“Thirty-four years at SPH, and now I’m looking for a job again. Things have changed so much since then,” said June* (not her real name). “It’s like I’m newly divorced, going back into the dating scene.” Finding employment these days can be challenging . It’s even more difficult if you had been with the same company for decades. Finding yourself suddenly unemployed while your peers remain working, can also feel quite lonely. If only you had a team by your side or just someone to guide you, it might help you through this stressful time. Fortunately, there are several free career resources for jobseekers.
Where to Go For Career Help
In addition to networking, searching the national Jobs Bank, revamping your resume or LinkedIn profile, and upskilling, you can also visit one of the many centres that offer career advisory, job placement, and personal development services. These centres have successfully placed many jobseekers. And even if they cannot immediately find a match, they can advise you on how to improve your chances of getting hired. They’ll review your resume, help you with your job hunt, and even conduct mock interviews.
The National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) is a confederation of trade unions whose objectives are to look after workers’ rights, quality of life, employability, and well-being. Under this parent organisation are 2 initiatives that offer career guidance – the U PME Centre and e2i.
The U PME Centre
The U PME Centre serves the interests of Professionals, Managers and Executives (PMEs). All Singaporeans, including those who are not members of NTUC, can seek workplace, career and professional development advisory services.
Members of NTUC can book an appointment online with a U PME Centre Consultant. Non-members can also request an appointment by email (through the “contact us” link). Although their website states that consultations are “for NTUC Union Members only”, a U PME Centre Consultant told me that they also advise non-members. Members, however, will get priority and the choice of dates/times for their appointments, whereas non-members will not.
Make sure to prepare for the appointment. If you seek advice on workplace issues, bring your employment contract, last payslip, termination / resignation letter or any other relevant documents. If your interest is job placement, bring a copy of your resume.
Employment and Employability Institute, e2i
Since 2008, e2i has helped over 500,000 workers through job matching and placement, career coaching, and training programmes and initiatives. They work in collaboration with a wide network of over 5000 businesses. Their vision is to be the leading organisation to create solutions for better employment and employability.
You can book an appointment online with an e2i Employability Coach. Walk-in appointments are also available. You can also attend one of their many courses, training sessions or networking events. They’re a great resource if you want to know more about the latest workplace initiatives, such as the Place-and-Train Programme, the Professional Conversion Programme (PCP), the Career Support Programme, and Work Trial.
They also regularly hold e-Career Fairs, where you can register and browse job listings.
Workforce Singapore (WSG)
Workforce Singapore is a statutory board under the Ministry of Manpower (MOM). Their aim is to promote the development, competitiveness, inclusiveness, and employability of all levels of the workforce.
They have 3 career centres, recently remodelled and rebranded to better serve the changing jobs economy. The new Careers Connect centres are located at Our Tampines Hub, Woodlands Civic Centre, and the Lifelong Learning Institute.
At these centres, jobseekers can receive career counselling services through their Career Recharger initiative. This series of sessions is designed to help the unemployed not only with their job hunt, but also with the emotional challenges of a job loss. Another initiative, Career Catalyst, helps jobseekers identify their work preferences and valuable skills, and chart an action plan towards gainful employment.
The Careers Connect centres are also equipped with “interview pods” and other special spaces where employers and jobseekers can meet and network.
If You’ve Been Disrupted or Displaced
If you are a professional in transition, and are looking for others like you, you might want to check out the PIVOT Programme by NTUC. Being displaced from a job is stressful and can lead to depression and loneliness. The PIVOT Programme aims to help PMEs with network building, emotional support, and re-skilling to a new job role or industry. They offer a place for peer-to-peer support, career coaching, career preparatory workshops, industry talks, and placement opportunities.
At their speed networking sessions, participants get a chance to connect directly with their industry partners in an informal setting. Participants can get a sense of who’s hiring, and what skills these businesses are looking for. Plus, they’ll meet a lot of interesting people.
Some have been displaced and are currently seeking employment. Others are employed but are looking for side gigs or future options. And some, like June*, had spent nearly their entire working career with one company. It’s good to find peers who are in the same situation, and to know that you’re not alone. And with these free career resources, you can always have a team by your side.