Saturday, December 17, 2011

778. Myanmar stories from Peninsula Plaza - Lost a useful contact - case study

My thoughts and tips of the younger generation - the google generation.

Lady 28 years, single, Myanmar National

Had working experience of 2 years in Malaysia and 8 months in Singapore on a "S" pass. Her Singapore company was acquired and she was retrenched. She worked in the administrative side of both companies and has a good command of English and works hard. Presently she pays $500 to attend a diploma in business course but the college told her that the course would be 2 years. That is a lot of money as she is from a poor family.

My advice to her and all young people, including Singaporeans are:

1. Acquire important IT skills like a detailed knowledge of how to use Excel, Word,
video production and digital imaging. Real depth of knowledge of these software in database management and accounting. Not just superficial as many young people even from the Junior Colleges have. This makes you useful to prospective employer.

2. Willing to work hard and the longer hours. Yes, she does.

3. Can converse in English well. Yes. Written English is not so good as to be expected.

4. Positive outlook and lots of energy. Yes, as expected of a young person.

5. Get the testimonials of previous employers esp. the Singaporean company.

6. Unique Strength - Myanmar culture and language and speaking good English.

7. Be proactive. Do your own search and write to hundreds of employers (target 14 per week for example). Do not give up hope.

8. Resume must be up to standard and relevant. This needs outside professional help.

As "S" pass now require $2,000 payment by the employer, it is much more difficult to justify employing new graduates from Myanmar. But much depends on the education and skills and the demands of the relevant industry.

9. Do not job hop. Last month, I met a Filipino who switched to a Korean company for more pay. "However, I have to work on Sundays too," she told me as she visited Khin Khin Employment Agency to look for a job before her visa expires. It was too late. She had a earlier job which satisfied her work hour demands but the money was not there compared to the Korean company which told her that there would be no Sunday work. So this young lady resigned and without another employer, looked for a new employer. This is quite common. But her visa expires and her skills are common (administrative and sales). So, she had to go home.

10. Also save your network phone numbers in duplicate. This girl lost her old phone and all contact numbers esp. of the Accountant in the Singapore company. The Accountant was happy to give her and help. As is the case for young people, such contacts are not valued and phone number had disappeared. I advised her to be more proactive in searching for this mentor who could find jobs for her.

11. Many young people just do not bother with networks and people who will be of great help in their future job search. In conclusion, this case illustrates the importance of duplicating network contacts and being organised and careful. Young people with no specialised degree like accountancy will need to be more alert and pro-active in seeking work attachments and testimonials. New employers want testimonials and character references. "The Accountant told me that I can contact her anytime if I need help," she told me today as I met her at Peninsula Plaza while looking for a Myanmar travel agent. But she lost the phone.

12. Try and get along well with Singaporean colleagues of old job. Some may provide character references for you.

13. "Get married to a rich husband," I said to the young lady. Many Singapore wives stop work to look after their families if their husbands earn a good income. So this is what I advise her. "You are already 28 years old," I said. "How's your Italian boyfriend who contacts you daily from the UK?"

"It is not that easy," she told me. As I am more than twice her age, she does not feel offended in my advices. She needs to be more proactive in finding an employer who will apply for her the "S" pass.

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