Updated: Jun 21
I didn’t know much about personal career development in Singapore. But I know who to approach if I need a job.
The government has been introducing many initiatives such as Virtual Career Fairs to offer job opportunities to PMETs and working professionals affected by Covid-19.
But fixing my career?
Gosh! This seems to be very confusing.
You are not alone.
You see, jobs have been always the main focus. If you need a job, you go to a Career Coach in a local government agency, a Headhunter or your personal network.
But jobs and careers are different.
A career is made up of many jobs, learning pathways, and experiences such as volunteering. Each of these will influence a decision to take up an occupation.
A career can be said to have one occupation for a very long time. (e.g. Teacher)
According to Lexico , a career is an occupation undertaken for a significant period of a person’s life and with opportunities for progress.
On the other hand, a job is a regular work that a person does to earn money as defined by Cambridge Dictionary.
Notice the difference is “money"?
This is why career satisfaction is more than just dollars and cents, judging from the survey conducted by a data collection platform Qualtrics, reported by The Straits Times in 2018.
Results show that salary is not the biggest driver of job satisfaction for Singaporean workers.
How about jobs?
Jobs can be functional.
It’s like the different types of oil (jobs) that greases the engine. But the engine (occupation) is the one that powers the car (career).
So, a career is broad, followed by a well-defined occupation and the type of jobs that accompany it.
Occupation is a salesperson.
Jobs start from Sales Executive to Senior Sales Manager. The focus is to assess whether you are on-track upwards in a sales career.
It's a career growth strategy.
What do all of these mean to me?
If I need a job and know what I want, I will be looking out for a job opportunity. Therefore, I will be keen to reach out to Headhunters and recruitment platforms.
If I am interested to change a career from an Engineer to a Teacher, I will like to choose a qualified Career Coach who will guide me in making a well-informed choice that brings me inner happiness.
Both have their set of distinctive objectives.
This means I have a need or a problem statement in the beginning. This alignment is important to set the stage right before any career coaching session.
A qualified Career Coach should be able to resolve either of the above. In this way, you will end up being satisfied.
What if I have both needs together?
The Career Coach will still be able to offer clarity, for you to gain career joy and fulfilment – at the same time offering end-to-end support to ensure your resume is highly marketable to Hiring Managers.
All I need to do is to inform the Career Coach about my expectation during the 1-1 conversation
So, here are the 3 benefits you get from a personal career coaching session.
It’s strange but true.
Whenever you have a clear vision, you’ll know what to do and be inspired to achieve it.
I envision the end goal to be an experienced practitioner to serve the diverse career needs of mid-level to mid-senior working professionals.
So, I set out a plan to go all out.
In reality, this can be challenging. That’s because we are bogged by external news, mundane life of work-play-home commitment, and regularly influenced by friends who have taken pathways that seem to be greener on the other side.
We can be conditioned of what we see, hear, and read.
As such, we may just latch on another job without going back to our key career objective.
We may be driven by salary, perks, and fringe benefits. Not by whether we are on-track in our career path, towards our perceived goal.
As long as a job pays good, or it's near our home location with awesome workplace benefits - we jump ship.
Consider the work experiences of this guy. It’s a fictitious work background.
Let’s call him Jack.
To make things simple, we will just depend on the diagram above to make an educated guess.
What do you observe?
(a) Jack is confused about his career route (b) Jack knows what he wants in his career (c) Jack is keen to embark on a career in logistics and supply chain after 8 years (d) Jack is trying things out to gain job exposure only (e) Jack will like to change his career towards the logistics and supply chain industry
Several hypothesis here.
Diversion may be one, perhaps an assumption that there may be a slightly higher and stable monthly pay for an Administration Manager position from a Recruitment Consultant.
Does it also seems like Jack is experimenting?
He is an Administration Manager at one point of time. Perhaps, the working environment and company culture are both factors that seriously influences his decision?
Whatever choices Jack takes, he may find that his career is moving across different ways. Recruitment Consultant is in a people’s business and Acting is in the arts and media industry.
Jack may not have a framework in place that has factors to help define his career goals.
He may end up become lost or just a Generalist which can't command a high market value.
A Career Coach like me will diagnose the situation; get to understand the variables and priorities involved in Jack’s career life. Then, flesh out a pattern that he prefers.
Then, Jack can be self-motivated through exploration of areas like interests level and thereafter implements an action plan to get his career right.
The Career Coach should offer light that allows Jack see-through in the web of jobs and finally get him to work out a proper career road-map.
What I am trying to say is that Jack career journey can be transformed.
If he sets his mind on logistics and supply chain as his career – this will be his “Career Option A”. Can he switch back to acting as his career? He can but it will be tough. There aren’t any solid achievements within 2 years of working experience.
Besides, it’s been a while and he didn’t continue enhancing his value as an Actor.
If he is really interested, Jack has to develop a career plan and find a way to divert towards acting, as well as to source for opportunities.
This is where I am able to support and work closely together with Jack to help him shape a robust career growth that brings him the intrinsic benefits.
Identify your skill for development
Raise your hands if you do not know a skill that makes you uniquely special.
Here is an interesting exercise.
Take a small sheet of paper.
Write down as many skills you can think of within 1 minute. What do you get?
Highly likely you will indicate general skills such as filing or researching on the internet.
There is a time limit that makes it challenging.
Unless you are totally confident of what you actually possess that others will seek out your talent.
Then, you will score well in this exercise.
By the way, if your job involves secondary research insights that are data-centric driven – this can be turned into a specialized skill instead.
Hence, the career coaching session will help to identify your core capabilities.
Take Jack's example.
If he is to bring his profile out to the employment market, there will be questions around his jobs – “why is he changing to a different job role after 3 years on average…”
Jack seems to be in all trade but a master skill of none.
To be at the advanced level, one needs to hone their occupational expertise over a longer period of time to build a track record.
The first step is to identify your specific skills and enhance them through a 1-1 session.
Once this is done, you can take them to the next level through learning and development.
Endless possibilities that you never once imagine
The beauty of career coaching is to open up minds to a new realm of discovery.
It’s never easy.
Each of us has a set of inner beliefs and norms. We believe in specific things based on our cultural upbringing and past experiences.
There is also the notion of herd following which is also shaped by a country’s focus and resource allocation.
Use Singapore as an illustration.
Singapore is known to be a leading global and Asian premier wealth management hub, as reported by The Edge in 2018.
Our competitiveness is to offer transparent and credible financial services in the region.
Leading up to this are numerous jobs created across the finance and banking sector. More family offices are set up; foreign banks get their licenses to open up regional HQ locally.
Just look at the job opportunities by efinancialcareers
Your friend can be a fresh graduate in banking and finance. He has started his career in a financial institution, earning big bucks and living a life on his own.
Lifestyle can be sold easily.
This doesn’t mean you will fit into this career.
For some, there can be a point in time where the money isn’t the key factor. They shift towards careers that provide a sense of purpose.
They decide to switch mode and not follow the crowd.
Go to where your hear (and hopefully mind) aligns together.
That’s where I jump in as a Career Coach.
Having the conversation with me through the coaching session spins off the land of undiscovered opportunities. That’s where my clients will continue to where they are and take relevant actions to shift their gear towards the desired outcome.
A finance professional may just start his own business, change to a career in veterinary science to save the lives of animals, or travel overseas to pursue his passion as a Choreographer.
There is a structured process as part of a career coaching framework. After the 1-1 sessions with exercises done that facilitates your self-reflection and self-clarity, you can be confident with a clear strategy to pursue your career dream.
Possibilities are unlimited. Be open.
I will walk with you.
I think this is the reason why the guys in another continent love taking up careers as Digital Nomads.
Not as many as you will see in Singapore.
They take the road less traveled, decide to embark on this unconventional career (at least different from the social norms here based on observation), and accept the trade-offs.
So, there you have it.
A fruitful career coaching session will offer any of these 3 key benefits, ensuring your career gets a great uplift in any meaningful direction.