Getting a job in Singapore is the same as trying to get a job in other countries. It's a combination of factors.Moving countries is hectic enough, more so if you're the trailing partner and you find yourself in the position of looking for a job.
First things first, though, you need to make sure you hold the proper documentation. As per the current Ministry of Manpower Regulation, if your partner holds an eligible Employment Pass or S-Pass and earn a fixed minimum monthly salary of S$6,000, they can apply for Dependent pass for their legally married spouse and unmarried kids under 21 years old, including legally adopted children.
Now comes the fun part.
To get a job in Singapore
1 Update your CV and tailor it according to the local practice
After conversing with 2 recruiters and a few locals, these are two common practices:
- To include all jobs held since you graduated from University; OR
- To only include the recent 10 years of work experiences
If you are in your late 30s or 40s, and looking for employment in Singapore, it makes sense to focus on the recent 10 years. To add everything would mean more than 2 pages of CV. However, I have had discussions where the hiring manager wanted to know everything that transpired regardless of the number of pages. My suggestion is to have 2 sets of CV. One contains the recent 10 years. The other contains all jobs from the time you graduated from university.
2 Make yourself visible
You need to go out and there and mingle. Get to know the locals, as well as the expat community.
Before I came to Singapore, I've already made the decision to look up the non-profit organizations. I identified 3 that had multiple events listed on the website. I also joined an online forum to get information. Once we landed, I joined and paid the membership fees. Then, I attended the networking sessions.
Do bear in mind that not all networking sessions are the same. The coffee / tea, breakfast, brunch meet-ups are usually for social networking. If you're looking for a job, you will need to minimise attending these kinds of meetups and focus on the other type of networking. The other type centres on lectures, panel discussions, etc, followed by cocktails and networking.
Prices for these range from $0 (free) to $75 depending on the size, popularity of the topic, and importance of the speakers. One of the best organizations I've joined, and still a part of is PrimeTime Business and Professional Women's Association aka PrimeTime for short. As the name states, it's an organization for women who want to advance their careers or upgrade their skills and want to meet women who have the same objective.
3 Talk to people
It's not enough to network. You must also know how to sell yourself. Don't be desperate. Get to know people first. Cultivate a relationship, then tell them your story. This will be a practice for the interviews to come.
There are two conflicting thoughts when it comes to letting people know you're looking for a job. Telling people face to face is fine for others; but not announcing it to the world.
4 Update your LinkedIn page
If you don't have a LinkedIn page, create one. If you have one and you haven't updated it, do it now. Make sure you have a recent professional photo. No photo of you in a panda outfit, or a photo of you plastered. Remember that LinkedIn is a professional platform. This is where your future employers will check you out.
As mentioned above, some believe not to put "Looking for opportunities" on your headline, because it screams desperation. However, there has been a recent goodwill trend begun by influencer Oleg Vishnepolsky where he posts the CV of people looking for a job on his page. Others with huge followings followed.
5 Practice for you interview/s
Once you get a call to attend an interview, show up. You may have to go through multiple kinds of interviews. It could start with a phone interview or a video conference or an interview with the hiring manager followed by a panel interview. Try to anticipate what type of interviews you'll be facing.
If it's a face to face interview, make sure to dress conservatively. Someone I know was told she wasn't dressed professionally. When she asked the interviewer what he meant, she was told to google it. When we asked what she was wearing, she said she was wearing trousers, a blazer, and a t-shirt. I'm guessing the t-shirt was the culprit. Some hiring managers still prefer suits or skirted suits for all kinds of positions.
6 Be upfront about your status
Some companies only want to hire Permanent Residents or Singaporean citizens because they don't want the hassle of filing papers. Another reason is because there is a quota set by the government to ensure locals don't lose out on the jobs.
If you're on Dependent Pass, it takes about one week to three weeks for MOM to approve or deny the application. You can start checking the status after 7 business days. Once MOM approves the application, a Letter of Consent (LOC) is issued. Keep that with you at all times.
I would also advise that you can negotiate your salary or leaves. Getting a job in Singapore doesn't mean you have to accept the first offer. Another advise is to read your contract carefully. Don't be afraid to ask for clarifications.
If you have a gap in your employment, you can read my previous blog here.