How to Get a Job in Singapore: Finding Jobs as a Foreigner

Updated 16 June 2023

Getting a job abroad allows you to explore new experiences as a professional in your industry. It comes with numerous benefits like increasing your cultural awareness and making you a more valuable candidate if you live and work in a different country. If you're considering getting a job in Singapore, understanding the process and factors to consider can help you make an informed decision. In this article, we describe how you can get a job in Singapore by following the right steps.

Read more: How to Find a Job in Singapore as a Foreigner in 6 Steps

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How to get a job in Singapore

Knowing how to get a job in Singapore can help professionals progress in their careers. Here are some important tips to get started:

1. Research your industry

Getting acquainted with your job sector in Singapore is one of the first things to consider. You can gather in-depth information on what the industry holds and what to expect. Sometimes, the ease of securing a job depends on your chosen career path. Not all sectors experience the same amount of growth in Singapore as they do in other countries, so you can carry out research to understand the growth of your industry. If your preferred industry isn't thriving to your expectations and there are some possible limitations you might encounter, you might want to reconsider and make a backup plan.

Some industries that are in high demand in Singapore are digital marketing, finance, programming, data engineering, human resources and health specialists. To be more strategic with your research, check the Strategic and Skills-in-Demand List that the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) regularly curates and updates. The skills and industries on this list are in high demand and professionals can leverage this knowledge to increase their chances of getting a good job.

Related: 18 Future In-Demand Jobs (With Primary Duties and Salaries)

2. Craft your resume

To get a good start in your job hunting, it's crucial for you to craft a good resume. One of the best ways for professionals to increase their chances of impressing their prospective recruiters and getting a job in Singapore is to write their resumes well. Including crucial details on a resume may increase the prospects of being invited for an interview, which can affect your chances of clinching a job offer. When recruiters glance through a resume, it takes them a few seconds to determine if the candidate is worth granting an interview.

With the information from your resume, the recruiter can determine if you're qualified to be shortlisted. In your resume, it's essential to indicate your education and experience section to let the employer know if you match their requirements. Emphasise more on recent roles, including activities and interests. While writing your resume, remember to check the job descriptions of your preferred roles. You may then use the keywords in your resume to show the recruiter that you're a good fit for the job.


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3. Browse for job openings on online platforms

An online and in-depth search for a job in Singapore is what candidates may use to increase their chances of getting one. If you're looking for a job in Singapore, you can research the platforms that Singapore recruiters commonly use. A lot of online platforms have job openings for different industries in Singapore. You may also look for localised platforms in Singapore that are extensions of authentic global websites.

Some job platforms make searching easier by providing some filters to narrow down search results according to your preferred interests. Also, look out for platforms that are industry specific to access several job openings in your career field. There are many online platforms that are easy to navigate and may help you find the perfect role for yourself.

Related: How to Use Indeed to Job Search During COVID-19

4. Network with other professionals

Networking is essential when searching for a job in Singapore. Sometimes, meeting people can help you access crucial information in an easy and quick way. Look out for professional groups and communities both within and outside your job industry. You may find a lot of important information on top of just the job hunt itself. You may also find information about life in Singapore. This provides aspiring professionals with the chance to ask questions and get detailed answers.

Related: Why is Networking Important and How to Start Networking

5. Contact an employment agency

Employment agencies are useful in helping candidates get quickly acquainted with the job market in Singapore. Authentic employment agencies vet resumes to ensure they align with what most Singaporean recruiters are looking for. These agencies also help candidates to familiarise themselves with interview processes so they can have an easier process with recruiters. One way to understand your industry is to seek information from the right sources, and an employment agency is one of the best places to begin.

An employment agency usually also shares tips with candidates about the companies they're targeting. Before choosing an agency, candidates can research one that matches their skills and industry. You can also search online to discover what people are saying about the various agency options before making a choice.

Related: How to Work With a Headhunter to Find a Job (With Tips)

6. Check your work eligibility status in Singapore

Confirming your eligibility is important when it comes to getting a job in Singapore. After ascertaining your eligibility, you may receive an employment pass to establish your status as a working professional. The MOM has some criteria that determine the eligibility of a foreign professional. To be eligible, you need an authentic job offer to an executive, specialised or managerial role that the MOM can vet. The employment pass eligibility is also for those earning a certain minimum salary. More senior and experienced professionals may have a higher benchmark and require a higher salary.

Additionally, you need an academic qualification in good standing and some technical skills to prove that you're a good fit for the role. Before applying for the employment pass in Singapore, use the Self-Assessment Tool (SAT) to know your eligibility. If the SAT indicates non-eligibility, don't send an application for the employment pass because it's likely to be rejected. If the SAT tells you that you're eligible, you may have a higher chance of obtaining your employment pass.

Related: 7 Best Certificate Programmes in Singapore (With Key Details)

7. Apply for a work visa

After getting a job in Singapore, apply for a work visa. Generally, once you meet the qualifications of any type of work pass, your employer or appointed employment agent can apply for you to get an employment pass. Next, pay the registration fee to get access to submit your application. Usually, visa processing takes seven business days.

Related: 9 Job Hunting Tips to Get the Job You Want (Plus Strategies)

There are a few types of work passes in Singapore:

  • Entrepreneur Pass (EntrePass): This is for qualified foreign entrepreneurs who want to start and manage a business in Singapore. These businesses are either venture-backed or innovative technology startups.

  • Employment pass: This is for foreign professionals, executives and managers. The candidates in this category are required to earn a minimum specified amount per month and possess the right qualifications.

  • Personalised pass: This work pass is for high-earning professionals or business owners who already have an employment pass. This type of work pass has more flexibility than the regular employment pass.

  • S Pass: Mid-level skilled staff fall under this category. The candidates' monthly earnings are required to meet the expected minimum and also the assessment criteria.

  • Training employment pass: This is for foreign professionals undertaking practical training. To qualify, candidates in this category are mandated to earn a certain minimum amount monthly.

  • Work holiday pass: Students and graduates fall in this category. This work pass is for undergraduates and graduates between the age of 18 to 25 who are keen on working and spending their vacation in Singapore for six months.

Related: 15 Benefits of Working From Home (Definition and Examples)

8. Know the work/business etiquette and culture in Singapore

Once you're set with the other matters, it's also important that you familiarise yourself with the corporate environment in Singapore. Being a multicultural country, knowing the basic work and business etiquette aids prompt adaptation. First, there are four official languages in Singapore: English, Malay, Tamil and Mandarin. There are many southern Chinese languages such as Hokkien, Teochew, Cantonese and Hakka being spoken on the island. Although not mainstream, punctuality is a common feature in some companies in Singapore, and this also applies to some business functions.

Find out the rules in your prospective company and abide by them. You can make use of your networking skills and the networks you've gathered during your job hunting process to dig more into Singapore's working culture. Obeying the work etiquette in Singapore helps to make your career journey smoother.


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Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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