Being jobless abroad, an OFW anxiety


By Noriel E. Banes, TUFHRP Officer

One of the anxieties of an OFW is being laid off and it is probably the saddest point in our life here abroad. Employment is the only way for us to survive and provide. However, what would be the best way to combat this frightening situation? I have been working in recruitment for the last 3 years and a half and one thing I noticed about the Filipino candidates are their skills and experiences. Dedication and eagerness are innate to us Filipinos. We are resilient and we are very good at what we do and that makes us one of the best workers in town. Having said that, it is likely that Filipinos can easily get a job but that’s not always the case. Employers are looking for a perfect blend of attitude, skills, and competencies. Here are some suggestions on how we could elevate ourselves against the competition should the worst situation comes.

1.       Gain more skills by investing in training and certifications.

Be hungry with learning and be a voracious opportunity seeker. Attaining certifications is a good investment for ourselves and we are gaining not only knowledge but also skills that we can apply to our job. This can be our ace in the industry and that will give us an advantage. Most of the companies are not only looking at the culture-fit candidate or someone who has a good attitude, but they are now starting to look at the skill set and a proof. If you have no idea what training and certifications to take, you may take advantage of Google for online courses being offered. Try to check out some discussions online and research on training centers on appropriate certifications and training that you should get pertaining to your position or career path.

2.       Tailor-make your CV (curriculum vitae) to the vacancy you are applying for

A smart way to hack into the mind of a recruiter is to provide them with a clear and tailor-made profile for the job. Study the job description and highlight the responsibilities you have done that match what is written in the job description. A well-written CV can make a difference if you want to get shortlisted for the position. Ensure that it is flawless and it truly presents your strengths and experiences for the job. I’m sure there are a lot of articles that you can read online related to CV writing a blog Brilliant Posts ( gives practical and handy tips about CV writing, recruitment, and employment matters.

3.       Explore diverse available job sites.

There are many job sites available online where we can sell our skills for the job. Do not be hesitant to build your account and start looking for jobs that suit your qualifications and skills. Many of them are for free and that database of profiles are available for the employers. This will give you many options from different portals which will give you a pretty good chance to be hired. Do not limit yourself to just one site. Explore as many sites as you can. It is only a matter of time investment you should put in order to get a step closer for the job. Many options mean higher chances. Many employers in the region are posting and sourcing profiles that are available online and it is a good idea if you have profiles on the major job boards such as bayt, naukrigulf, monstergulf, indeed, etc.

4.       Improve your Communication Skills.

One of the HR managers that I know expressed how much she pities our fellow Filipinos who cannot communicate very well when applying for a job. According to her, Filipinos are excellent candidates when it comes to skills but they emerged a captive over the competition or end up losers especially during panel interviews with the corporate managers. She added that sometimes she would help Filipino candidates explain and relay their thoughts to managers. But of course, that act cannot be done at all times since it may raise issues on partiality and bias to others. “We wanted to help but we cannot go beyond our HR responsibilities, even if we wanted to.” She says.

I personally encourage this to our Filipino job seekers: It is crucial that you communicate well in interviews. A candidate who knows how to do his work technically and has good communication skills emerges successful in his application. Communicate to understand, and understand to communicate. Someone who is strong in communication often exudes confidence and appears victorious.

5.       Build connections.

Attending symposiums, exhibitions, training, and conferences, and maintaining a Linkedin account are smart ways to build connections. It is with people that we can find the right opportunity and it also gives us good referrals. Sometimes, the world is a little bit harsh as it is not “what you know” that matters but rather it is “whom you know”. It is also a good idea to join organizations to enrich your social skills and expand your connections.

In my experience, I joined TUFHRP (The Unified Filipino HR Professionals) and it helped me learn more about HR best practices while being introduced to more experienced human resource professionals. You can do the same. Join groups that are related to your career as it helps in personal and professional development. In cases of getting laid off, or if we just wanted to switch companies, we have this information to arm ourselves with and help us get back on track. Each of us has our story why we are still here abroad, and whatever reason you may have for being here, we all know that being jobless is more than just a financial problem. These tips, somehow, would help us stand up and get back strong after the saddest point of our life. More than that, this will help us combat our anxiety while working abroad.