Take Ownership Of Your Employability

Stay relevant with an up-to-date résumé in an ever-changing work environment, says Ms LOW PECK KEM, Chief Human Resources Officer, Public Service Division.

Take Ownership Of Your Employability

How important is continuous learning and development in the Singapore Public Service? The fact that every public officer has a minimum of 100 training hours a year, regardless of job level, age, gender or seniority, is telling.

With such a conducive environment in place, the onus is on you to take ownership of your personal development and employability. Let me share how to profile and prepare yourself to be future-ready.

1. Know yourself and what you want in life

Each of us has unique strengths and weaknesses. It is important to know what makes us excel in some areas and which areas are more taxing on us, physically and mentally. Use resources such as Gallup Strengths Finder to find out. Research has shown that we gain more mileage by building on our strengths rather than trying to work on our weaknesses.

Next, spend some time to reflect on your aspirations and what you want to achieve in life beyond your career. Discuss with your loved ones and seek guidance from mentors to get a clear idea of your life direction for, say, the next 15 years.

Then use this clarity of mind as a guide on which areas you should invest more effort, where you may have to make compromises (with eyes open), and what you may need to let go.

2. Profile yourself

We are our own biggest critics. We often let modesty obscure our real strengths and potential. Learn to profile yourself truthfully — your competencies, skills, attitude, capabilities and values. These will help get you to other places within the organisation.

Make yourself known and visible to take advantage of opportunities that arise. It is easier to quit smoking or lose weight if you tell others and gain their support. Similarly, to progress in your career, make your intentions known to other people, and share your profile on various platforms.

A good start is to review your résumé. Does it give a good sense of who you are and what you stand for? Does it show your values, your aspirations, your career objectives, your strengths, limitations, competencies, skills, capacity to grow, and finally, the value you can bring?

Even if you are not looking to change your job, review your résumé regularly to keep up with the changes around you.

3. Be open to opportunities and be prepared to explore

We have all heard of the volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous environment we are in. It is no longer an option to shy from levelling up.

Opportunities could appear due to job redesigns or organisational restructuring, or when we purposefully seek them because of a desire for career progression. We cannot predict the future. But we can proactively create a future we wish for by staying agile, continually learning and being open to opportunities.

4. Stay relevant, stay valuable

All organisations evolve as a result of both internal and external forces. We must make the effort to stay relevant and add value to support the organisation’s transformation; otherwise we will be left behind. So keep your eyes open to trends, find out what the latest and most-sought skills in the market are, and try to acquire them.

5. Build your network

Often, it is not how much you know, but who you know that matters. The ability to network, work with communities in your ecosystem and tap on the wisdom of the crowd are critical skills. It also matters more what you do with the increasingly available information rather than how you get that information.

Update your résumé and make it accessible to those who matter. Expand your network to include the entire public sector, social media communities (such as LinkedIn), communities of practice, and so on.

Within the Public Service, there are numerous platforms to build networks — through courses, milestone programmes, cross-agency task forces, inter-agency and whole-of-government work groups among many others. The opportunities are limitless!

    Jul 7, 2016
    Low Peck Kem
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