Your boss informs you one day with the bad news that the company can no longer afford to keep you due to the COVID-19 economic fallout. Now what?

It is never easy when you lose your job, moreover when it happens during a crisis where you need cashflow the most. But if that has unfortunately happened to you, don’t fret, it is not the end of the world yet, and neither does it have to be.

Here’s what you can do:

1. Get Testimonials

Your boss or direct line manager might be feeling bad about having to let you go due to the crisis as they couldn’t save your job. I know this is true, because I’ve seen this happen in my company as well. Instead of moping over it or even blaming them for not fighting for you, make sure that you do not let this opportunity to get a testimonial go to waste.

 Use this opportunity to strengthen the relationship (there’s no need to be bitter; reassure them that you completely understand) and use this chance to ask them for a testimonial that could help your search for a new job instead. Your manager will most likely be willing to oblige – they didn’t have the power to save your job from being axed, but they most definitely have the power to give you a favourable testimonial to help you get back on track again.

2. Explore Alternatives that Match Your Interests or Personality

Can’t find a job in your old role (or industry) in this current economic downturn? Don’t make the mistake that many retrenched workers do i.e. restrict yourself to only work that you previously did.

Instead, start mapping alternative job functions that match your interests or personality. Take a personality test (like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, for a start) and identify your skills and weaknesses. Even if you’ve taken such a test before, it is good to revise it every now and then as your character gets moulded over time and experiences.

New skills can always be picked up, but before you jump into anything, you want to first make sure that you’re going into something you can at least enjoy.

3. Consult a Career Coach

A good way to understand more about whether your new path(s) would be a feasible direction to take, is to consult a career coach for customized career guidance that is specific to your personality, life stage and previous work history.

If you’ve recently been retrenched, WSG Career Coaching services can help, and at no extra cost to you. Click here to register and apply to speak to a Career Coach!

4. Search for Job Availabilities Across Different Platforms

Not every employer uses the same job recruitment platform to post their vacancies, while some companies even bypass portals entirely to announce it on their own corporate websites or LinkedIn page. There is thus no reason for you to limit yourself to opportunities found on a single job site.

Here are some useful platforms and channels you can use:

If you’ll like to explore venturing into a new industry but find that there is a skills mismatch, you can also…

5. Upgrade and Upskill

Now that you’ve identified some new areas that you can explore further for job opportunities, check what are the typical skills required for the job(s) and whether you have them. If you don’t, then make full use of this time to learn and pick up those skills.

With the recent SkillsFuture payout from our government, you can also use your credits towards a course that you otherwise would have had to pay for. Check out applicable courses at MySkillsFuture here!

For example, my friend Vicki wanted to switch to a new specialisation but had zero knowledge or experience in the field, and nothing that she did in her previous job would be relevant or remotely useful. She enrolled herself and took industry certifications for the compliance sector, and eventually successfully snagged a job in compliance. On the other hand, I’ve met many people who expressed interest in the same field, but believed that only those with legal background (whether in school or at work) can qualify and get hired for compliance roles.

While most job listings may state that they require candidates to have prior experience, the truth is that it isn’t mandatory in every company. If you can demonstrate a good attitude and your willingness to work hard (especially by showing what you’ve done to upskill yourself during this time), many recruiters would still be inclined to give you a shot!

Don’t allow your limiting beliefs to hold you back. If you never try (and prepare for it), you’ll never know.

5. Revamp Your Resume – Make It Stand Out!

There are ways of writing and presenting your resume so that it’ll stand out from all the dozens (or hundreds) of applicants who are trying out for the same role. Remember, recruiters get dozens of job applications each day – and even more if the role or employer is extremely popular – so what are you doing to differentiate yourself and catch their attention among the crowd?

If you have friends who work in recruiting or are senior HR decision makers, you can ask them for a personal favour to vet through your resume before you send it out. Alternatively, Workforce Singapore also provides free consultation to Singaporeans and PRs with a career coach to help you through this, and prepare you for the interview once you get shortlisted.

TLDR; Conclusion

Losing your job isn’t the end of the world, and neither should you allow it to be. It is too easy to fall into the funk, but that’s the last thing you want to do. A company can let go of a worker for many reasons, and just because you’ve been retrenched, does not mean you won’t be in demand elsewhere.

So take this chance to recharge and upgrade yourself while you’re in between jobs, and you’re more likely to emerge from this (temporary loss of job) even stronger than before.

Take charge of your own path go ahead, set up an appointment with WSG Career Coaches for more information. You’ll be surprised at how it might just change your life / career.

Find out more about our suite of online Career Matching Services here.

Interested to get career guidance at no cost? 

This benefit is only available for Singaporeans and Permanent Residents.

Disclosure: This article is written in collaboration with Workforce Singapore, as part of their outreach efforts to help jobseekers and workers affected by COVID-19.