Career

7 Actionable Steps for Switching Careers in Singapore to a New Industry

Changing careers is an important life decision not to be taken lightly. Here's how to make the transition.

You are unhappy with your job. You don’t feel engaged in your work. In fact, you dread going to work on Mondays because you dislike your work so much. You’ve been toying with the idea of switching careers in Singapore for a couple of months now but don’t have an idea of where to begin.

The good thing? Switching careers in Singapore is definitely possible. It just takes some effort on your part.

The bad news, however, is that it is harder for you to get the job since you likely do not have any prior education or experience in this new industry.

Nonetheless, this shouldn’t discourage you from trying. After all, you never know until you try, right? In fact, you’d be surprised by how many employers would give you a chance despite your lack of qualifications or experience. As long as you show that you are motivated, have a willingness and ability to learn and have picked up some skills in the new industry, you stand a fighting chance.

Without further ado, let’s discuss the steps for successfully switching careers in Singapore into a new industry.

1. Identify the New Career You Wish to Switch To

Firstly, you have to identify the career switch you want to make. In other words, to determine the new career which you wish to change jobs to.

Passion

One way you can identify your potential new career is to look at where your passion lies. If you don’t know what it is yet, you can look for clues in the things you do in your free time.

Say, for instance, you enjoy investing and researching a company’s financials over the weekends. This may mean that you like something to do with numbers. Thus, jobs in the areas of accounting or banking may be alternative careers. Or if you like to interact with animals, you can consider switching careers into veterinary medicine or animal care.

However, some people would say that they don’t have a passion or anything they are particularly interested in. If you’re one of them, not to worry.

You can choose a new career based on what you’re naturally good at. This leads us to the next point: competence.

Competence

Very often, it is said that passion in a job can be developed when one becomes really competent at what he or she does. For example, if you find that writing comes naturally to you, you can look into a job such as journalism that requires you to write. When you do a job in which you have a talent in, it is easier for you to do well in it.

Thus, you would be able to achieve more in that industry than you might in other fields. This may, in turn, get you some recognition and confidence, leading to greater job satisfaction.

To find out what you have a flair for, you can do a survey of your close friends and relatives. They would be able to give you some insights about your strengths and areas of competence. This is particularly since they know you very well. You could also take online assessments to help establish your key strengths such as the High 5 test.

2. Meet with People in the Industry

Networking

Once you’ve honed in on a particular new industry, you’ve got to start networking. This is crucial if you are considering switching careers in Singapore to a new industry.

You can seek out people who are employed in a job and industry that you want to switch careers to. It is a bonus if you can find people who have gotten the results that you want. A case in point would be people who have successfully transitioned from your current industry into the new industry you wish to enter.

Where to begin?

Well, you can start by looking to your friends or acquaintances. If you have no luck there, you can use social networking platforms, especially LinkedIn, to find people in the relevant industry.

Subsequently, you should try to ask these individuals out for a cup of coffee or a sit-down session. If you explain your situation to them and they are helpful, they would likely oblige.

Purpose of Networking

Ideally, you should keep in mind three things during your meetings with them.

Firstly, enquire more about the person’s career and industry. With such information, you can better decide if you would enjoy working in that environment. It would also help you have a more holistic understanding of the job scope from an internal perspective.

Secondly, find out about the types of skills and knowledge required to be successful at the job. The qualifications needed on paper can probably be found with a simple Google search. However, the skills required to be good at the job in practice may be very different.

Lastly, treat this as an opportunity to network with an individual who is connected to the industry. Who knows? This acquaintance of yours may eventually be able to help you with switching careers in Singapore to a new industry.

3. Acquiring Skills, Knowledge and Qualifications

To break into a new industry, you have to become the person that your new employer would want to hire. This means that you must possess the necessary skills, knowledge and qualifications to do the job.

Part-Time Study

You can take on formal qualifications to become more skilled and knowledgeable in the new job. You can even do this part-time while still holding down your current job. For example, you can take on a part-time degree relevant to your new career at the various universities in Singapore. Some classes for these degrees can be taken on the weekends as well.

If you don’t want to dish out the substantial fees associated with a normal university degree, you could take online courses instead. Then, you can equip yourself with the skills and knowledge needed for your new job in a cost-effective way. In fact, online educational platforms such as Coursera certification for their courses, which can help boost your credibility in the new industry.

You can also make use of SkillsFuture credits to take up SkillsFuture courses and upgrade your knowledge and capabilities in your chosen area.

Full-Time Study

If your work or other commitments prevent you from doing part-time studies, you can consider pursuing full-time studies. If your company allows this, you can consider taking unpaid leave for six months to a year to do a full-time degree in the relevant industry.

Workforce Singapore, a statutory board, also offers professional conversion programmes. The objective of these programmes is to reskill you so that you can take on new jobs.

Under this initiative, you can choose the “place-and-train” option. This means that you are hired by the new employer before you undergo training to take on the new job role. This reduces the risks of you not being able to find employment after your training.

Alternatively, under the “attach-and-train” scheme, you are provided with an education and work immersion with industry partners. This would be helpful in developing the necessary skills for future job opportunities in your new role.

What’s more, under the Workforce Singapore’s programmes, you can also avail yourself of various subsidies for the course fees and training.

4. Do Further Research On Switching Careers in Singapore to a New Industry

If you still want to do more research before switching careers in Singapore to a new industry, you can consider doing an internship.

“Internship? At my age?” you may ask. You heard me right. It may sound a little embarrassing but really, doing an internship would really help with a career change. “How so?”, you may ask.

Internships are more easy to secure as they are seen as a short term stint where the company doesn’t have to pay you much. Thus, you can possibly get in even if strictly speaking, you don’t possess the qualifications needed for the role. Additionally, internships can give you a good feel of the type of work you would be doing in the future.

Some even view internships as an opportunity to develop rapport with the employees in that company, which may lead to a job placement in the future. In fact, an industry-specific job endorsement would go a long way in your job search in that particular industry in the future.

5. Sort out Finances of Switching Careers  

Switching careers in Singapore to a new industry can be financially taxing. You have to consider that you may possibly be out of work for a period of time.

This is because you may need some time off to do your full-time study. Or you may require some time to apply for and land jobs in the new industry. During these periods, you would likely have to rely more heavily on your savings or depend on your partner for support.

If you have a partner, you should have an open and frank conversation about this topic. Ensure that both of you are on the same page and create a financial plan for the coming months to prepare both of you for the reduced income.

On the other hand, if you are relying purely on savings, a general rule is to have at least six months of your prevailing income saved up. This would give you a financial cushion to help with your expenses during this period.

A possible alternative would be taking up some part-time work to tide you through.

Read Also: 10 High Paying Part Time Jobs You Never Knew About

6. Applying for Your New Job

Come up with a list of companies and study their vision, mission and job scope in detail first. Try and enquire about the work environment in those companies from its current employees. In this regard, websites such as Glassdoor provide reviews of companies from their employees who had previously worked there.

After that, shortlist a few companies you would like to work for. Then, you can start to craft your curriculum vitae and resume for each company.

As you do this, be sure to highlight the skills you have developed that are relevant to the job. It helps if you are able to link your previous work experience to the application to the new job. For instance, if you are applying for a banking job, it may be less relevant to talk about your volunteering activities in your previous career. You could instead focus on the financial aspects of the job, for example, if you were the treasurer tasked with handling the finances.

This allows the recruiter to understand your strengths a little better and determine if you can be a good fit for the new job.

7. Getting Over Your Fears in Switching Careers in Singapore

The idea of switching careers in Singapore to a new industry can be daunting.

And rightly so.

Working in a new industry means that you will be dealing with a new work environment, one that requires a set of skills that you probably wouldn’t have used before. You’ll meet new people, who likely are using a different jargon from you.

Therefore, you must have compelling reasons for wanting to quit your current job and transition into a new career. In fact, these reasons have to be so strong that you won’t waver in the face of your fears.

Common fears are the fear of judgement, what would others think. Fear of failure such as the fear you wouldn’t be able to get a job in the new industry. This may be worsened by the fact that your current boss is likely to give you a counter-offer or better financial incentives to make you stay at your current job.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, only you alone can decide if it is worth the effort of switching careers in Singapore to a new industry. One thing is certain, if you don’t take action, you will always be in the same job doing the same thing over and over again. Instead, if you decide to follow the steps above, there is a good chance that you can successfully carry out a career change in a new industry. All the best!

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