Finding new jobs in 2009 will be tough. What do you do?


IN 2009 finding a new job in Malaysia will be tough.

Retrenchments loom, jobs are shrinking, and many Malaysian candidates are repatriating from Hong Kong, China and Singapore. Many people are already considering staying with their present employer rather than considering new positions.

Unfortunately hiding from change doesn’t always mean we can avoid it.

There are many external factors which will affect you and your career and it can be stressful to not have control of the situation.

Being retrenched is the most obvious example of this. However, it can be equally frustrating to realise that the company, job or profession you are in is not for you.

How do you take control of this situation and find a job that matches your aspirations despite a tough economy? What do you do if you are retrenched? How can you lay the foundation today for an enjoyable and satisfying career tomorrow?

These are questions often asked by candidates and I thought it be worthwhile to share some excerpts from Talent2’s outplacement and career transition programmes.

Talent2 typically provides these programmes to governments and international corporate organisations seeking to ensure that they are looking after retrenched employees.

They are targeted at CEOs to workers and provide an end-to-end framework for you to follow. One that allows for self-exploration and assessment of skills, values and personal aspirations.

In today’s job market, the people who really succeed in career search are the ones who are best informed and advised.

They make the right choices at the right times. Being faced with career change can be challenging for many people. Having to face various types of decisions throughout this period presents a need to be well informed with the necessary clarity to make the right choices.

Clearly the person who knows you best is YOU!

However, the idea of taking the time to really look at oneself and reflect on the path that one’s career has taken and what skills and satisfaction have come as a result, is something most people rarely do.

That’s why sometimes it’s necessary to get a second opinion.

You need objective advice to take stock of your past career, identify future career aspirations through self-assessment, identify transferable skills to ensure you are assessing all career options and providing you with the tools and resources to market yourself to prospective employers.

It’s important to clearly identify the aspects of your career that have worked to date, and those that haven’t. By combining this information, a list of characteristics and themes should help influence your career transition.

If you find yourself looking for work, we would encourage you to work through the following steps. These are by no means exhaustive but they should provide you with a foundation for successfully undertaking the next step in your career.

1. Understanding and managing change.

The last two decades have seen tremendous change in working practices. This change is worldwide. Careers just don’t follow the same rules as they used to. You need to anticipate the cycle of emotions you can expect to feel and how to turn this into a plan for career success.

2. Professional self analysis.

We all have different personalities, values, motivations, skills, competencies and strengths. Consequently, we also have different natural work preferences. By reflecting on what is important to you, it should have helped you build a better understanding of the career options that are most appropriate for you.

3. Analysing ideal career options.

If you can clearly articulate your ideal next role, and explain how past experience and future aspirations are linked to that role, then search and recruitment consultants and your network will be far more willing to work with you to explore these options and other related roles. This also requires a skills analysis to ensure your current skills and preferences will move you towards your long term goals.

4. Resume and application responses.

This area receives more questions than any other. What’s the best way to apply for a job? What do resume readers really look for? What do recruitment agencies really think of me and why haven’t they called me back?

5. Job search techniques

Once you have identified your most marketable skills, abilities and experiences, and have created an effective resume to summarise and highlight them, the next step is to get into the job market. But you also need to know how to access the hidden job market for positions that aren’t advertised.

6. Interview, selection and negotiation techniques.

You need to arrive for interviews prepared and psychologically on the front foot. This is going to increase your chances of being offered the job. Furthermore you need to know when you can start negotiating. You also want to be in a position where you can negotiate on more than just the salary package.

A successful negotiation on designation, responsibilities, salary review, holidays, work schedule etc. can result in a win/win outcome and ensure you have a long and enjoyable working life.

Consider each of these steps carefully before you start your new career search. Particularly if you find yourself out of work after a long stay with one employer. Someone once said to me that looking for work is a full-time job.

Nothing could be more true – particularly if there are other candidates adopting this approach who are applying for the same job.

My industry colleagues might consider some of these trade secrets of a headhunter but I am sure my profession will forgive me in light of the many people who will be adversely affected by the economic downturn.

Either way it’s important you arm yourself with the right tools to give you the edge.

In 2009 the competition for work will be fiercer than ever and it’s the well prepared candidates who will come out on top.

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