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Nurhani Zailani Shatifan has built her entire career in the travel industry. Known affectionately as Hani to her peers and loved ones, she’s filled her three decades of working experience — which began in 1992 — with skills related to MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions) and travel.
However, when the Covid-19 pandemic hit the globe and forced worldwide travel to take a huge blow, her career came to an unexpected halt.
“Because Covid-19 hit quite badly, the travel industry crashed, and I was laid off,” Hani shares. Her retrenchment made it harder to bear because she had elderly parents who depended on her to provide for them. “I was still at home looking after my parents, who were both bedridden.”
Her parents’ needs contributed strongly to Hani’s search for a new job. At first, with her strong resume, she thought finding a new job shouldn’t take too long. After all, she has almost 30 years of working experience under her belt and has a wealth of knowledge and skills to make her an asset to any company.
However, as the pandemic had impacted the wider economy, there were fewer job roles available for her to apply. As such, days turned into months and into years, which increased her anxiety about finding a job quickly to provide for her parents.
“[I thought]: ‘Why isn’t there any employer calling me up for an interview?’ Then it starts to strike me that I think I need help,” she says. “I must go and seek help.”
As such, Hani decided to get in touch with a career coach. Reaching out through Workforce Singapore, she was connected to a career coach from Ingeus, a career matching provider appointed by the government agency.
With the help of her career coach, Hani worked on getting herself back on the market. She updated her resume to make it more relevant and honed skills that she could bring to job interviews, such as how to articulate effectively. She was also taught how to best search for a job, including making use of LinkedIn and networking opportunities to bounce back.
Working with a career coach also allowed Hani to rebuild her confidence, which took a hit when she was retrenched and out of a job for two and a half years.
The career coach also helped Hani find relevant workshops and training to ensure she is well-prepared and supported when employers come knocking on her door. Furthermore, Hani was exposed to labour market insights to open up her job search to different industries where her skills can transfer and be an asset.
So, when an employer finally called her up for an interview, Hani felt prepared and found the process much easier to manage.
“I felt at ease when the real interview happened, that I could actually answer most of the questions that [my career coach and I] had practised,” she recalls of her experience.
Indeed, her experience with a career coach at Ingeus paid off, and she was able to secure a job soon after as a Development Coordinator in an education institution.