Career Switch

Tips on how to make a successful mid-career switch.

By Roland Quek        2 July 2020

A mid-career change might prove to be a challenge for many, but not for Ryner Koh, whose passion saw him pivot to be a successful real estate agent at ERA Realty Network. Few would have guessed that Koh was formerly a captain who served in the Singapore Armed Forces from 1999 to 2011.

“Besides being able to view different types of houses – from HDBs and condominiums to landed properties, both in their original or renovated states – I’m passionate about connecting families with homes that undoubtedly meet their needs,” he said. “For instance, I love being able to assist my clients in upgrading from their existing HDB flat to a private condominium.

Photo credit: Ryner Koh

“Passion and a sense of fulfilment are important factors that drive me to persist with what I’m doing, and to continuously seek selfimprovement so that I can enhance my value to the clients that I serve.” Below are some tips he has for people who want to follow in his footsteps in making a successful mid-career change.

Work Out An Objective

Having enthusiasm in what you do is great, but foremost is to work out an objective. Without a goal, enthusiasm can lead to frustration.

“After leaving the Army at 34, I have been refreshing my aim every day and figuring out which strategy works and which does not,” he said.

“Regarding successful strategies, I build on them. Anyone who wants to make a mid-career change must set out his goal and its purpose. This is a tried and tested method that has worked for me.”

Make A Plan

Key to a successful mid-career change is coming up with a plan and seeing it through.

He recounted: “My plan involved engaging in low-cost methods such as roadshows and telemarketing. Such plans sounded simple, but it required that I let go of my ego and called for plenty of discipline.”

“I would embark on my roadshows twice a day during windows with high traffic: breakfast and dinner. When I’m not doing a roadshow or telemarketing, I’ll be attending ERA seminars and training to hone my skills and mindset.”

Pursue Knowledge

To achieve success in a new career, it is important to learn new knowledge and skills. “Anyone who constantly takes the initiative to better himself will attract employers who will recognise you as an asset for their companies, regardless of the industry,” he said.

A willingness to learn can also help one progress further. Koh, who continually receives training on the latest industry trends at ERA, added: “I still remember those days where I used to be nervous and fearful when presenting to high net worth clients. To overcome this, I brushed up on my knowledge and trained myself to go through mock presentations with friends and my family. The more I practised, the more confident I became, and this is key to success.”

Stay Focused

Doing this and being committed to the goal that you have set for yourself is key to a successful mid-career change. This means avoiding distractions and procrastinating, which can easily derail your plan. He said: “We are often distracted by doing multiple things simultaneously, and in my experience, doing that only gives an illusion of achievement, but it produces only superficial results.”

Take Rejection In Stride

Life is not a bed of roses and everyone has encountered rejection at some point in his or her life. Nevertheless, rejection represents an opportunity to overcome challenges. This shift in perspective can make a world of difference. He explained: “The idea is to constantly move forward and improve rather than dwell on failures. It’s vital to perceive setbacks as the ladder to a successful mid-career change.”

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