a step down from your previous role, stay humble and show your willingness to learn. While companies are looking for talents with the right skill sets, soft skills such as having a positive attitude would benefit one greatly as well.
ABOUT THE WRITER:
Mr Kannan Ram, 40, was retrenched twice during the pandemic. He eventually landed a job with an oil-and-gas company in June 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.