Here’s what a Workforce Singapore career coach says: First, take stock of your skills inventory and determine what transferable skill sets you have. These are knowledge, abilities and behaviour that are forged from formal and informal work – they could even be acquired from volunteerism, interest or hobbies – which can be applied to the job descriptions published by hiring employers.
Take the tech industry, for instance: creative thinking, stakeholder management, business needs analysis and project management are skills that are in demand and transferable from non-infocomm technology roles. You will need to articulate how you have demonstrated them in your previous work.
Next, do some research or connect with friends or contacts from the new sector, or attend networking sessions organised by the industry’s trade associations and chambers to understand more about the industry you wish to enter. This will help to identify any skill gaps you have and ease some of your anxieties about venturing into new areas.
Having these insights not only enables you to make a more informed decision, but also portrays you during interviews as being proactive and willing to learn and adapt to new things.
Reconnecting with friends and attending networking sessions will also allow you to establish new professional networks, increasing your chances of securing a full-time role in the industry.
Once you’ve identified the skill gaps, you may want to upgrade your skills. You could sign up for SkillsFuture courses or tap the broad range of company attachments under the SGUnited Mid-Career Pathways Programme.
You could also join Workforce Singapore’s professional conversion programmes, which provide relevant training to help those who want to make a career switch pick up the skills needed to assume a new role quickly.
Making a career switch can be daunting at first, but it is never too late to transition into a new role or industry as long as you are willing to learn new skills, demonstrate to potential employers your transferable skills, and adapt to new working environments. Don’t let skill gaps deter you from making the leap to the next stage of your career.
This article was first published in The Straits Times.