Superboost Your Career In 2017 With These 4 Tips
There are times when you hardly have any time for a proper sit-down meal, and there are days when you wonder how you can best use your free time productively and enjoyably.
If you’re unemployed or are currently pondering about a career change, then it’s time to assess your interests and skills, and to think about what you need to move forward.
Although Singapore’s unemployment rate is still relatively low, experts warned against structural unemployment. To put it simply, it’s not that there aren’t any jobs in Singapore, but rather, there is a mismatch of skillsets between the workforce and the positions available.
This is especially evident in the IT industry, which sees rapid and major disruptions. It seems that skill gap between what employees have and want is getting wider.
According to the Minister of Manpower Lim Swee Say, it’s the shortage of skills and not the shortage of jobs that is likely to be the catalyst of unemployment in the future.
Regardless of the industry that you’re in now, here are 4 tips you can do to supercharge your career.
1. Broaden your scope of work
One school of thought is that the more specialised you are, the more in demand and less replaceable you will be. That certainly holds true for very niche fields of professions in both the arts and the sciences.
However, this can also be very limiting for your career prospects. Employers and higher education institutes are looking for and promoting broad-based learning, so it’s time to re-think the stance that you can focus solely on one skill and forget about learning anything else.
To broaden your scope of work and skillset, you can either spend your free-time taking courses, or begin doing that in your work space itself. For example, if communications have never really been your forte and you have always stuck to the technical side of things, then start taking up projects and volunteering to be the one that disseminates information.
For example, actively choose to be the focal point of a project that lets you get in touch and communicate with all other departments in the company, or even volunteer to give a workshop or presentation within the company.
2. Networking online and offline
Networking is a pain to some, whether online or offline. You may also think that networking does nothing to improve your skills. However, putting yourself out there ensures that you’re not stuck in your own bubble in your job, making you vulnerable every time your company decides to “re-org”.
You don’t always need to attend draggy and painful networking events, though they may be helpful. Instead, try to network from within, especially if you’re working in a large organisation.
Also, update your LinkedIn profile and keep a lookout for events and groups that pertain to your area of professional interest. Industry conferences are also a good way to network, so always attend with your business cards in hand and a willingness to initiate conversations.
Volunteering is another way to try out new professional skills, or to apply your current skillset in a different context. There are many opportunities to volunteer in Singapore, and a broad range of skills is often needed, ranging from management to operations.
Even if your skillset isn’t listed on the webpage as something that is in demand, you can contact the organisation and see if you can volunteer by creating projects and initiatives.
Many organisations today are including Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as part of their employees’ KPIs. By taking the initiative to offer your skills to those who need it, you will be gaining a lot more in terms of experience.
It’s undeniable that technology is propelling many industries forward and many in the workforce are being left behind. If you find yourself not advancing in your field, it’s time to take a long hard look at your skills and how you can improve to meet industry’s needs. Experience alone is no longer enough to help you climb up the career ladder today.
4. Never stop learning
Never say no to any workshops, trainings, or seminars that your company is paying for you to attend. You may feel reluctant to because some of these trainings may take time off your already busy schedule, but thinking about these learning opportunities as a long-term investment and requirement for you to not only advance in your career, but also to keep yourself relevant.
With the workforce getting younger and more equipped with current skills, rejecting any opportunity to get updated will only put you on the path of redundancy. This is especially so for professionals, managers, executives, and technicians (PMETs) whose work requires a good understanding of technology and trends.
To really take the initiative and take your career farther, go beyond attending workshops. Look out for courses in your free time and make use of your SkillsFuture credit. Don’t hesitate to speak to your employers for support if there is a higher education course that you want to attend.
If you cannot commit to commuting and attending classes physically, then look out for online courses on platforms such as Coursera or Udemy, or even subscribe to some YouTube channels that teach you specific skills. There are lots of tutorials uploaded for free, so there is no excuse to not even start.