Career Literacy for Our Financial Wellbeing

Career Literacy for Our Financial Wellbeing
An INSPIRIT Community-led Engagement
28 Apr 2023, 6.30pm – 9.00pm
One Marina Boulevard, NTUC Centre, Room 801

Mr Luo Chen Jun, an INSPIRIT member, organised an INSPIRIT community-led engagement on “Career Literacy for our Financial Wellbeing” on 28 April 2023 at NTUC Centre. The engagement involved 47 participants and the following panellists:

  • Ms Olivia Kam, APAC Operations Manager, Public Policy, Amazon Web Service
  • Ms Tasha Enright, Talent Consultant & Career Coach, INSPIRIT member
  • Ms Jamie Lim, Content Creator, INSPIRIT member

The session was moderated by Mr Luo.

During the session, participants and panellists delved into the following themes: (i) Impact and Visibility at Work; (ii) Networking Etiquette; (iii) Career Planning; and (iv) Salary Expectations and Negotiation.

Here are the key points of the engagement:

Theme: Impact and Visibility at Work

  • Ms Kam said that youths should demonstrate their impact and visibility at work by quantifying their successes (e.g. using data to show how one has helped their team become more efficient or generated a certain amount of sales).
  • Ms Enright said that youths should share their ideas and insights to enhance their visibility in the workplace, which could increase their influence. She added that youths could seek feedback for their ideas through informal sharing sessions with a trusted colleague or mentor to gain the confidence to share their opinions with more people in the workplace.
  • Ms Lim said that youths should learn the art of self-promotion to stand out against their competition at work.

A participant asked how one might be able to provide unique views to stand out in the workplace.

  • Ms Kam said youths could come to meetings prepared with a script expressing their views.
  • Ms Enright shared that it was not always necessary for views to be unique. Instead, she said it could be more important to articulate the thoughts that were not being vocalised. She added that youths could ask trusted colleagues or mentors for advice on improving the way of articulating their views.

Theme: Networking Etiquette

  • Ms Enright said that youths should strive to be in a network of strong connections as it could help youths discover unpublicised job opportunities and be a potential source of referrals and testimonials.
  • Ms Lim said youths should also consider what value they could add to their networks. She also shared that youths who are reserved should practise developing a professional persona and step out of their comfort zone.

A participant asked if there was any advice when looking for female mentors and allies in male-dominated industries.

  • Ms Lim said that youths could seek out Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) within their companies as such groups would comprise many female mentors.
  • Ms Kam said that females in male-dominated industries should actively network with female mentors because they would be more willing to share their experiences and advice since they would have faced similar issues.

Theme: Career Planning

Career Mentorship

  • Ms Enright shared that youths should seek mentors to guide them as they navigate their careers.
  • Ms Kam said mentors could share their personal experiences, including what they have learnt in their career path and how to avoid making certain mistakes, which could help mentees recognise and overcome their blind spots.

Career Self-Development

  • Ms Lim said youths should leverage online platforms, free courses (e.g. Coursera, General Assembly) and SkillsFuture to develop and hone their skill sets. She also shared that it was important for youths to pursue areas of interest that would help them be more competent at their jobs or even take on a side hustle.
  • Ms Kam said that by setting learning goals, youths could plan their personal growth and track their progress, giving them a sense of control over their self-development. In addition, she said that being agile, gaining experience and developing transferable skills would make youths more competitive in accessing a broader range of job opportunities.

A participant asked how youths could request testimonials to portray themselves positively to recruiters.

  • Ms Enright shared that participants should turn their testimonials into referrals by having their managers share why they would be the ideal candidate with hiring managers.
  • Ms Kam said that the quality of testimonials was more important than the quantity. She said testimonials should comprise attributes the hiring company was looking for and illustrate data points such as completed projects and resultant impact.
  • Ms Lim added that youths could request their immediate supervisor to be their reference. She also shared that references could benefit applicants because aside from the applicant’s accomplishments, hiring managers would also be interested in understanding the applicant’s working style, which a reference could provide.

A participant said he observed some youths leaving their jobs after a short duration and asked the panellists how hiring managers would view this.

  • Ms Enright said that if the departure from the company was amicable, youths could share that the decision to leave was mutual. She said that if the duration of one’s role was under three months, that experience could be omitted from one’s resume.
  • Ms Kam said that switching roles was commonplace, and it was essential to share the reason for departure in a positive light rather than complaining about the company.

Theme: Salary Expectations and Negotiation

  • Ms Kam said that from her experience in the tech industry, each job role had an established salary range, and knowing the range helped youths negotiate a fair salary. She said one way to identify the salary range was by ascertaining a ballpark figure through Glassdoor (an online job search and review platform).
  • Ms Enright advised youths to negotiate confidently with a salary bracket in mind and to politely turn down requests for their last drawn salary so that youths can negotiate better.
  • Ms Lim encouraged youths to research each company’s compensation structure, such as the base, bonus and equity, to calculate one’s projected salary over a number of years before commencing negotiations. She added that one’s bonus should be included in negotiations so that negotiations are based on total compensation.

A participant asked how fresh graduates could negotiate salaries when applying for roles that required some years of prior experience.

  • Ms Enright said that fresh graduates could look for graduate programme roles and that multinational and tech companies typically conducted multiple hiring cycles.
  • Ms Kam said that the qualities fresh graduates possessed were more important than their age.