With over 8 years of experience in recruitment prior to joining NTUC’s e2i (Employment and Employability Institute), Tracy Tan now works as a career coach, helping others better understand what they want out of their careers.
She is amongst the 50 odd dedicated specialists at e2i who guide and assist in individuals’ career planning.
We sat down with her to find out more about how jobseekers can take full advantage of the services provided by career coaches.
How can a career coach can help an individual in his/her job search?
A career coach can help individuals gain better self-awareness skills; understand their career interests and preferences; recognise their work motivations; and help them differentiate their wants and their needs.
We can also help individuals identify their strengths and barriers to employment and/or education. Speaking to a career coach provides better clarity.
As a career coach, we should be able to provide our clients with up to date information on the labour market, such as the types of jobs available; the educational qualifications and training required to fill these roles; as well as information and resources about these occupations and where these vacancies are.
When should one approach a career coach?
Any time you wish to evaluate your career choices. We have assisted people who are new to the job market, to people who have been made redundant or even those who are currently employed but at a loss: such as feeling unsatisfied with their job; feeling helpless about their employment situation; or uncertain about their career direction.
You don’t have to be unemployed before you approach us. If you are at the crossroads of your career journey, it is good to seek us out to discuss your situation before making any decisions.
We typically encounter three types of jobseekers. There are:
- Those who are looking to move in (new entrants): Individuals who want to transition into a new career, who are uncertain of what they want.
- Those who are looking to move across: Individuals who want to move within the industry but to a different role.
- Those who are looking to move up: Individuals who are employed but who are seeking career progression.
What are the common problems you encounter when helping individuals?
Many individuals lack job market awareness and as a result, do not know what kind of jobs they want.
They often cannot describe the career that they are interested in and may not have information about the labour market to help them make informed career choices.
It is important to know your personal goals and understand the current market situation first before you make a decision.
Do you only advise on long-term career goals on interim jobs as well?
We will work with jobseekers to identify and chart their long-term career goals while encouraging them to keep an open mind to explore other career options, such as an interim job, to sustain themselves if they are in-between jobs.
This not only prevents unemployment, it opens them to new experiences and encourages them to stay positive while waiting for the right opportunity.
What about job-skill mismatch?
Most of the individuals who approach me on skills gap or a mismatch are typically workers who have worked in an organisation for more than 10 years.
To keep up with the industry and to close your skills gap, my advice to jobseekers is to:
- Always know the market: keep yourself up to date with the through career centres and trade associations
- Leverage on career workshops, such as those curated by e2i, where you’d get a better insight on industry trends, hiring requirements and skills in-demand. It also an avenue to network with potential employers.
- Keep your skills up to date through the SkillsFuture Skills Framework, and understand the skills in-demand to upskill yourself.
- Have an industry mentor or join an association to make sure you are equipped with the latest industry trends.
- Understand your skillset against your competitors’ via LinkedIn so that you are always relevant and competitive in your industry.
What advice do you have for jobseekers looking for a career change in this environment of new technologies and business models?
Always remember these four key points to help you make better career decisions:
- Know yourself
- Equip yourself with the latest job market awareness
- Be brave and open to experiment
- Be realistic and honest to yourself
Need to See a Career Coach?
Book an appointment with an e2i career coach. e2i provides career coaching services at both the Devan Nair Institute for Employment and Employability at Jurong East, as well as at HDB Hub Bizthree at Toa Payoh Central.