Could you recover from a retrenchment in the middle of your career?
For most people who encounter such a setback, it is a stressful period filled with uncertainty. But help is on hand and can be found through career coaches such as Cheng Hing Nan.
Helping his client rebuild confidence, brick by brick
When Hing Nan met his client Mr Wong*, he saw a man in his mid-40s sapped of energy and optimism, and losing faith... fast. Having been made redundant from his previous job in late September 2015, Mr Wong’s nine-month job search took its toll not only on his spirits, but also on his dwindling savings. Finally, he decided to seek help through WSG’s career services, where he met career coach Hing Nan.
Having been retrenched not once but twice in his previous careers, Hing Nan could empathise with Mr Wong and felt an instant connection with him.
From day one, his mission was crystal clear. “I had to first convince Mr Wong that I understood his field of work,” Hing Nan said, “Having been in the same industry previously, we understood each other because we spoke the same business language, and so we forged a bond quite quickly in the first interview.”
Hing Nan gave his all to assist Mr Wong – from conducting one-to-one coaching sessions and helping Mr Wong identify his strengths and transferrable skills, to conducting numerous mock interviews so that he was fully geared up to face prospective employers. This included preparing him for possible questions on why he was unemployed for months and what he had done to be ready for his next job. With all this groundwork, Mr Wong gradually regained his confidence.
The power of family support
But there was another source of support for Mr Wong. Having received strong encouragement from his wife when he was jobless, Hing Nan also keenly understood the tremendous value of family support during tough times. He encouraged Mr Wong to share his worries with his wife and family.
“Partners can provide very strong emotional support during the job search stage, especially if you're down and stressed from your job search,” Hing Nan emphasised. Indeed, knowing that he had the backing of family in his job search, Mr Wong felt more at ease and his confidence further grew.
Staying resilient and never giving up – even amid major set-backs
Hope flared up in Mr Wong when he received a job offer through his own professional network about four months later. Had his hard work finally paid off?
Mr Wong decided to take the weekend to consider the offer seriously, because it meant switching to a different industry. Hing Nan urged Mr Wong to take up the job offer soon as this opportunity had finally arrived after a lengthy job search. However, Mr Wong was a little unsure if he could make a successful career change. Unfortunately, that extra time spent on consideration allowed another candidate to seize the job offer.
“He was devastated when he found out the following Monday,” Hing Nan said as he recalled Mr Wong’s look of regret. “He kept really silent for a while.”
Hing Nan didn't give up on his client and went straight back to work. He intensified his efforts and left no stone unturned, helping Mr Wong with his job interview presentation slides and research on prospective employers. Hing Nan had one key tip for senior PMET jobseekers like Mr Wong: “During the interview, you shouldn’t behave like an interviewee, you should behave like a business consultant.”
|“Senior PMETs should understand the company’s business challenges, and show that they can help solve those challenges.”
Hope flared into life again when Mr Wong managed to secure another interview with Hing Nan’s help. One successful interview and a call to the HR department later, Mr Wong was finally employed again.
Passion makes him go the extra mile
“I don’t mind clients coming to me to ask questions whenever they feel they need support or need to speak to someone to air their thoughts,” Hing Nan mentioned. “I know the anxiety they feel during their job search, such as when they are waiting for the hiring manager to reply – which can take around two to three weeks.”
Hing Nan celebrates each and every client’s success like his own. Seeing his own struggles mirrored in the job search of jobseekers such as Mr Wong, he easily relates to his clients’ joy when they see their hard work finally pay off with a new job.
“One of the most satisfying aspects of my job is when I see any of my clients get a job,” he said. “It just feels great when I’m able to help someone like Mr Wong!”
|“Their success inspires and motivates me to do my best to support all jobseekers who come to me for help.”
Hing Nan: Always keen to go the extra mile for his clients
If you think a career coach can provide the career guidance/advice you need, make an appointment at a WSG or Employment and Employability Institute (e2i) career centre.
*Client’s name and details have been changed for confidentiality reasons.