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Tips and Techniques To Find Jobs In Singapore

· Career

Finding a job is a job in itself. - Andrew Liew Weida

Finding full-time or part-time jobs in Singapore, or anywhere else in the world for that matter, is never easy. It typically takes a considerable amount of time and effort to get the job you want.

To make the process quicker and less painful, I’ve put together a selection of good job search technique related content, that we’ve published over the years. Each one is relevant and contains practical tips. We see these helping our clients every day and hopefully, they will be useful for you as well.

Navigating Job Boards In Singapore

With Singapore job sites / boards, you can choose to play a numbers game. However you need to be very persistent and consistent in your application. This is because we are living in a world of "TMI" or too much information. The average recruiter will probably browse through 1000 CVs or resumes for 1 job offer.

  • People are often surprised when they submit 10-15 job applications and receive no response.
  • When this happens they panic and think that something is wrong with them or their application. They also write off Singapore job sites / boards and spend even less time on them. This can be a mistake.
  • With job boards it is very easy to get lost in the crowd, given the large number of job advertisements and even greater number of job applicants. A recruiter might not come across your resume and you might not get an interview call, even if you are a good applicant/candidate.
  • Sometimes dummy job advertisements are also posted and used as a way to gather resumes for future positions/openings that are not available now.

As such, you need to be prepare to apply many job applications in the hope of getting 1 job offer. Nonetheless, all you need is 1 job offer.

  • As a rule of thumb, for every 100 job applications that you submit on Singapore job sites/boards, expect to hear back from 3-5 within 3-6 months.
This is assuming that your resume is well positioned to match the keywords that they are looking for.
Now let's look at another strategy.
Use Job Aggregators To Search All Jobs In Singapore At One Place

Instead of using individual job boards, it’s better to use a job aggregator to look for jobs in Singapore.

  • These are the popular job sites in Singapore: JobsDB, JobsCentral, JobStreet, Monster, EFinancialCareers, ST701, JobsCyclone, StreetDirectory.
  • The recent new ones are Wantedly, Linkedin, StartupjobAsia, Glints.
  • Most people will use 2-3 of these boards to search for job openings.
  • However, it is a waste of time to search each job board separately.
  • Furthermore, you might miss out on openings advertised on other job sites in Singapore and also jobs which are posted on company/employer websites.
Job aggregator is a good site for you to have a sense of the job market.
  • There are three aggregators for jobs in Singapore – Recruit.Net, Careerjet  and Indeed.
  • I recommend using Indeed since it has the best search algorithms and widest coverage.

Here are a few tips for using Indeed well:

  • Use the advanced search form for conducting targeted and granular searches. Think of the ideal search parameters for yourself and try a few different searches initially, till you find a few which give the best results. This will save you a lot of time browsing through less relevant job advertisements on an ongoing basis.
  • Set up email alerts for searches which you like.
  • Apply only for jobs in Singapore where your resume/CV meet AT LEAST 80% of the responsibilities & requirements.
  • For many advertised jobs an email address is provided. It is better to apply via email for these, since it saves time, provides more flexibility in how you present your application and makes follow-up easier.

Dealing With Recruitment/Employment Agencies In Singapore

One of best pieces of advice I know that help you understand how to deal with employment agencies

Employment Agencies find people for jobs, not jobs for people

The headhunter or employment agency is hired by companies, to find people for specific jobs. They are not in business to help you find a job and you are not their client.

So when getting in touch with agencies as part of your job search, make sure you state your interest for positions which are a very good match for your past experience/education. That will help you get more success from your dealings with a job agency.

It is also good to remember that relationships are important – People help people they like and know. Therefore, I would suggest calling an employment agency, after you have sent them your resume. The purpose of the call is to start developing a relationship with them and to get on their radar. Ask them when is a good time for you to explain your candidacy in more detail and let them know why you are well suited for particular roles you are applying to. In conversations with people, I often hear that employment agencies are rude, never call back, cancel/delay meetings and so on. Sure, some might be like that but not all. So I would still recommend getting in touch with them because you will have success with a few and they can be a good ally during your job search.

Let's look at the next strategy

Engaging In Networking

Networking is one of the easy ways to look for a job and also one which is often overlooked.

During their job search, people typically contact a few recruiters and also search for openings on job sites. There is nothing wrong with this and recruiters/job sites should be part of your efforts to find jobs. However, you should also look beyond these job search methods and try to get in touch with people in your target companies directly.

This is done by using your existing network/contacts and also by adding new people to your network. There are a number of things you can gain through such job search networking, including:

  • Making others aware of your job search and what you are looking for.
  • Getting valuable information about the industries and companies you are interested in.
  • Finding out about jobs which might not have been advertised yet and/or jobs for which companies have not been able to find suitable candidates for a while, through jobs sites and recruiters.
What happens when a company needs to hire someone for a particular job opening?

For an employer, using recruiters and/or job boards to find suitable candidates is not always the ideal option. They need to pay a fee to use these mediums, might need to go through a ton of resumes/candidates and there is more uncertainty about the quality of candidates.

So the logical thing for the employer/hiring manager to do is to first (or simultaneously) look inside the company for suitable people to fill the post. They will also ask their trusted network of co-workers, relatives, friends and other contacts for referrals (of suitable people they know and/or have worked with previously). In this way, they can avoid paying recruiters/job sites, deal with fewer candidates and might also have more confidence in the quality of people referred by their trusted network.

What can you do to take advantage of this, during your search for job opportunities?

You need be in touch with and get yourself on the radar screen of enough people, in an effort to either directly meet a hiring manager looking to fill a job, or alternatively be referred to such a hiring manager.

How do you go about meeting people and expanding your network? (This is where job search networking helps).

1) Start by using your existing contacts/network. This includes family, friends, professional contacts, fellow alumni and so on. Make a list of all such people, along with their contact details. Include all your contacts and not just those people who have relevant experience, or hold powerful positions. Remember, it’s less about ‘who you know’ and more about ‘who they know’ (for example, a friend who has never been in the corporate world, might go for an gym boxing class with the wife of a senior professional in your target company). Such lists typically include anywhere from 50 to 250 people.

Once you have a decent number in the list, start getting in touch with people on the list. Inform them of your plans to find jobs, ask for advice/information, ask for referrals and also for any job leads.

2) Then find and contact people who you don’t already know. The best way to do this quickly is through online networking and the best tool for online networking is LinkedIn. You can use LinkedIn to find people in your target industry/companies and request them to spare 15-20 minutes (via phone or in-person), to provide you with some advice, job leads and referrals. (I will be writing another article shortly, with details on how exactly to use/navigate LinkedIn).

You can also use events, such as seminars, conferences, industry association meetings, etc. to meet, greet and network with relevant people.

Will people you contact during your job search networking, actually respond to your requests?

Many will not. However, most of my clients are pleasantly surprised by the large number of people who do. You will get many positive responses because:

  • People like to feel important/respected and give advice to others
  • Many people genuinely want to help others
  • People might relate to your situation, since they have been through a job search themselves
  • Other people want to expand their own network and learn new things as well and think you might be a good contact for such purposes
  • The person might be looking for someone with your background for a job they need to fill
What should you say when you contact people, to get help for finding jobs?

It is usually easier to contact people who you know well and you will know the best way to approach each person. Therefore I will not focus on contacting such people and will provide tips for contacting people who you don’t know well or don’t know at all.

Approach : Request for information/advice and not for a job

This technique often has good response rates, since it puts people at ease and makes them more open to read/respond to your request, when you are not asking for a job. Here is an example of a script/message:


Dear ________,

I came across your profile on LinkedIn and was hoping I could ask you for some career related advice. (- OR – I received your contact information from XYZ, who suggested that you would be an excellent source for some career related advice – OR – It was great to meet with you/hear you speak at XYZ event and as discussed, I am getting in touch to seek some career related advice)

Your Background

To give you a brief overview of my background, I am a junior data scientist Professional, with experience primarily in the Banking industry. On the education front, I graduated with a Masters in Analytics from NUS.

More Information on Help You Want

I am thinking of continuing my career in the Consulting industry and needed guidance on a few areas/questions, such as:

  • Advice on the companies I have shortlisted and on other companies that I could consider
  • Practicality of the career move I am considering and what I can do to increase the success of my job search
  • Whether my thoughts and expectations about the industry are in fact true

Given your expertise in the industry, I would greatly appreciate if you could spend 15-20 minutes providing your thoughts/guidance, which will really help me plan my career and job search. I look forward to hearing from you and also to the opportunity to meet/speak with you.

What are the possible outcomes from the discussion?

If you are persistent enough to apply this , you have more chances to land the job. The effort is worth it only if you keep going at it. :)