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 a career change 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 and a bit of faith.
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 potential new career or 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 for your new job, you stand a fighting chance.
Without further ado, let’s discuss the steps for a successful career change in Singapore.
1. Identify Your Possible New Career
Firstly, you have to determine the potential new career which you wish to change jobs to.
One way you can identify this 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 a career change 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.
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 career than you might in other jobs. 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
Once you’ve honed in on a particular career you want to change to, you should start networking.
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 a similar role to your current role, into a career you wish to have.
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 your career change in Singapore.
3. Acquire Skills, Knowledge and Qualifications
To make a successful career change in Singapore, you have to become the person that your new employer would want to hire. This means that you must obtain the necessary skills, knowledge and qualifications to do the job.
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 for a career switch.
You can also make use of SkillsFuture credits to take up SkillsFuture courses and upgrade your knowledge and capabilities in your chosen area.
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 career.
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 a Career Change in Singapore
If you still want to do more research before a career change in Singapore, 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, a career-specific job endorsement would go a long way in your job search in a related career in the future.
5. Work Out the Finances of a Career Switch
Switching careers in Singapore can be financially taxing.
You may possibly be out of work for a period of time due to several reasons. You may need some time off to do your full-time study to prepare for your new career. Otherwise, you may require time to apply for and land a job in your new job. During these periods, you would likely have to rely more heavily on your savings or depend on your partner for support. It is thus key to work out finances of a career switch in Singapore.
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 high paying part-time work to tide you through.
6. Do Your Homework For The Job Application
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
The idea of a career switch in Singapore can be daunting.
And rightly so.
Changing to a new career in Singapore 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 also meet new people, who likely use 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 fears of not being able to successfully switch careers in Singapore and of judgement by others. 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.
At the end of the day, only you alone can decide if it is worth the effort of a career change in Singapore. You may want more work-life balance in Singapore or just feel unfulfilled at your current job. One thing is certain, if you don’t take action, you will always be stuck in the same job doing the same thing repeatedly. Instead, if you decide to follow the steps above, there is a good chance that you can successfully do a career change in Singapore. All the best!