All over the world, a large number of workers are facing some form of job displacement due to a variety of factors, which include, among others, automation, business restructuring, and corporate mergers. This is not exactly a new phenomenon; jobs that are dependent on older trends and technologies inevitably dwindle as markets move on to newer things. However, the rapid pace of change in recent years has left many people struggling to make sense of the technological and economic landscape, putting an unprecedented number of people at risk of career displacement.
This is especially true in Singapore. With many local jobs soon to be upended by automation, career transitions have started to ramp up in the city-state. Notably, the Singaporean government is actively promoting upskilling and career transition programmes that are intended to help the country’s workforce survive and thrive in the coming years.
Navigating career transitions can be a daunting process, but with the right strategies, these transitions can also be rewarding, both personally and professionally. Here are several solid tips for Singapore residents looking to switch careers:
Identify your Strengths and Interests
If you’re already considering a career change, you’ll want to get into something that you’ll be motivated to stick with. Generally, this means transitioning into a career that either makes good use of your existing strengths or one that is highly interesting to you. By choosing these types of careers, you may find it easier to stay motivated throughout your entire transition period.
Leverage SkillsFuture courses
If you already have a few years of professional experience, SkillsFuture courses may be a good option for you. Courses endorsed by SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) offer an affordable way for experienced professionals to supplement their work knowledge or get into an entirely new career. They’re also highly practical, as the instructors of these courses are also experienced professionals with recent experience in the subjects they teach.
Research Your Options
Research the industries and job functions you are interested in. A lot of the time, the fields you’re transitioning into may involve processes and competencies that you may not have considered. If you’re planning on staying in Singapore, it might be helpful to look at specific industries that the government has identified as critical, as there may be assistance for individuals willing to be retrained to fill positions in those areas. Additionally, try to look at the long-term prospects of the industries you’re considering as this may influence how stable your next job may be.
Assess Your Skills Gaps
While you might be able to leverage your strengths and interests when entering a new career, you’ll also need to address any weaknesses, specifically any skills or experience gaps that you might have. Identify the gaps in your skillset and take the steps to acquire the necessary skills through courses such as those endorsed by SkillsFuture, internship programmes, or even volunteer work. Once you’ve gotten your hands dirty, you should be able to better appreciate what’s needed in your new career.
Expand Your Network
Successful career transitions are often dependent on your ability to develop a solid network in your new field. Your new contacts will be able to vouch for your abilities and advocate for you throughout your transition period. To expand your network, make time to attend industry events, connect with other professionals during upskilling and training sessions, and leverage your LinkedIn profile to expand your professional network in your desired field.
Update Your CV and LinkedIn Profile
Speaking of LinkedIn, you’ll want to update your profile so that it’s more tailored to the industries and job functions you are targeting. This will help you expand your new professional network more quickly than it might, otherwise. Additionally, update your CV to reflect any new relevant training and experience that you may have earned.
Prepare for Job Interviews
Prepare for interviews by conducting thorough research on the industry, roles, and businesses you aspire to enter. Make sure to understand the subcultures that exist within these domains. With this knowledge in mind, practise responding to common interview questions. Focus on finding effective ways to highlight your skills and experience, enabling you to present yourself confidently during interviews.
Be Open to Contract or Freelance Work
Working for a single employer is not something that works well for everyone. If you find yourself in this situation, think about exploring contract or freelance work. It can help you gain experience and build a network in your new industry.
Once you have a foot in the industry you’re gunning for, remember to seek feedback from mentors, colleagues, and recruiters. This will help you avoid common mistakes and ultimately help you improve your skills and marketability.
Career transitions can be a harrowing experience. If you know that your new career is for you, try to stay resilient and maintain a positive mindset throughout the transition process. Seek support from friends, family, and mental health professionals if needed.
How sure are you that your job will exist in 5 years? How about 10? Being prepared to jump careers has become a necessity in Singapore’s rapidly evolving job market. Singapore-based professionals can ease career transitions and achieve financial stability and professional goals by following these suggestions. Do what it takes to stay committed to your career development. And remember to leverage the many resources available, including SkillsFuture courses and personal networks.