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Using skills to seize job opportunities

Updated: Jun 21, 2020

The outlook is bleak.

The virus, COVID-19, literally causes businesses to shut. Travel, retail, aviation and other sectors are affected directly or indirectly. It’s like a global chain where the lifeblood of one is cut loose and the rest doesn’t have the oxygen.

Needless to say, Singapore is not spared.

Wages froze. Bonuses are eliminated. Some are asked to go on “no-pay” leave. There are also cases where the headcount is shrunk due to falling business profits. People are made redundant unfortunately.

On the other end, there seems to be a dark cloud hanging over job-seekers.

According to Channel News Asia article dated 20 March, Manpower Minister Josephine Teo highlights this:

“Job vacancies in Singapore are expected to fall further this year given the uncertainties in 2020”

Certainly, the job vacancies report for 2019 by Ministry of Manpower (MOM) isn’t promising. There were 52,900 job vacancies in 2019 as compared to 63,300 in 2018.

Having said that, the report further states that there are job opportunities in information technology, healthcare, business development and sales.

Employers are looking for PMETs (Professionals, Managers, Executives, Technicians) who possess specialized skills and more emphasis on work experiences and attitude, rather than academic qualifications.

Even if you fall under as someone who is looking for a job or switching to the above due to poor economic conditions – this is the time to fish for opportunities.

What should I do now?

Knowing your chances are in:

- Business Development & Sales - Information Technology - Healthcare Perhaps, it's worth exploring in these roles.

Do I have the available skills that Hiring Managers are looking for?

How do I know if I have the right skills?

Discovery is the first step.

Here is a little exercise.

Circle the top 5 things you enjoy doing from this list below.

Definition of each word is subjected to your perception. For example, if you choose "assembling" - person A will equate this with machinery parts while person B refers to multi-tasking projects.

Doesn’t matter if you are good at each of the things.

Just enjoy doing - and that's it.

(source: "What Color is your Parachute", a book by Richard N Bolles, 2016 edition)

From the 5 chosen, can you pick the top 3 instead?

Then, ask these questions to yourself and to your buddies:

1) How good am I in each of the 3 words that I have chosen?

2) Name a situation that demonstrates my level of capabilities for each of the 3

3) What do others say about me regarding each of the 3?

Take 1 hour to write the preliminary answers on a piece of paper.

Now, you have a set of results.

But you need to test-drive and investigate further.

You need to extract out your top 3 key skills from the base of “what I enjoy doing”. Thereafter, measure the skills from less competent to very competent on a rating of 1-10.

Speak to a Career Coach who will be able to guide you. We have a 1-1 skill assessment session that is able to get you up to speed quickly and effectively.

Second exercise if the first is too difficult

Alternatively, look back into your tasks.

What have you done so far that make you a Star Performer? For example, you have overseen multiple projects that result in the efficiency rate to increase by 10%. You are so good at it that others praise you.

Self-reflect: From the things you did - what are the specific skills that you possess that lead to successful outcome?

Take note on the word “specific skill

Be extremely and superbly clear. For instance, communication is not a unique ability. Cross-cultural communication is.

Asian-level negotiation is a skill attribute that others are willing to pay you much more than just negotiation standalone.

Relationship building is generic. Corporate-level relationship with senior-level executives in multinationals and regional firms are in-demand.

You get the drift?

Resources available

If you find that the skill level is not up to the mark yet, there are various courses available to hone your core competencies.

If you are 40 and above, you get the “Mid-Career Subsidies” by SSG.

(Skill Future Singapore)

If you are under 40, you can use your Skill Future Credits. More credits will be added in after 1 October 2020 prior to the budget announcement this year.

I don’t work for SSG but they really do have the right resources for us to reach out. We should take charge and seize them.

You can also take a Gallup Clifton Strengths Finder but I wouldn’t point you in this direction if you are overly confused. If not, this strength-based assessment is also another tool to use.


After getting a sense of how good you are – next up is to search for potential job leads.

LinkedIn has a huge database of corporate professionals. It's the world's leading networking platform.

Do a search on “information technology” under “jobs” since the MOM jobs report has given us specific information.

You’ll see a bunch of positions available just like this:

Examine the job descriptions in each of them and do a matching process with your top 3 skills. Expand your skill vocabulary if need be.

It's also helpful to recycle back the words used in the job description and refer back to your earlier exercise above.

Now the question is......

Does your skills fit well into the job description under "information technology"?

If so, you get what you want.

If not, find more leads.

Compile a list and have a time frame to work on - probably not less than 12 days.


We feel isolated during the virus situation. We hear negative news. Countries are in absolute lock-down. Worse, we will get fearful of our current jobs.

For job-seekers, they may not know where to target.

We have to remember something:

Whenever there is a virus crisis that impacts the world, there will be pockets of opportunities. Stock markets crash, there will by bargain buyers. Therefore, "it's who-sell-what, who accepts-what" syndrome.

What do you have in your skill inventory that others really needs them?

That's the answer to unlock future job opportunities.

Besides, it's business as usual - just that the norm for firms is not to chase market shares and expansionary growth but containment.

The takeaway here is this: remember your top 3 skills very clearly. Align with your job searchers. Make sure you are able to articulate your talent exceptionally well.

Stay safe and optimistic!

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