Back in school, we thought that getting good grades and a stable job were the paths to success. Things have changed. Greatly.
Unlike the past, people no longer spend their entire career with just one company. And even if you do find a great job in a perfect company, there is no guarantee that the company will still be around in the future.
HMV and Borders ring a bell?
The world today is constantly evolving, just like job opportunities now. Here are three ways for Singaporeans to stay ahead in their career in this fast-changing world.
#1. Expand your skillset and look beyond your industry
In today’s context, standing still is the same as going backwards. Over the past decades, we have seen our fair share of world-class companies becoming obsolete because they couldn’t keep up with the times.
They used to be the world’s biggest mobile phone maker.
In the same way, you should also aspire to continuously improve yourself and seek ways to upgrade your skills throughout your career. You can enrol for a part-time diploma or degree, consider signing up for professional certification such as a CFA or CPA, or attend specialised courses to expand your skillsets. You can even use your SkillsFuture credit for some of these courses.
It is crucial to be quick in adapting to the ever-changing economic conditions around us. We should be prepared to consider opportunities in other sectors that offer better job prospects and pick up the necessary skillsets required.
A great example of an individual who adopted the mind set of adapting and growing is Jack Ma of the Alibaba Group. After being rejected by as many as 30 companies in his younger days, Ma decided to get involved in the internet business after he was introduced to it during a trip to the US.
He saw the potential of the internet and wondered how China was not involved. He then started an internet business and 20 years later is China’s richest man.
#2. Look beyond your own job scope at the company
If you are fortunate enough to work in a big organisation, there may be opportunities to experience various roles in different departments. Go for it.
For example, most graduate programmes allow employees to be rotated across different departments. This gives young employees a chance to learn what a particular department does and helps them figure out what they would enjoy doing in a company.
At times, you might be asked to be on special project teams with people from different departments. You might be tasked to work on a project that is out of your usual job scope. When such opportunities knock, seize them! These opportunities would provide your career with the diversity of experience needed to make you a better employee in the future. It also offers greater visibility of your capabilities and could help you progress faster in your organisation.
Read also: 5 Cs to determine if you have a great job
#3. Have an emergency fund and forget the #YOLO lifestyle
An emergency fund is like an insurance policy. It’s unexciting but important. You have it, but hope never to use it.
Having at least nine months’ worth of your monthly expenses in your emergency savings fund gives you buffer against any unexpected job loss, such as retrenchment or a sudden business closure.
Your emergency fund also gives you sufficient savings so that you have more time to consider your future career options, without rushing to pick up a job that may not be suitable for you in the long run.
Don’t get drawn to the #YOLO (you only live once) spending lifestyle. This happens when people assume that they will earn more in the future. Thus, they spend as much as they earn each month, expecting their salary to increase in the future. There is always the chance that the next job you take could pay you less than your current salary, especially if you are moving to a new sector where you have no prior experience.
So, spend less and avoid being caught in a situation where you are unable to take another job offer (that you really want) just because your monthly expenses are too high for you to make a switch.
Adapt and Grow today
For most of us in Singapore, there are many practical steps we can take today to ensure we can continue to adapt and grow to stay relevant. We can pick up new skills, upgrade our qualifications or seek for more opportunities in the companies that we are already working at. We can also ensure our finances are in order so that our career growth is not hindered by our financial worries.
What are some other ways that you can think of to keep yourself ahead in this competitive world? Share your thoughts with us on our Facebook page.
This article was written in collaboration with the Ministry of Manpower. All views expressed in the article are the independent opinion of DollarsAndSense.sg