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In this new episode of Abroad With Care, Andrea interviews Adrian Choo, founder and CEO of Career Agility International. The “Career Strategist” shares with us his insights to successfully embrace career switch. 

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More and more people are exploring career changes. People in their 40s, but also the younger generation. Why do you think that is? 

In the old days, we used to have this concept of “one job for life”. Today, it is a matter of necessity and a matter of need to change jobs. It is a necessity because markets are changing. We need to constantly keep on upgrading our skills. This is also a matter of needs. People now have shorter attention spans, especially the younger generation. They are looking for fresh ideas and new skills. They get bored pretty easily. This is why they are more open to career changes. 

What are the main steps to a successful career change?

When we ask our clients what drives them to change careers, they often say that they want a “better job”. But they struggle to define what a “better job” is. Our first advice is to know why you want a “better job”. Are you looking for more money? Are you looking for more meaningful work? Or a better work-life balance? Determining your objective and what drives you is the first step. Then, you need to do your homework and do a lot of research. What skills do you need? What is the job demand in this industry? 

Changing career paths can be quite risky. What is your advice to mitigate risk?

Our advice is: don’t make extreme career switches. I advise people to look for adjacencies and jobs that are connected to what they are doing already. For instance, if you are a salesperson, you might consider becoming a sales trainer. Make your career change a calculated move to avoid going to totally unfamiliar territory. 

For expats, switching career paths is even riskier. In Singapore and Hong Kong, visa constraints and high cost of living are tough challenges. What is your advice for expats willing to make a career change in Asia?

Expats need to be able to distinguish themselves from the local talent pool. What is your special skill? What makes you unique compared to local talents? Look at what Arnold Schwarzeneger did. When he arrived in the United States, he started a construction business. But the competition was very intense. In order to stand out from competitors, he labeled his company as a “European” company. Customers were attracted by this unique positioning and paid a premium for it. This is how he managed to successfully grow his business. 
You must understand the industry and the job you are getting into. Put yourself in the shoes of the employer: why should they hire someone who is new in the industry? You must be able to explain what you can bring to the table and why you are special.

Changing careers is a bumpy road and your health may be impacted. What can you do to be mentally and physically prepared?

Career switches are never easy. It takes time and effort. It is a stressful journey. You will get many “no's” before getting a “yes”. Being resilient is key. I recommend not to embrace this journey alone. Involve your partner because it is a joint decision. Get their buy-in. Another advice is to get help. Find a mentor, meet people in the industry, talk to as many people as you can and ask your questions. 
 

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You can contact our different offices around Asia and request a quote, our experts will be happy to assist you!

 

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