Career & Education | Life | Article

Job Hunting During a Pandemic

by Marcus Lee | 7 Apr 2021 | 4 mins read

2020 has been a tough year for most people. Lockdowns around the world spelled a downturn for the economy; many people lost their jobs, and the ripple effects are still felt even now in early 2021.

Here in Malaysia, the number of unemployed workers soared to 782,500 people or 4.9% in January 2021 – the last time unemployment figures were this high was back in 1990.

Suffice to say, with varying degrees of the Movement Control Order still in effect, it’s been challenging for many to find employment. So what can you to find a job more effectively during these difficult times?

Know who’s hiring in Malaysia

Many industries have been hit during the pandemic. But hiring in certain sectors, particularly with regards to technology, has seen an increase in 2020, shares Nic Chambers, the Country Head of Michael Page Malaysia.

These are:

  1. Fintech and e-commerce
  2. Healthcare and life sciences
  3. Transport and distribution
  4. Digital Marketing

report released by recruitment agency Randstad Malaysia in January 2021 states that there’s “An urgent and unprecedented demand in Malaysia for tech talent, across all companies and industries”. Construction and manufacturing companies are also expected to hire more in 2021.

So, if you’re looking for an industry to be in, there’s your answer.

Start looking at the right places

Register with recruitment firms or head hunting firms to increase your job finding chances.

You can also head to the national government-run job portal, to expand your search. To date, over 17,300 job seekers have found jobs through the portal. The Ministry of Human Resources also actively conducts carnivals, open interview sessions nationwide, and webinar sessions for job seekers.

Cast your net wider by looking at other job portals like LinkedIn, JobStreet, or Monster.

Regardless of which channel you use, remember keep your profile updated. Diligently check each avenue regularly for the latest job openings available.

Don’t spam your applications: Apply for the right job

It may be tempting to just apply for every single opening you find. After all, you do want to get a job.

However, you shouldn’t be randomly spamming companies. Not only will you not be getting any call backs (since you are clearly not the right fit), but you may also enter a chain of frustration, shares Nic. The chain looks something like this:

Step 1: You send an application for a job that you may not be well suited for.

Step 2: The hiring manager receives this application and feels frustrated that the applicant is not suitable for the role

Step 3: You don’t hear back from any of your applications and get frustrated

Step 4: Demotivated, you refuse to continue job hunting

Step 5: The right hiring manager never receives your application

To avoid this, you should instead focus your hunt on a job that fits your experience and skills.

And if you feel “ghosted” by the employer after an application, Nic recommends practicing the three Ps: being proactive, polite, and persistent.

“Be proactive and politely follow up with a phone call to the employer one or two days after the resume has been submitted,” he explains.

If you can’t reach the relevant person, don’t be disappointed, be proactive and try again. But, be sure that you know what you’re going to say once you’ve scored time with your potential employer.

Getting a foot in the door might be the best first step

Remember that companies receive hundreds, if not thousands of job applications. If you’ve been rejected, or you haven’t heard back from one in a while, try not to take it too hard. Don’t internalise it as a personal failing, either.

Want to try an alternate route? Consider internships if you’re fresh out of school. Doing an internship is a way get a foot in the door and once in, you may have the chance prove yourself and a more permanent job might open up.

It may be tough right now in the midst of the search but hang in there, persevere and be kind to yourself as you locate the right job for you.