How to Transition Your Career From One Industry to Another

31 Dec 2018 Posted in ⟨For Learners⟩

Transitioning out of your current industry and into a new one can be the perfect next step to grow professionally. But let’s be honest – following through with it is a completely different story!

Fortunately, an industry switch is much less dramatic than a full-blown career change. In the former, you are faced with the challenge of transferring your skills to a completely new environment. In the latter, you’ll not only have to learn about a new industry – you’ll have to develop an entirely new skillset too!

In saying that, a successful industry transition still requires a whole lot of new “to-do’s.” Rather than just trying to work things out as you go, here are some tips to get you started. Your new career in a new industry awaits!

Know your “why”

The first question that you need to ask yourself is, why do I really want to switch to another industry?

Is it because my current industry in decline? Is it because there are industries out there that are offering better prospects? Or is it because I want to work in a particular industry that lies close to heart?

Look within yourself to discover your “why.” This is what drives you. By identifying it, you will understand the true reason that you want to make this switch and have access to a powerful tool that will keep you motivated all throughout this stage of transition.

Research the industry extensively

The next step is to research the industry landscape. To get started, head to Skills Framework, an initiative which was co-created by Employers, Industry Associations, Unions and the Singaporean Government.

Skills Framework helps you make informed career decisions by providing you with key information on sectors, the employment landscape, workforce profiles, career pathways, wage trends, desired skillsets and even a list of training programmes to help you upgrade your skills.

Although the framework is being released progressively , it has already been launched in three sectors:

Hotel and Accommodation Services

Early Childhood Care and Education

Precision Engineering

As you conduct your research, you will want to find answers to the following questions:

  • Is my target industry in decline or is it on the up?
  • What challenges is my target industry currently facing?
  • What are the employment prospects like?
  • Who are the industry’s big players and rising stars?
  • What key skills and knowledge are most valuable in this industry?
  • Of these, where am I lacking, and which training programmes are recommended to be of assistance?

While secondary research is great for obtaining an overall perspective of the industry, it is also important to get some ground-level experience. Many industries appear to be more appealing than they actually are, so getting a first-hand look at what things are like on the inside is priceless. If possible, seek out an internship or the possibility of shadowing someone who currently works in the industry for a few hours.

We know how lonely and isolating making a career switch can be. However, just as Chong Kum Hong, a 54 year old career transitioner found, there are people and programmes out there who are willing to help you at every step.

If you are a mature PME (Professional, Manager or Executive), then check out the Career Activation Programme by NTUC PME. This community-based initiative will aid you in your career transition by giving you access to a support network involving volunteerism, career coaching, counselling, social services and other mature PMEs.

Attending networking events is also a must. By meeting industry insiders, you can find out what kinds of projects they work on, the skills that are required, the current challenges that are being faced in the industry, the lingo they use and even uncover hidden job opportunities.

Make an effort to get out into the world because you just never know what may come out of it!

Utilise courses and support programmes

There are a myriad of courses and initiatives out there to help you make your career transition. You just need to tap into them.

Offering practical government-subsidised courses ranging from creative skills to management, SkillsFuture can help you improve your career prospects in an affordable way. The Career Transitions Package is specifically designed to help people who are at a crossroads in their career. With courses in leadership, innovation and workplace management, Career Transitions will expose you to new frontiers and prepare you for the one thing that you need to be able to deal with when switching up your career: change.

Mature PMEs also have the unique opportunity to leverage the Career Support Programme (CSP) to help them gain employment. This initiative boosts the job prospects of mature PMEs (aged 40+) by providing employers wage support of up to 40% of gross monthly salary, capped at $2,800 a month.

To learn more about SkillsFuture and how it can help you to transition your career into a new industry, click here.

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