Updated: Jun 21, 2020
Tons of information.
My family tells me to hang on to my job because it’s the real working life while my friends tell me to go for the switch immediately.
It's like a ship steering to the left, to the right, to the center......yet the journey seems long!
Confusing, isn't it?
I get many questions frequently on career switches. Some of them are about whether they are able to adjust into their new role. Some are wondering whether they have the abilities to perform to their best. Others think they lack the relevant skills to jump on board. A handful is concerned about the change of work environment which affect them greatly.
The new trend is about moving to technology-based roles where the career prospects are better and pay is higher.
I have a case where a client is keen to switch to a digital marketing role from a sales profession. However, he remains stuck despite having knowledge in Google Analytics.
Companies did not even give him a chance for an interview because he didn't have any experiences.
After taking charge of his case, I realize he does have copywriting skills and analytical abilities. So, he becomes creative. He decides to start a blog, places his articles up on LinkedIn to talk about the benefits of Google Analytics, pulling in case studies that will help smaller firms interpret the traffic data.
He broadens his topic and includes data metrics KPIs such as bounce rate and number of users. He gives free template to users who need a structured process of regular monitoring. His aim is to be a Thought Leader in this space.
A start-up writes to him and decides to offer him a job in digital marketing!
There is hope if you are focused and possess high level of persistence.
Sometimes unplanned opportunities may just come by at the right time. It's known as "planned happenstance" as part of John Krumbolt'z theory.
How should I then make a better decision to change my careers?
The best medicine is always to have a trial. Experience the real thing.
An easier way to get accustomed to the role is to get onto a job without pay for 3 months.
It's an adult internship.
Have a list of 10 companies within the same industry. Find the contacts you will like to speak to (e.g. Digital Marketing Managers) and write a short note stating your clear volunteering intention via LinkedIn.
Better chance if the company is looking for a headcount on this position!
Go to the key contact and not the HR Manager unless you are being diverted to them.
Ask for a call discussion which makes it easier.
Another alternative is to seek out your personal network of contacts. This may be challenging to some since you need to ask directly.
Workforce Singapore (WSG) has initiated a Career Trial for working professionals. It's usually a month and you get paid a small sum to work on new tasks and projects.
Treat this as "job shadowing".
Be mentally prepared to take a drastic pay cut (estimated $1,500 at the time of writing for full time roles) since you do not have the experiences and mastery skills for a new position.
There will not be any guarantee for a permanent position within the company.
But that's already as good as putting your foot into the door. WSG and the companies participating in this program have given you the opportunity.
The rest is up to your performance. Go for it!
If taking a pot shot is not your cup of tea, getting industry insights will be helpful too.
Remember to prepare a list of questions. Treat them as conversations, not a Q&A session.
Reach out to your contact network or LinkedIn to ask mid-level, senior-level contacts out for coffee or for a call. State your objective clearly.
"Mr. A, I am reaching out to seek an understanding about a position in this industry. I thought you may be the best person to ask. I am keen on a career switch from xxx to xxx.
Can I humbly ask for a brief 15-20 minutes call to get your insights?"
Most working professionals are happy to help. Just be generous to pay him a hot pipping cup of coffee at Starbucks!
Once you get the relevant intelligence, review back your profile.
Do you have the skills-in-demand that others will offer you a chance?
Identify your core competencies
To do this, take a sheet of paper.
Spend 10 minutes to indicate up to 10 types of specific skills you possess in relation to your current job role (or past work experiences)
Take note that the skills have to be really straight to the point. For instance, communication is too vague. But corporate communication in public relations is specific.
Find it challenging to complete the exercise in 10 minutes?
This means you may be figuring out your unique abilities.
I have a 1-1 skill assessment session to get you sorted out within 3 hours. Get to know your capabilities using Knowdell Card Sorts or even Gallup Strengths Finder.
Find out the skill level you have for each strength, accompanied by evidences or accomplishments. I have guiding questions to help you.
It's easy to use and can be done within a day. Doing so increases your market value.
That means Hiring Managers acknowledge who you are and willing to pay the rate that you truly deserve. You will feel confident to sell your skills.
Problem is, many have superficial skills. No one in the right mind will say they do not have people skills. No one will say they are lazy. A whole bunch will state that they possess interpersonal skills. How do you then measure? How are you so different from the rest that the Hiring Manager must make the call to you?
That's where you can find out in the 1-1 session. You also get an action plan to roll out.
Skill upgrade comes next after acknowledging your competency level.
Make sure that the courses taken are areas that you will use them.
Many just apply to "look-see, look-see" due to easy funding - "skill future credit" or SSG (Skill Future Singapore) 90% sponsorship for citizens aged 40 & above. That is already defeating the purpose.
I can assure you that time is wasted by doing so. You will forget and not be trained to be a Jedi Master. The disciple gets where he wants with potential advancement opportunities (minus the things we can't control in the workforce of course!)
If you want a crash course, there are plenty of free or heavily discounted programs in Udemy or Coursera.
Find out the real anchor point that pushes you to change
Just like moving to a new house in a completely fresh environment, it’s normal to feel the same way about a new switch.
So, the best antidote is to ask yourself:
"what are the 3 things that really keep myself up at night?"
I just get out of a call with a young lady who decides to jump from banking to a digital marketing agency after 2 years. To her, the 3 key factors that are important:
1. Work environment
2. Job Satisfaction
3. Fun derived from working in projects with groups of people
Each means a deeper meaning. To her, work environment is the critical turning point.
A bunch of co-workers who are collaborative, offer ideas and able to brainstorm together is something she likes.
That is the anchor point which influences her switch decision.
She didn't move over immediately. Instead, she devises a strategy, with my guidance, to find out more information about working in a marketing agency. She decides to talk to 5 key contacts within a month. Intelligence to extract out - extra working hours to pull in, work flexibility, demands of the job etc...what do all these mean to her?
She takes my 1-1 career discovery session to reaffirm her thoughts by going deeper. Key takeaway is a tangible action plan. She is very clear about what she needs to do next.
This is the power of personalized career coaching which can be done online or face-to-face.
She highlights her key strengths, her transferable skills, what drives her and why she is able to fit in to a new change through a two-pager document.
Changing is not because of a boss from hell or neither is due to remuneration. It's getting the type of career satisfaction that brings her inner fulfillment.
Even if she doesn't work in a marketing and advertising environment, she has other options in mind. She is driven by a purpose in her career.
Back to you.
To start off - what is your anchor point that drives you to change?