The Covid-19 pandemic was disruptive in many ways for many people, but one of the biggest shakeups could be seen in how well-laid career plans were affected.
Within a few months, jobs thought secure were in turmoil, and career momentum and lifestyle took a different direction with remote working enforced.
For Pete Lim* a 42-year-old informational technology (IT) executive, the pandemic led him to feel totally burnt out, to the point he had to take a one-year break from a career that involved IT project and operations management, government IT procurement, and accounting for budgeting and forecasting, in operational expenditures (OPEX) and capital expenditures (CAPEX).
Having lost his career drive during that time, he couldn’t find the energy to look for a job to return to the workforce.
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Pete shared with Workipedia by MyCareersFuture: “ It was after my one year out from the workforce that I realized I needed some form of push and motivation, which led me to look for career coaching services.”
The start of that journey led him to meet career coach Derrick Tan, who has specialist qualifications in career counselling.
Coupled with his previous experiences working in a US multinational company (MNC) and a decade as an expat worker overseas before he became a career coach recently, Derrick has been able to share sound advice to local jobseekers, aiding over 40 to find jobs in 2022.
“In my opinion, after leaving his previous employment, Pete was not active in his job search as he was still determining his job goals and job search strategy,” said Derrick. “Through us, Pete was informed about resources he could tap on, particularly career coaching, and subsequently signed up for our career matching programme.”
For those unfamiliar with Workforce Singapore’s Career Matching Services, these aid jobseekers starting their first jobs, looking for career changes, or rejoining the workforce!
The programmes and resources available to support jobseekers’ career development include:
- Access to quick career tips to ace interviews and speed up job searches
- The MyCareersFuture jobs portal helps jobseekers search and apply for jobs that match their skills
- Career GRIT: an easy yet structured job search guide that can support you in navigating career resources at any stage of your job search journey.
Picking up momentum after a career break
Both Derrick and Pete were painfully aware that the job search journey would take some effort, with Pete admitting: “The challenge and concerns I had was whether I was able to pick up momentum to return to the workforce after my long break!”
Derrick added: “Frankly, at the start, Pete was not as motivated nor active in his job search as he should have been.”
“This also made me more careful in considering which job opportunities to present and share with him, clearly given his previous work and roles had left him with a bad experience.
“I had to work with Pete to ally his concerns, overcome his inertia and career baggage, and make a decision to try new job opportunities.”
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What Derrick was doing was essentially what all career coaches do, which is to help jobseekers:
- Create a career plan to meet their goals
- Overcome blind spots that may be hampering their job search
- Stand out from other candidates when they search and apply for jobs
- Breakdown roadblocks or challenges that come their way
- Help them put their best self forward by being prepared and confident
Getting to the finish line
Of course, the whole point of career coaching and matching is that it needs to lead you to the right job, and in Pete’s case, his story had a happy ending- all that effort led him to end up with two competing job offers!
This happened with Derrick’s constant encouragement and guidance, as Pete actively connected with his job search network and recruiters to scout for possible job opportunities. Throughout it all, Derrick also supported Pete by preparing him for all his interviews.
Pete said: “In the end, I decided on taking up my current job as an IT project manager with NCS Pte Ltd (a multinational IT company headquartered in Singapore) after weighing up the pros and cons with Derrick, as it commanded a better wage package than the other.”
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The career coach experience and why it helps
For Pete, it helped that Derrick was a proactive career coach willing to go the extra mile for him. He concluded: “Derrick really did try all his contacts and kept forwarding job descriptions to me.
“He didn’t give me the impression that just because I couldn’t secure a job, the fault was all mine, but actively pushed and encouraged me while giving good advice.
“He also instilled confidence in me, which gave me an assurance I wasn’t alone in overcoming my job search challenges!”
*Name has been changed