At this point, I’m sure that you’re all aware that the MCO has been extended yet again.
Having lived through these last two months of MCO, I’ve seen just how much it’s affected the lives of everyone around me. Personally, I’ve actually been pretty lucky. As long as I have a stable internet connection, my job can be done from home without any issues.
Many of my friends and relatives have similar circumstances; technology has advanced to the point where we can safely work from home during this MCO period. While it’s far from perfect, programs like Skype and Zoom have been essential for allowing us to speak to our colleagues, attend online classes, and even introduce ourselves to potential new clients.
Not All Of Us Have Been So Fortunate
Take my sister Anne (not her real name), for example. She works at an indoor climbing gym called BUMP. Located in Jaya One, BUMP specializes in bouldering – a type of climbing that doesn’t require the use of specialized gear such as ropes or harnesses.
Since its humble beginnings, BUMP has been growing in popularity with the local climbing community, with experienced climbers and complete amateurs alike coming over to practice their skills. Unfortunately, they haven’t been able to open their doors since the MCO began in March. This has thrown all their plans into disarray.
“Because of good trajectory before COVID-19, expansion was the natural progression for BUMP, everything was signed in February and bam suddenly this happened,” said Zhao, Co-Founder of BUMP.
With no customers, there has been no income, and Anne and her fellow BUMP workers have had to take a big salary cut in order to keep the company afloat.
The sad part is, Anne could actually be considered lucky. At least she still has a job.
MCO and Unemployment
According to the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM), in February, Malaysia’s unemployment rate was about 3.3% – an increase of 17% compared to the same month in 2019. And this number is only expected to rise as time goes on.
Earlier I said that my sister was lucky. But the problem is that no one can be lucky forever. The Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) believes that more than 2 million Malaysians are likely to lose their jobs over the course of this COVID-19 pandemic.
While Malaysia has been somewhat lucky compared to countries like Italy, the virus has already taken its toll on our local businesses, especially in industries like travel and tourism. A month before the lockdown had even begun, the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry declared that Malaysia’s tourism sector had already lost an estimated RM3 billion due to cancellations of flights and trips caused by the Covid-19 outbreak.
“We are talking about everyone in the industry, from high-end resorts, all the way to the cottage industry. All have been affected since January,” said secretary-general Datuk Noor Zari Hamat.
So How Can You Find a New Job During This Time?
Taking all these factors into account, it’s no surprise that jobseekers are struggling. Yet even in these difficult times there is still hope. A lot of people think that no one wants to hire at the moment, but the truth is that even during a recession there are some jobs and businesses that are always looking for more people.
Whether you’re a fresh graduate or someone who’s recently lost their job, here are some tips to keep in mind:
Aim for Appropriate Targets
These are definitely not ordinary times, which means that you need to be creative when looking for a new job.
Don’t just apply to every company you can think of – look for companies that actually need more people and avoid those who are downsizing. For example, last month, Tesco announced that they were planning to hire over 600 new workers due to the increase in demand.
“New colleagues will be placed across all of our 60 stores nationwide and Tesco online. We have seen a huge surge of orders via Tesco online since the Movement Control Order and we need all the help we can get to serve our customers as best we can,” said Tesco Head of People Alvin Low.
Prepare for Online Interviews
With the current situation, most face-to-face interviews have been replaced with phone or video interviews. If you haven’t done it before, make sure to practice beforehand as doing an interview via phone or webcam can feel a bit awkward if you aren’t used to it.
If you need help, try practicing with a friend or relative first. After all, it’s better to make any mistakes before the interview rather than during. Take the chance to double check that all your devices and wifi are working properly and have a plan in case things go wrong.
Most importantly, don’t forget to dress appropriately. Just because it’s an online interview doesn’t mean that you should come on screen in your pajamas. Putting on a formal outfit will not only make a good first impression but will help you get into the right mindset for the interview.
Do Your Research
Nowadays, sending a “one size fits all” resume isn’t going to impress anyone. Instead, try switching to a “sniper” approach – take some time to research the company beforehand and write a resume that will help you stand out from the crowd. Remember, a good resume should draw an employers’ attention and make them want to know more about you.
A resume needs to deliver the right message: “I am exactly the kind of person your company needs“.
As a jobseeker, it’s important to use your resume to show off how good you are. Don’t just stick to a bland description of your work experience – explain how your previous training or experience can help the company overcome their challenges and focus on addressing the company’s individual needs.
By emphasizing the right traits and experiences, you can make yourself look more appealing to the company you’re applying to, increasing the chances of getting a response.
Even if you fail once or twice, try not to feel discouraged.
We have all had to make adjustments over the past two months – some more than others. For Malaysian workers, this new decade is going to be a true challenge. But though the path forward may be difficult, with proper planning and perseverance you can still find the job of your dreams.
But for those who still need a little more help, don’t worry. Click HERE to learn a few tips to help keep your budget in the black during the lean days ahead.