This article was written in collaboration with Kaplan. All views expressed in the article is the independent opinion of DollarsAndSense.sg.
The rapid pace of technological innovation, new products, services and even sectors are emerging even faster to displace the existing incumbents. The only thing you can count on is that change is always going to happen.
Thus, savvy working adults in Singapore should regard mid-career switches as the norm rather than the exception and prepare themselves accordingly.
Singapore workers can take advantage of government-run programmes that provide training and salary support for reskilling to join different sectors that are in demand today and tomorrow. In addition, many Singaporeans are also going back to school as part of an ethos of lifelong learning.
It’s a fair assumption that the first job you land upon joining the workforce isn’t going to be your last.
As you accumulate working experience, meet new people in sectors you never knew existed and expand your business network, you may develop the desire to jump from your current sector to another. This could be from the education sector to the hospitality industry, administration work to business development, or digital marketing to social work.
It may be tempting to make the jump. However, jumping from one sector to another isn’t a decision you should take lightly. Here are some questions you should ask yourself first.
# 1 Which Industry Do You Plan To Go Into?
Don’t jump out of the frying pan into the fire.
You may not have job satisfaction or feel appreciated by the company you work for. That’s fair. However, these are not good enough reasons to blindly switch to another one.
You want to make sure the switch offers what you genuinely want to do, beyond a superficial understanding.
Talk to people who are working in the same roles. Ask them how they feel about their current job and what they like and dislike about them. If it does not align with what you expect, maybe it’s a good idea to reconsider your decision.
For example, it’s not uncommon to hear of people who are working in investment banking having little social or family life and wanting to leave their jobs, in spite of the high salaries. Here’s a viral article written by Stephen Ridley, a former investment banker about his life in banking.
# 2 What Skills Can You Offer The Industry That You Are Looking To Join?
The working world is also a practical one. While there are hiring managers who may be open to giving you a chance to join them, you need to think about the job offer from their point of view. Beyond just being an additional headcount, what skills can you offer them?
Skills come in two forms: deep subject matter expertise and general transferrable skills.
Deep skills make you invaluable in a specific field, which can be immensely important. This includes in-depth understanding of a particular law, technical skills, or scientific knowledge. However, if the sector you specialise in is sunsetting or undergoing a downturn, you might find yourself in trouble.
Transferrable skills on the other hand, are skills that are useful across various sectors. These include project management, communication and even copywriting.
What you want to do is list out applicable attributes that you bring to your desired job. Explain how your transferrable skills can be applied to your new career and how your deep skills are proof of your ability to learn and develop expertise.
# 3 How Can You Acquire The Skills That You Need?
Call this the knowledge gap.
You need to have a good understanding of the skills you have, that you can pitch as transferable skills, and the skills you lack, which you will need to compensate for.
For example, if you want a career in digital marketing but have little experience with Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), it’s imperative that you start making plans on how you can build up your knowledge in this area. An SEO certification course from a reputable provider would help.
You will not be an expert after completing it but taking the initiative to get started would allow you to prove to your hiring manager of your interest and willingness to learn.
# 4 What Can You Do Today For Your Career Tomorrow?
This final question is worth considering.
When you have an answer, you can lay the groundwork for a mid-career switch at your existing job by taking on additional projects, making additional efforts to network and picking up new skills that might come in handy in future.
Unlike before, there are also many learning pathways available today that do not require you to quit your full-time job. From online programmes to part-time degree programmes, you’re limited only by your imagination.
For example, Kaplan has partnered with University College Dublin (UCD), one of Ireland’s largest universities, for the past 25 years to offer Degree programmes to both full-time and part-time students.
UCD is ranked among the top 1% of institutions worldwide by Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2019 and thanks to lecturers being flown in directly from Ireland, students enjoy the same quality of guidance as students on their main campus in Ireland.
In addition, their business programmes are consistently ranked in the World’s Top 100 by the Financial Times and the Economist Intelligence Unit. This global recognition is worth considering if you are intending to get into the business world.
The part-time option allows students to enjoy greater flexibility in balancing their full-time jobs and their part-time studies. UCD offers a wide range of business specialisations such as Finance, Marketing, Project Management, Logistics and Supply Chain, Management and more.
You can find out more about University College Dublin’s Business Degrees here.