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The job market is strained with the after-effects of the coronavirus pandemic. With many companies going bust, handing out pink slips and freezing its hiring, the labour market has only become tighter – and more competitive.  

But one can stay optimistic about employment opportunities and get hired in these trying times, says Marvin Ang, director of the Professional Development Centre at British Council Singapore. He shares some tips with job-seekers.  

Marvin Ang, director of the Professional Development Centre at British Council Singapore

What are a few critical new skills needed in this climate?

If you are preparing for an online job interview, you will probably realise that presentation and teleconferencing skills are more essential than before. Imagine now having to present in a virtual room to a remote audience – this can be a daunting task! So up-skilling these areas before your next online interview is the right path to success. The ability to manage your speaking time effectively and constantly engaging your audience are traits of a successful presentation and teleconferencing skills.

Should one stay open to short-term opportunities? 

I would say yes. Given the uncertain economic climate, fresh graduates and job seekers can find their job-hunting journey tough and with low success. Taking on a short-term contract not only allows you to earn some income but also provides the opportunity to develop transferable skills. These could be valuable if you’re new to the workforce or unsure what career path suits you. 

How can one get involved in the growing industries, such as cybersecurity and fintech? 

If you are deciding on a career switch to a growing industry, but unsure about your choice, you can find out more through:

1. Reading industry research and trends reports

2. Talking to people from the industry

3. Taking up a short-term position with the company

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Could you share some tips for nailing remote interviews? 

Due to Covid-19, most job interviews are now conducted over online video or phone calls. You can consider the following tips: 

1. Prepare your environment early as you’ll probably have the online video call at home. Ensure you have a clean and presentable backdrop. And dress professionally and sit up straight during the interview. 

2. Check your Wi-Fi connectivity as well as your audio and sound capabilities on your computer to ensure everything works properly at least a day before the interview. If there are any technical glitches, you’ll have adequate time to get them fixed. 

3. Just like any normal face-to-face interview, always prepare yourself well. Do your research on the company, read the job description and prepare your answers to the common questions. 

4. Remember to leave adequate time for questions. If you anticipate that the interview will take an hour, set at least 15 minutes for any questions and discussion. This is the best time to review any written questions that were left unanswered or ask good questions to demonstrate your interest in the job.

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Do you have different advice for job seekers who are fresh grads, job seekers who got retrenched and those who are in-between jobs? 

For fresh grads, they can work on their writing and presenting skills. These skills are not only essential, but also in high demand. A well-written resume or a successful presentation can put the candidate head and shoulders above the competition. 

Local job seekers who are made redundant and actively looking for work can get employment assistance from Workforce Singapore (WSG). They provide services such as the Career Centres which provide a wide range of career and training services. 

What do you have to say to those who are anxious about being out of a job during such times? 

Keep an open mind, stay calm and always look out for fresh opportunities within your network of friends, ex-colleagues, job recruiters and professional social media platforms like LinkedIn. If you are a Singaporean aged 25 and above, you can use your SkillsFuture Credit to develop new skills and seek new opportunities in different industries.