THE Manpower Ministry has started a one-year pilot programme to help 500 unemployed professionals, managers and executives (PMEs) get jobs.

They will undergo career-profiling to identify their strengths and be coached as well on job-search skills - from handling interviews and resume-writing to making cold calls to companies asking for a job.

They will also be referred to jobs.

These details were given by Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin yesterday in a post on his ministry's blog.

PMEs form one-third of Singapore's workforce of 3.2 million and more of them are getting unemployed.

The scheme, launched last month, is run by the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA) with two private-sector human resource companies.

It complements help given by WDA's career centres in Community Development Councils.

Those who attend will be assessed again a month later on whether they need more help.

"Through this scheme, we hope to widen employment opportunities for PMEs, especially for niche jobs and sectors," wrote Mr Tan.

A total of 21 PMEs have attended the new programme. One of them is Mr Remi Abdul Rahman.

The 38-year-old found the practical skills, such as resume- writing, useful but his most important take-away was that he was not alone in his job search.

"When I saw this group of people who were also in the same boat, it really boosted my self- esteem.

"It's the market - it's not me," he told The Straits Times.