Every morning before she starts work, Rasidah Rasid, 43, tells herself, “Today is going to be a good day. No matter how tough the past few days have been, things will get better.”
It’s a message that she regularly communicates to the jobseekers she comes across in her line of work. As a career coach at Workforce Singapore (WSG), Rasidah helps workers identify skill gaps and suggests programmes for them to upskill.
“It makes me feel like I’m using my natural talent,” says Rasidah, who has a passion for helping and support others.
Prior to joining WSG in 2015, Rasidah had worked at a family service centre and had even considered a career in early childhood education.
All in a day’s work
Life as a career coach can be challenging. Meeting jobseekers for the first time, “we are strangers” Rasidah explains. It can take a while for them to warm up to her, and some jobseekers may be low in confidence.There have been times when her sunny disposition has been put to the test. In one recent incident, a frustrated jobseeker complained to her throughout their first meeting and was reluctant to follow her advice.
Journeying with jobseekers
While it can be difficult, Rasidah says that listening is a critical aspect of her job. When jobseekers share their struggles and life stories, Rasidah listens intently and tries to understand what they have gone through.
A few meetings later, that same, frustrated jobseeker told her, “I know I’m being difficult with you… thanks for listening.”
At the end of the day, Rasidah admits that it is the jobseeker’s decision to decide which route they want to take.
All we can do is “be the beacon that shines the light for them, holds their hand, encourages them,” she says.
And when a job is secured, Rasidah shares in their happiness.
A simple text message – “thank you so much. I got a job!” makes her beam.
With COVID-19 affecting the economy and employment, jobseekers are turning to career coaches like Rasidah for career guidance and job matching.
However, the nature of their work has changed.
Instead of meeting jobseekers face to face, Rasidah now regularly conducts video sessions on topics like interview preparation and resume writing.
Adapting to the new situation was initially difficult for her. With around 10 to 15 attendees on her video calls, she chuckles that things could get awkward when she “wasn’t sure where to look”.
Rasidah also missed the interactive aspects of her job. “It was a “a bit one-way”, and some participants turned off their cameras,” she says.
But gradually, Rasidah adapted. She looked to YouTube for tips on how to engage with an online audience and took note of areas that she could improve on.
With the lack of physical contact, Rasidah felt the tone of her voice and clarity of presentation had become even more important. A simple way she introduced an interactive element to her workshops was to ask jobseekers to give a ‘thumbs-up’ reaction if they understood the content.
The approach to connect digitally with jobseekers has paid off. Recently, Rasidah helped Hannah*, who had been retrenched from the hospitality sector, find a new job.
Speaking to her on the phone and through WhatsApp, Rasidah realised that Hannah had a unique skillset, given her previous experience. Skills like placing of orders and being meticulous were easily transferable. Subsequently, Hannah managed to secure a retail e-commerce job.
Even as Rasidah stands by jobseekers during the pandemic, she acknowledges the importance of a strong support system – of which she finds in her family and friends.
During her free time, the mum-of-two enjoys playing dress-up with her two daughters, sewing dresses for them, and even roping them in as dance partners on TikTok.
On weekends, Rasidah enjoys exploring Singapore with her family and catching up with her friends. “I always make sure we meet each other once in a while so that we can be there for each other through highs and lows.
“We need to support each other, no matter what we do. Be it friends, family, spouses, aunties and uncles. Things are tough. We have to stand by each other.”
*Names have been changed for confidentiality reasons.
The article is part of a series of stories of individuals who have showed support to fellow Singaporeans during this fight against COVID-19.