Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 15th 2015 Contents T&T began experiencing a
decline in the price of oil
very early in the last quar-
ter of 2014. Experts are
optimistic that it will
begin to increase slowly,
but not to the price we
have been accustom to,
over US$100 per barrel.
Everyone knows that our economy is driven
by oil and gas, although past and current gov-
ernment have often spoken about diversifi-
Until such time, managing our economy
will certainly be a challenge for many in light
of the falling price of oil in the global mar-
In an effort to include all stakeholders in
charting a way forward, the Prime Minister
Kamla Persad-Bissessar started a conversation
with the interested parties. One such group
was those who represent the labour market
namely, trade unions.
The Prime Minister sought to assure the
citizens that the Government "will stand side
by side and work together to ensure that
employment levels and job security are main-
tained during this time of economic transi-
Minimum wage was increased in the 2014-
2015 Budget from $12.50 to $15.00 per hour
and became effective in January 2015. My con-
cern, as I am sure is one that is shared by
many, is whether organisations will be able
to sustain this cost.
Lindsay Gillette, chairman of Petrotrin, told
the population that his company is reviewing
the jobs of their temporary and casual staff
in light of the falling oil prices. During her
meeting with companies who operate within
the energy sector, the prime minister said "the
last thing we want is for everyone losing their
jobs or falling out of work."
BPTT made an announcement on January
22, 2015, that they will be offering a voluntary
separation of employment programme (VSEP)
to its employees. It was reported in one of our
daily newspaper that this company has close
to 1,000 employees in its Trinidad operations.
When asked about the question of job secu-
rity for his staff Norman Christie, regional
president of bpTT, said that his company
"could not ensure job security at this time."
He further stated that "nobody would do that
as a prudent business person. You can t give
absolute security of job. What you would
expect us to do is to be prudent in the man-
agement of our business and to deal with the
Having said all of this, the issue I would
like to address is that of job search. For those
of you who might find yourselves out of work:
whether you have opted to accept a VSEP
package or your company is downsizing.
Know your strengths
In my last article, I discussed the skillscan
career driver online---an assessment to deter-
mine the skills set that you are strongest in.
It can also help clarify the skills you are strong
with and those that you need to develop.
Author Marcus Buckingham said "emphasise
your strengths on your resume, in your cover
letters and in your interviews. It may sound
obvious, but you d be surprised how many
people simply list everything they ve ever
Convey your passion and link your strengths
to measurable results. Employers and inter-
viewers love concrete data." Therefore, it is
critical that we know our strengths and operate
form a position of what we are good at.
Job search strategy
Gone are the days when you can prepare
your resume, print 50 copies and apply for a
job. This is like "doing the same thing over
and over again and expecting different results"
which is how Albert Einstein defined insan-
ity.To get a job after being terminated as a
result of cost cutting or VSEP, you need to
have a strategy that have a wider reach and
very creative. Simply going through the news-
papers and applying for a job that you believe
a bad economy, you have to cast a wider net
and be more creative than ever. Try some new
and different keyword searches as you look
for jobs online.
Challenge yourself to attend networking
events in totally new industries, towns or social
circles. Start looking in the newspaper if you ve
never done that before.
Look for jobs at small companies if you ve
always worked for big corporations (and vice
Build your personal brand
Branding is about delivering something of
value to a customer, and delivering it in such
a way that it creates an emotional connection
with that customer.
Personal branding is about a person that
has something of value to offer someone that
connects with them emotionally.
Your values, signature talents, work accom-
plishments, personality, attitudes and behav-
iours are all part of your personal brand image.
Use it wisely in promoting and marketing
yourself to potential employers.
Create work opportunities
When you find yourself out of work, you
might come across as desperate. Potential
employers will know when you are anxious
for work. Tutoring is one way of creating work
without much overhead expenses. You can
use a covered garage, benches and tables, and
go around your community or schools in your
area to invite students for extra classes.
There are many private institutions offering
undergraduate and post-graduate degrees that
are excellent opportunities to do part-time
A couple years ago, someone I know was
out of work and this person did lecturing
whilst looking for full-time work.
Move to a different industry sector
With falling oil prices, energy and energy-
related organisations will definitely offer VSEP
and cut staff, as is the case with Petrotrin and
bpTT. If you don t want to move to a new
country, pay attention to the other growing
industries in T&T.
The economic diversification board of T&T---
under the purview of the Ministry of Planning
and Sustainable Development---is charged with
the responsibility of diversification of the econ-
omy. Therefore, package your brand, highlight
your strengths and seek out work in other
growing sectors like healthcare, education,
law, agriculture and government.
Consider expanding your job search into
one of these industries. For instance, if you ve
been applying to finance jobs in the oil and
gas sector, consider applying for finance jobs
at a pharmaceutical company or a university.
If you re interested in management consulting,
think about a firm that specialises in healthcare
or public sector consulting. If you ve thought
about teaching, do it!
"Give and you shall receive" are words we
have all heard many times.
When you develop an attitude to help others,
they will let you in on people with job leads,
event invitations, networking contacts, advice
and moral support.
When you see a job listing that you know
your friend will be interested in, send it to
them along with some encouraging words.
Call up a fellow job seeker and invite him over
for a cup of coffee and a chat. Trade your
strengths with a friend who has strengths that
you don t. This will go a long way, it will make
you feel good, which is sure to be returned to
you in a positive way.
Volunteer in community groups and pro-
fessional bodies such as the Human Resource
Management Association of T&T (HRMATT)
and American Chamber (AmCham) as these
organisations will provide opportunities to
network with professionals who are responsible
for recruiting and hiring for their company.
Seek help from a professional with your
resume preparation and tips on how to organise
yourself for branding and promoting your abil-
ities and skills.
Get on-board with LinkedIn and build a
professional profile and use this as a platform
to showcase who you are.
Nashroon Mohammed, BA (Hons), Dip
LC, CCC, CLTMC is a career coach and medi-
ator with the Mediation Board of T&T. She
is also a member with International Coach
Federation (ICF) and board member of
SUNDAY BUSINESS GUARDIAN www.guardian.co.tt FEBRUARY 15 • 2015
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