Taking a break from work sounds good to most people but if your ‘holiday’ stretches into months and the cover letters you send continually get no replies, you might feel insecure about your position and strength as a job seeker.
The job-searching period, however, can also provide a useful window of time for you to become a better worker. That doesn’t need you to fork out more of your already-depleting savings either. In fact, there’s one easy way to do improve yourself on a budget, through schemes like SkillsFuture. Get inspired by these five pointers on increasing your employability in the marketplace:
1. Keep preparing yourself for the market
Instead of waiting around for an employer to take you in, catch up with what companies need. In the competitive world of job-hunting, your skill sets are pit against others and having more of them will make you stand out as a candidate for a prized position in your dream company.
So don’t fret needlessly over the last 10 jobs you applied for but didn’t get. It’s more important to keep moving forward. Continue to send those applications but pick up new skills or improve existing ones to be market-ready. Take a look at SkillsFuture to check on courses that fit your field of work. From courses in business management or accounting and finance to video editing and coding, the scheme serves to build upon your desired portfolio.
2. Get on to SkillsFuture
$500 in credits and periodic top-ups to ensure you keep hitting the books? That sounds like a deal right out of a marketer’s bag of tricks, but that’s what you’re entitled to if you are a Singaporean aged 25 and above. The national scheme aims to encourage lifelong learning in citizens and for them to continually develop their skills.
Best of all, you may end up paying just a dime for courses, as SkillsFuture credits can be applied along with other existing government subsidies, which may make your lessons even cheaper.
3. Be on the ball
SkillsFuture credits are envisioned to help all types of workers, not just those starting their careers. In fact, it’s especially pertinent for older workers, those in their mid-career stages and the adventurous transitioning to another industry.
So you may not have full knowledge of the subject you’re learning about by the time the next interview rolls around. But you can at least truthfully let it be known you’re currently learning. The nuggets of new information you glean from the syllabus and showcase in your interview can get your foot into the door of places you never thought you could go to.
It also lets potential employers know you’re a worker who is constantly looking at self-improvement and how to do their job better – never a bad thing when they assess you at the hiring table.
4. Attend relevant workshops and events
Formal classes are not just the only settings in which you can get useful tips. Look out on social media, meetup groups and event listings for gatherings and events relevant to your career or work that you can attend. For example, if you’re a budding programmer or web developer, DevFest Asia provides events and more importantly, a community around which you can rally and learn much from. You can even bring the knowledge of these contacts to your next job.
5. Look into your interests
Of course, you can enrol in classes out of interest too. While updating skillsets are recommended for everyone in the competitive workforce, it may feel like a chore if you’re not particularly interested in the syllabus.
Besides, you never know how your interests will help pave the way for a breakthrough in your career! A prime example of this can be found in the late Steve Jobs’ famous commencement speech directed at Stanford University graduates in 2005.
Although Jobs dropped out of college, he continued dropping in on classes he was interested in. One such class he took was calligraphy, where he learnt about typefaces and typography. “None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life,” said Jobs to the students. “But 10 years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography.”
The lesson provided to the graduates was that “you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future”. Sometimes, following your heart and staying hungry for knowledge, as Jobs did, can make a huge difference in your career and life down the road.