Looking to change careers? You may have been feeling stuck in your current job, or are in pursuit of a more fulfilling career. Perhaps a recent change in your life circumstances may have caused you to rethink your current career path.
Whatever the reason, planning for a career switch requires careful thought. Here’s how you can get started!
Things to consider before making a switch
While it might be tempting to jump the gun by sending job applications to a variety of job roles, you may first want to consider the following:
1. Consider your reasons for a switch
• Pull factors: What is it about the new job that attracts you? What does it say about the interests and preferences you might have?
• Push factors: What did you not like about your current or previous job? Are these factors present in the job and company that you are applying for?
As you reflect on your reasons for a switch, you are forming a clearer picture of your career values, interests, personality and skills. Be sure to keep these preferences and priorities in mind as you are searching for a career switch.
2. Consider your readiness to accept an entry-level salary or a lower job position
Doing a mid-career switch often means giving up a higher paying job and starting from square one. Whilst you will certainly bring over a set of transferrable skills from your previous industry, you can also expect a sharp learning curve in acquiring an understanding of the new industry or role.
While taking a pay cut may be painful, it might be worth the sacrifice if it means pursuing a more meaningful career path.
Steps to take when making a career switch
1. Be mentally ready
- To take on a lower level position
- To embrace a steep learning curve
- To report and learn from younger supervisor
2. Define the job role
- List possible job titles that might be related to the role, as this will help you to expand your search
- Online job portals like MyCareersFuture.sg show the list of job titles and roles available
- Check whether your Values, Interests, Personality, and Skills fit the role
3. Research the job
- Is the industry sector growing or expanding?
- Know the job requirements
- Be familiar with employers’ expectations
- Know what companies are hiring
4. Set a timeline
- Decide when you would like to make the switch
- Remember to set aside additional time to build your savings, grow your skills, and send out job applications
5. Grow your skills
- Identify skills that can be transferred to the new job/industry
(e.g. customer service, leadership, budgeting)
- Identify possible skills gaps and make plans to close the gap
(e.g. training, e-learning, volunteering, internships)
6. Customise your resume
- Try using a functional resume that places your transferrable skills at the top 1/3 of the page
- Highlight your relevant experience, skills, and achievements
7. Prepare your reasons for a career switch before the interview
- Be sure to talk about the pull factors (why you are interested in this company or job)
- Keep the conversation positive and avoid talking bad about your previous job or bosses
- Emphasise the transferrable skills and experiences you have acquired that are related to the new job role
When planning for a switch, consider these few options:
• Same role but different sector (HR in Banking to HR in Social Service)
• Same sector but different role (Engineer in manufacturing to Sales in manufacturing)
• Different role, same company (Sales in ABC Logistics to Marketing in ABC logistics)
You’ll have a higher chance of transition if you can identify more transferrable skills!
Planning for a career switch might be challenging, as there can be multiple factors to consider, such as your family commitments, salary, and even the learning curve required. A Career Coach can help to guide you to review your priorities, plan for the next steps and improve your job search strategy.