In today’s weak job market, candidates will need more than paper qualifications or past experience — acquiring new skills will give them an edge
THERE is no denying that 2020 has been a rather bad year for the job market because of the domino effect of the Covid-19 pandemic. In fact, many key business sectors in the country even had to carry out retrenchment exercises.
According to the Social Security Organisation (Socso), as of Oct 22, last year close to 90,000 locals lost their jobs, with an average of nearly 10,000 cases every month.
In light of the weak job market and the pandemic still raging through the community, job seekers will need to fine-tune their skills to remain “attractive” to potential employers.
According to business and employment-oriented online service LinkedIn, professionals in badly hit industries are now more likely to apply for jobs outside of their expertise.
LinkedIn Asia Pacific’s vice-president (talent and learning solutions) Feon Ang said Malaysia’s resident unemployment rate was at its highest in three decades.
“This will likely cause more people to look for jobs outside of their native competency fields.
“However, finding new roles that are most relevant to their current skills in this new era, or even venturing into a completely different industry, has its challenges. Job seekers may not know where to begin,” she said.
TIME TO RESKILL
Doing something that is not part of what we are used to is hard. But that’s the reality many unemployed professionals may have to face right now, said Ang.
“In today’s challenging climate, we know it is not easy for job seekers to secure new employment opportunities. This is why it is incredibly important for them to develop a growth mindset.
“Regardless of what you have studied, or where you have worked, you must be willing to upskill as you take on a new role, or even reskill in order to venture into a different industry,” said Ang.
LinkedIn data shows that 77 per cent of hirers agree they are investing in skills or competencies. In fact, nine in every 10 hirers believe in the importance of skills at the hiring stage and not just paper qualifications or past experience.
HELPING THE UNEMPLOYED
Besides advising the unemployed to reskill, LinkedIn also encourages organisations to hire based on skills instead of solely focusing on degrees or past experience.
“We believe this can help to widen the talent pool in the organisation and encourage diversity by bringing individuals with different ways of thinking to the table,” said Ang.
“LinkedIn’s Skills Assessments feature will help professionals validate and showcase their skills, and be more discoverable to recruiters who may be on the lookout for candidates with particular skills.
“There are currently close to 100 Skills Assessments available on LinkedIn, and job seekers who successfully earn a skill badge are 20 per cent more likely to get hired,” she said, adding that both job seekers and employers need to embrace a skills-based workforce in order to close the hiring gap.
In helping job seekers make the career transitions, LinkedIn has made available various tools and resources on its platform.
“We’ve created a career exploration tool, which will help job seekers identify new career paths that have the most skills overlapping with their current role, as well as new skills they will need to acquire in order to excel in a different role and industry,” said Ang.
Through the interactive dashboard, job seekers will be able to discover the courses or learning paths they can take to build the necessary skills.
“In addition, the tool will connect them to jobs and other LinkedIn members in similar roles who may be able to offer career guidance.
“As more professionals pick up new skills and switch career paths, employers should see this as an opportunity to build a more diverse workforce, which will work to the organisation’s advantage,” she added.
Besides the career exploration tool, LinkedIn has also made available other tools on its website to help job seekers land new employment opportunities.
• Skills Assessments: Skills Assessments allow members to showcase their skills to recruiters and their network, helping them to stand out among candidates with more traditional experience.
• Interview preparation tools for in-demand roles: Job seekers can benefit from the use of these tools which include commonly asked interview questions, answer guidance and tips, and instant feedback on recorded practice answers.
• Open to Work photo frame: This feature allows job seekers to indicate that they are actively looking for work — by just using a simple LinkedIn profile photo frame.
Since its launch, job seekers who used the feature have recorded 40 per cent more recruiters via mail and 20 per cent more messages from their community.
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