Grow Your Career by Being a Sunrise Thinker at Work

There is no sunset industry, only sunset thinking. Learn how to stay agile and relevant in today’s job market and grow your career options.

No matter where you are in your career, competition for jobs will remain fierce. According to the Ministry of Manpower, jobseekers in Singapore continue to outnumber job vacancies with 1.2 jobseekers per job opening as of September 2017.

If you are a PMET looking to move into a sunrise industry, these four tips could help to improve your job prospects in a sector that is likely to expand in the coming years.

Learn skills on the job

Tap into the experience of people in the know, such as managers and colleagues in leadership positions, to glean industry tips and insights that could assist your career progression.

Linda Lim, Director at United Resources Marketing Services (URMS), jumped at the chance to hire Denis Koh to grow her team. A mature PMET with more than 10 years of work experience, Denis had previously worked at an offshore engineering company that had worked with URMS.

“We were certain [that Denis] was an asset — well-experienced in business development and operations to help us grow our business and mentor our young team,” she says.

With a wealth of experience under their belts, employees like Denis have valuable experience that could help you to develop a working style that is best suited for a leadership position.

If you are currently between jobs and looking to develop skills relevant to a new sector, sign up for skills conversion programmes under initiatives like the TechSkills Accelerator. The initiative, developed in partnership with Workforce Singapore (WSG) and SkillsFuture Singapore, offers up to seven programmes that enable you to acquire technical skills in the ICT field through training and work attachments.

Work outside your comfort zone for future benefit

With rising competition in the job market, it is important that you stay on top of your game. One way of demonstrating your worth is branching out beyond your job scope to increase the productivity of your company.

Driven by his desire for self-improvement, Eric Chai did just this.

Eric started out as a temporary administrative employee at YCH Group, Singapore’s largest homegrown supply chain solutions company. During his stint, he went above and beyond his job role, finding ways to help the company improve its work processes and productivity.

“I am a person who likes challenges, [and] an administrative role that is repetitive and desk-bound feels monotonous,” he says.

The initiative he showed eventually earned him a full-time position as an operations executive at YCH Group. To help smooth his transition into the logistics sector, he signed on to take part in WSG’s Professional Conversion Programme.

“I didn’t know what I didn’t know,” Eric explains. “Going to a new industry involves acquiring different knowledge and industry-specific skills.”

With rising competition in the job market, it is important that you stay on top of your game. One way of demonstrating your worth is branching out beyond your job scope to increase the productivity of your company.

Under the skills conversion programme, Eric learnt about the nuances of the logistics sector and picked up useful skills in new areas like management and scheduling processes.

Stay updated

In today’s rapidly changing job market, it is essential to be aware of the latest industry trends as they are happening — so that you can stay ahead of the curve.

You may think that you can enter a growing sector on your own, but most people often do not know where to start or how to proceed. Link up with a career coach to identify suitable jobs in sunrise industries and benefit from advice on areas where you can make improvements. Advice from WSG Career Coaches is a free service accessible to Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents.

Another way of staying updated is to keep up with the latest industry news and trends.

Subscribe to and read relevant newsletters and journals to gain insights into what companies and consumers in a particular sector are interested in. Alternatively, join forums and discussion boards to get your brain buzzing about possible changes in the industry.

“Try to understand what’s happening in the industry [that you want to join],” says Vasundhra Nasa, Assistant Sales Manager at Holiday Inn Express Singapore Clarke Quay. For her, anyone looking to join the hospitality industry should “visit TripAdvisor or similar travel-related sites” to be in the know.

“By demonstrating your knowledge of the most buzzed-about hotels or restaurants, you won’t come across as someone who doesn’t know what’s going on [when applying for a job in hospitality],” she adds.

Network, network, network

It is not just about what you know, it is about who you know too — the right connections could open doors to career growth and opportunities.

Network with colleagues across different generations to gain invaluable insight whether in matters of management or industry trends. This will help you to establish a stronger professional relationship with your colleagues and demonstrate your leadership skills to upper management.

Connecting and following up with contacts you make is also key to growing your career. Beyond just exchanging business cards, send an email or personal message on LinkedIn to let someone know that meeting them was a pleasure. Your message could also mention your work experience, areas of expertise and availability should any opportunities arise.

Reference: The Straits Times, 13 Dec 2017, “Q3 labour report shows rise in job seekers unemployed for 25 weeks or more”

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