Offering multifaceted opportunities for exploration, be it shopping, international trading, tourism, or education, Singapore stands out on even if it’s just a tiny dot in the world map. As well, it is a great job hunting spot, where pay is attractive to most foreigners.
However, contrary to what I’ve heard and past beliefs, landing a job in this country is not as easy as it seemed. I’ve heard of many stories and know of unfortunate ones who spent months searching for a job and end up going back to their home country with hopelessness.
This year, the demand is even tougher, as the Ministry of Manpower tightened rules in accepting and approving foreign talents’ employment passes, trying to limit the influx of foreigners.
What’s more, effective December 1, 2011, the granting of employment pass eligibility certificates (EPEC), which made it easier for foreigners to be hired, was discontinued.
Side Note: In reply to Yahoo! Singapore’s queries on why the scheme was removed, a MOM spokesman said, “The EPEC Scheme was not meeting its intended objective of helping employers recruit EP-calibre talent.” Of the EPEC applications received each month, only less than 10 per cent were approved, he added.
Now, how can job-seekers living outside of Singapore get a job here? This question is overrated but since I’ve been asked to give out advice countless of times, as if I were some expert, in this page I hope to be able to provide sound suggestions to the hopefuls, before I exit.
On my part, I just got lucky, I guess. In any case, here is the synthesis of tips I’ve collected:
1. Stock up on CASH. You will need lots and lots.
This is for your food and transportation expenses for the first jobless weeks, for advanced and deposit money for room or bed space rental, for utilities and other things. Essentials are as follows:
ROOM – Prices of room range from 300SGD to 1200SGD or higher, depending on the size of space, location, amenities and arrangements with the agents, main tenants or house owners. Staying in a HDB room or flat is much cheaper than in a condo or landed house. If you have not decided to stay for long, stay in rooms for transients instead, as some landlords require minimum number of months of stay (3-6 months) from their tenants.
FOOD – If you want to save up some more, you might want to look for a place where cooking is allowed. Most landlords don’t allow real cooking but just light cooking (e.g. noodles only). Eating out for every meal is costly (and might be unhealthy).
2. Don’t go touring around for leisure just yet. Save that for later; FIND a job first.
Let me lay down the facts: Time is limited and nobody can guarantee you’ll get a job. Recommendations by friends do not seem to work here as much as they do elsewhere. Relationships with friends are not judged by the company. They don’t get the job for you; your qualifications do.
It’s wise to spend every jobless day sending your CVs to recruitment websites such as JobsDB, JobStreet, JobHub, Strait Times, Monster, CareerJet, etc. Allocate about five hours per day reading along job offers online. Walk-in applications may also work but it’s better to apply online to save effort, time, printed copies of your resume and explore more companies with positions to fill.
Speaking of resume: Update your resume and specify clearly your skills and abilities to match the expectations of the employer and increase your job hunting success. Also prepare a nice and relevant cover letter which states your intent about the position and entering the company.
Many jobs, you’ll notice, are earmaked for local Singaporeans and Permanent Residents as written in the job ads, because they already are eligible to work in Singapore (they’re already here). Also, the government prioritizes them more. (Of course, what!) In this case, to be more efficient, use the advanced search form of the online job board and specifically search only for those who accept foreigners.
Side note: If you choose to display a Singapore address in your resume even if you’re still in your home country, you may do so. Just see if this will better your chances of being contacted.
When you’ve received an invitation for an exam or interview, entertain them and attend even if you don’t exactly feel to be part of that company, just to gain confidence and experience in facing the HR.
Sometimes, you can compromise and take a not-so-preferable job just to get a pass and prolong your allowed period of stay in the country.
3. Stay positive but be realistic at the same time.
On your first week, with all support and encouragement from family, friends and previous work mates, your confidence level maybe at its peak. On the second and nth week onwards, especially when you don’t receive good responses, your confidence level might be decreasing. But don’t be wary, as long as you have the patience to wait and resources to live by, you can stay.
Side Note: To quote Confucius, “It doesn’t matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop.” I could not have been more primed to appreciate the significance of this message.
It’s normal to feel depressed, regretful and homesick. Give yourself some time to grieve, and move on! Just because today sucks doesn’t mean tomorrow will–until the last day of your visitor’s pass. Work on your own way to find hope.
Flying to Singapore by yourself geared up means you’re not a baby anymore. Surely, you must have developed enough wisdom to do stuff you think you can live with. It’s time to prove you’re one independent professional to the peanut gallery.
The question is, will you continue hoping to be employed in Singapore or go back after a month? Seek answers from friends, relatives or trusted ones. Ultimately, your decision is your own. How good are you at listening to your conscience and translating what it’s whispering? Just asking.
If you have not gone to Singapore yet, you have nothing much to lose. You’re just sending your resume online, and the only requirements are time, luck and hope. If you’re already in Singapore, adding to the list is money. In either scenario, it’s best to pray. If you’ve done your part as you should, the heavens will somehow repay you in ways that will blow your mind. That’s for sure.
So go back to the heart of worship. Pray that your resume gets noticed. Pray to be called. Pray that you get accepted. Pray that your pass gets signed and approved. Pray for satisfactory rewards. Pray for obstacles to come. Pray for decisions. Pray for patience.
In life, there are various assortments of challenges. It’s easy to say that we have to fight and overcome each one, but acting and doing so is just (most of the time) hard, I admit. In every struggle we surmount, we get stronger anyhow.
Next week I’ll be visiting my chosen top 9 vegetarian restaurants in Singapore to try their most popular dishes. Reviews will be posted before I’m back home in MANILA!