There are three approaches to finding a job in Singapore: Job boards; Employment Agencies; and Networking. For the best results, use all three.
Job boards can be very frustrating for job seekers. People submit lots of applications for different jobs and frequently do not receive a response – this can be very demoralising. Recruiters only respond to people they think will match a job they have available on their books.
The problem is the very large number of job advertisements on each job board and the equally large number of people applying for them, so it’s very easy for your application to get lost in the crowd. Many claim it is a game of luck, while others claim it is a numbers game that has less than a 10% success rate. Either way, to increase your chances of getting a response from a recruiter, you have to increase the number of applications you submit.
Another problem is that there are many job boards to explore and this can take up a lot of your time. A more efficient way is to use a job aggregator such as Indeed.com which displays available jobs advertised on most other job boards. This saves you time sifting through countless job boards and allows you to spend this time on just one job board, meaning you can be more focused in your job search. A particularly important factor in this is that you can be one of the first to spot and apply for a newly advertised position – it is reported that nearly 50% of successful applications leading to a job hire were made in the first week the job was advertised. So make sure that you are one of the first!
Many people complain about their experiences working with employment agency recruiters. This is frequently due to a misunderstanding about their role. You must understand that the recruiter is not paid by you, the job seeker, but by the employer when a position is filled. So their main focus is not on you, the job seeker, but on satisfying the person who pays them – the employer. Furthermore, each individual recruiter is dealing with hundreds of job seekers and simply doesn’t have the time to deal with each individual’s concerns, so they may appear rushed and abrupt – they too have to reach targets!
So, before you speak to a recruiter, prepare what you are going to say and be brief and as concise as possible. Having an ‘elevator pitch’ to use with recruiters can be very useful. While it is best to use a number of recruiters from different employment agencies, do some research to see if there is a specialist recruiter for your particular industry and job area. Even if these are based overseas such as in Hong Kong, it is frequently worthwhile to contact them.
Networking is by far the most effective way to job search in Singapore. The principle behind networking is that someone you already know may have a job vacancy or know someone else who does. Or someone you already know may know somebody who knows somebody else who has a job vacancy or where one exists. A high number of jobs in Singapore are not publicly advertised but are by ‘word of mouth’ where a hiring manager asks another manager or friend if they know of someone who would be suitable.
I have written previously on the need to know exactly why you are networking (you can read the article here) and to be focused in your networking activities. It is also important to not just rely only on using LinkedIn but to utilise the network you already have – i.e. all the people you already know. However, they must know clearly what you are seeking – otherwise they can’t help you get it.
Effective networking requires careful planning and you must know how to do it properly so as to avoid annoying people and becoming a person to avoid. If you are not adept in networking, speak to someone who is or take a training in it.