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The COVID-19 pandemic has affected each and everyone of us. Employees in hardest hit sectors are facing high levels of unemployment and retrenchment. What makes it worse is that we do not know for sure when this situation would end or how soon job markets will pick up again.

In such dark times, we need to strap in and make the most of what we have. For those who find themselves unemployed, consider taking some of the following steps to tide yourself through this period and ready yourself for when the economy and hiring picks up again: 

1. Find a bridging job to cover living expenses

Bridging jobs are part-time or contract jobs that you can take up while you are in between jobs. These would help ease your financial burdens for outgoing expenses, until you can get back to your full-time career and proper job search post-COVID-19.

Some examples of temporary jobs during this time include part-time jobs in essential services. You can find openings working in hospitals, e-commerce, delivery services or supermarkets, some of which can be found using the #SGUnited hashtag.

Being able to engage in a bridging job will free yourself mentally and keep your mind and body active, to keep away feelings of anxiety and depression from staying at home unemployed.

2. Re-skill and sign up for useful courses

During this downtime, you can make use of the opportunity to pursue courses you previously dreamed of but never had the time to commit to. This could be interests outside of your day job. You can pick up coding and programming skills, learn digital marketing or graphic design software. Even take up classes for culinary skills or a musical instrument!

Some courses can be found online for free or have been discounted due to COVID-19 initiatives. The government has also announced additional Skillsfuture credit top-ups this year that you can make use of for eligible courses.

3. Reach out to current contacts and networks

In preparing for your future job search, you can reach out to current contacts. You can also tap on your networks to let them know you are looking for work. This increases your reach and eases the burden of having to search for a job all by yourself.

Having more friends to inform you of any suitable openings they come across increases your chances of finding work sooner. Moreover, if they have their own businesses, you could offer to do ad-hoc or project-based work. If you are willing to work pro-bono, these projects could add value to your resume and skill set to cover your employment gap. 

4. Activate financial support from the government

Singaporeans can tap on the grants and funds the government has set up to support us during COVID-19. These include the Temporary Relief Fund, COVID-19 Support Grant, and Courage Fund.

For example, the COVID-19 fund will provide eligible recipients to receive up to $800 per month for 3 months. The recently announced Fortitude Budget has included SGUnited traineeship positions and attachment programmes with Workforce SG as well as a SGUnited Skills programme that provides a training allowance for up to $1,200 a month during the course of training. 

Take heart and know that you are not alone in this situation. Continue working hard with the above suggestions towards having hope for a better future!

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