I started writing this article reflecting on our time in Circuit Breaker in Singapore, not knowing that by the time I finish we would be back in another lockdown. Now called ‘Heightened Alert’, working from home is yet again the default.
During our first lockdown in 2020, there was a lot of fear and uncertainty about the impact on the workforce. Senior management were focussed on maintaining headcount while waiting to see the business impact of the global pandemic. Employees were reluctant to make any changes lest they find themselves without job stability.
Unsurprisingly, this second lockdown has been met with a sense of familiarity. The seas may be rough, but business leaders have confidence that the storm can be weathered successfully and business will continue as planned. Even though physical offices are closed for now, companies are hiring and there are interesting new jobs on offer. Similarly we’ve seen many candidates with renewed clarity on their professional ambitions and who are willing to make a change.
As a consequence, despite the ‘Heightened Alert’ the PR and communications job market in Singapore is talent-rich and competitive. Now is not the time to be passive when it comes to your career progression. So here are my four top tips on how to get ahead in your job search when face-to-face meetings are not possible.
1. Stay connected
Many job openings are not advertised so you simply don’t know where your next job may come from. You may already be applying for jobs on LinkedIn, however only a small number of people successfully find their next position this way.
While coffee catch-ups or drinks after work are off the table it is important to maintain your professional network by emailing, calling or video chatting with ex-colleagues or friends. Your network can provide you with valuable intel about a company’s culture, a different perspective on your career aspirations or even recommend you for jobs. Additionally, reach out to a recruiter you trust – or that you’ve heard good things about – who can keep you on their radar, provide insights into the types of positions that are available, and connect you with the right opportunities when they come up.
2. Update your CV and LinkedIn profile
In the absence of physical networking events, LinkedIn is the primary way for people to reach out to you for opportunities. Once your profile is current, consider if it is working for you. A good test is whether you are being approached for relevant and appealing opportunities. If you’re not, there may be something missing on your profile or a key word that is sending the search results in a different direction. A trusted recruiter will be able to give you advice on how best to present your experience in a CV and on LinkedIn to get you closer to the right job opportunities.
3. Be flexible
If this pandemic has taught us anything it’s that the you never know what’s around the corner. While you may be clear on your goals, the reality is that careers are rarely linear. Instead, try to focus on your next learning milestone and prioritise learning new skills. At first glance, an opportunity may not look exciting but scratch beneath the surface; perhaps you will find a boss who is willing to share their experiences, purposeful work or a great team. A good recruiter should be able to advise you on the longer-term growth prospects of a role, and how they see you being a good fit for the culture and business objectives of the organisation.
4. Be positive
Of course, this is easier said than done, but it can really help to listen to yourself. Steer your course towards the things that energise you and away from the things that drain you. Perhaps you don’t need a new job. Perhaps you need an extended period of rest, or perhaps you need some coaching to overcome roadblocks, or perhaps your purpose or passion has shifted. Either way, be honest with yourself and speak to people who can be objective and help you achieve clarity.
If you would like to discuss your own circumstances or learn more about the market for PR and communications professionals in Singapore and South East Asia, please contact me directly. I’m free for virtual coffees over Zoom!