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This is an article written by the Collective Works Engagement Team to share our knowledge of the Singapore Market.
September 27, 2017

Job Hunting in Singapore: A Foreigner's Perspective

Singapore_CBD.jpgPhoto credit: channelnewsasia.com

Job searching can be a very harrowing experience, but trying to land a job in Singapore, the third most competitive country in the world after Switzerland and Hong Kong according to Forbes, is a whole different ball game.

Welcome to the Lion City, the land of opportunities!

My job search in Singapore was indeed a challenge, but finally getting a job here was one of my most rewarding experiences. Before I jump into the details of job hunting in Singapore, here are four reasons why I love working in the Lion City.

Reason # 1: Rewards and Compensation

According the latest Singapore Ministry of Manpower requirements, the minimum salary for S-pass holders is $2,200 and the minimum salary for E-pass holders is $3,300. This is two to three times more than the average salaries you would get from Singapore’s neighbouring countries. Albeit the cost of living in this country is also more expensive, you can still work around a budget and spend wisely to save your hard-earned Singapore dollars. 

Reason # 2: Environment

The city is clean, efficient, safe and beautiful! Traveling within the city is so convenient with the interconnected bus and train systems that are always on time. The streets are spotless and full of greenery. Also, there are a lot of great places one can visit for leisure – from museums, to zoos and amusement parks. Most importantly, the food here is amazing! There’s a wide variety of cuisines available in the hawker centres: Indian, American, Italian, Chinese and even Filipino - as long as it is tasty, the hawker centres have it.

Reason # 3: Strategic Location

Singapore is situated at the heart of Southeast Asia, which makes it only three hours away from Asia’s Central Business districts such as China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, and also only a few hours away from tropical paradises like Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines. As a bonus, Changi Airport is one of the best airports in the world and makes travelling from the country a real treat.

Reason # 4: Diversity 

Finally, what I loved best about working in Singapore is that it’s full of diverse people and cultures. On top of the diverse local communities, there is also a vast community of expats and foreign workers living here since the country is the base for many global and regional corporate hubs. This translates to many opportunities to meet and learn not just from the locals but also people of varying nationalities. 

Now that I have convinced you why Singapore is one of the best countries in the world to work, the next step is to share some tips on how to land a job here. 

As I said, landing a job here is not easy, particularly for foreigners but I'd say the journey is worthwhile.

1.  Check if you are eligible to work in Singapore

Foreigners who would like to work in Singapore need an employment pass. The employer who offers you the job will be the applying the pass on your behalf. There are three kinds of passes in Singapore, depending on your age, industry, and salary. You can learn more about the details of these passes at http://www.mom.gov.sg/passes-and-permits. You may also check your eligibility for a work pass via MOM’s self-assessment tool at http://www.mom.gov.sg/eservices/services/employment-s-pass-self-assessment-tool  

2.  Know the job market and know your value

The current in-demand jobs in Singapore are in the finance and banking fields. There are also a lot of job openings in the shipping, telecommunication, and IT sectors. These industries are in dire need of professionals to sustain Singapore’s growing economy. Here is a list of the most in demand jobs in Singapore right now: 

http://www.humanresourcesonline.net/demand-jobs-singapores-job-seekers/

3.  Get your CV and Cover Letter right. 

Companies receive thousands of applications daily so you need to make sure your CV stands out from the rest. Do not mindlessly e-mail blast. Instead, take your time to research the company, the industry and the job specifications. Then make sure that your CV and cover letter is tailor-made to the job you are applying for, highlighting the skills and experiences you have that will suit the employer’s needs.

4.  Apply to as many companies as you can and be patient

The more companies you apply for, the better your chances of a positive response. Here are some platforms that helped me in my own job hunting: 

  1. Referrals: Do you have a network of colleagues or friends that are already working in Singapore? Ask them if their current companies have any job openings. Perhaps they can even endorse you to their employers. This is still the best chance you have for finding a suitable job.
  1. Online job sites: Below are some of the best ones I used. Go through all the job openings and apply to every one that’s suitable for you.
  2. JobsDB - https://sg.jobsdb.com/sg
  3. JobsCentral - http://jobscentral.com.sg/
  4. Monster - http://www.monster.com.sg/
  5. Jobstreet - https://www.jobstreet.com.sg/
  6. LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/
  7. Glassdoor - https://www.glassdoor.com

Remember, responses may take a while. Sometimes, employers only call back after three or four months so don’t fret, be patient and just keep applying!

5.  Be flexible with your expectations

a.  Be flexible with your salary expectations. The company may offer a low salary initially, but you should also consider the career development opportunities they offer. If you continue to work hard, would you be able to quickly advance in your career with higher rewards and compensation? From my experience, hard work is well-rewarded here in Singapore. 

b.  Be flexible about your job expectations. While you may not be offered your dream job, consider sticking with it and its benefits in the long run. Look at the networking opportunities the role presents and how you could leverage those. 

6.  Prepare for the interview

When you finally get that appointment for an interview, seize the opportunity. Research about the company and the position you are shortlisted for. Find out information about your interviewer or the founder to better understand them, their business, the industry, their competitors and other relevant information. Your interviewer will surely notice if you’ve prepared well, and it increases your confidence during the interview too.

I wish you all the best as you begin your job hunt! Here are my final two tips when you finally land a job in this city:

Be prepared to work hard

The real challenge actually begins once you get the job. Know that Singaporeans are extremely hard-working and are always willing to go that extra mile. They are focused, determined, and exceptionally bright, so your employers expect the same from you.

Use your free time wisely by learning something new

Since you are a foreigner, you never really know when you’d be going back to your home country - so make the most out of your stay here. Personally, I am taking up Chinese language lessons and volunteering at the Kids Read Singapore. I suggest for you to be productive with your free time while here as well -  take up a new hobby, volunteer, and learn something new. If your company offers free courses, maximize those opportunities and attend all of them. Meet new people, network, and even consider taking online classes. There are many things you can do to learn and improve yourself. Last but not least, make sure to always update that LinkedIn profile!

New to Singapore? Check out some of Collective Works' members top reasons to live in the East!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Alain is the membership consultant for Collective Works, responsible for finding, educating, verifying and onboarding potential coworking clients. He believes that giving exemplary customer service to all our members is the most important key to having a great coworking space 

A Chinese born in the Philippines and living in Singapore since 2016, Alain is constantly looking for new experiences and new people to share it with. Having a background in commercial and residential real estate, he is always looking for the next big thing in the market. He spends his free time improving his Mandarin, doing volunteer work and playing board games.

Visit his author bio page to find out more about Alain and connect with his social profiles.

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