Saturday, June 14, 2008

I.T. Job hunting in Singapore

The months of May to July are the best months to look for jobs in Singapore. Why? In my experience these are the months that most people leave their jobs to look for greener pastures. The timing might also be because people have already received their variable bonus on March and their salary increment on April. And those who did not like what they got started moving out.

But just because there are quite a number of openings does not mean that companies will just pluck you out of the Philippines and put you on the recently vacant chair in their offices. You need to strategize, you need to prepare, and you need to sell yourself. Here I hope my experience in how I got my job in Singapore will help.

Step 1: Make a "killer" resume

A colleague and friend of mine, Jake, gave me one very important advice. Keep your resume short and simple with a maximum of 2 pages. Well there goes my 5 page resume..

Making your resume simple is not, how to say it, "simple". There are a lot of information you want to put in to get noticed. Should you put in how you manage to debug that bug in your scheduler? Do you need to put in the best in custom award your team won during your annual dinner and dance? The answer is simply "no".

After I have searched the net I came to these basic sections:
> Contact Info (i.e. your name (of course!), address, contact number)
> Summary (100 words should be enough)
> Technical Expertise (Summary of the things your good at, in bullet form)
- here i list the programming langauges, OS, CPU, protocols that i am knowledgeable
> Professional Experience (Brief summary of all your work experience)
- here i break up my experience per title/rank or project i have done.
> Education (only your degree is important and where you got it)

Step 2: Post it!

Once you have your "killer" resume you can start applying for jobs. Since you are in the Philippines and you want to apply in Singapore the best way to do it is use the internet. I have never used the postal system to apply only because I have some VERY BAD experience with them in the past.

There are quite a number of sites and ways to apply. I have used as my primary job search site. I upload my resume there and update it twice a week. The reason why I update it that regularly is because employers usually browse only through active resumes and will give you a call when they like what you have. In my experience during the months of May to July I usually receive an average of one interview invitation per week.

Another way to do it is to go to search for job openings in or in and then once you find an opening go to that company's website and apply in their "Careers" or "Jobs" section.

Step 3: Interview with the vampire

Once you get an interview invitation that proves you have made a good resume. But that should not stop you from continually improving and updating your resume.

When you get an interview invitation make it a point that you prepare and take it seriously. As I've indicated think of it as if you are talking to a vampire, if you make a mistake the vampire might suck you be wary.

The interview is the most important step in the process, not only does this dictate if you will be hired or not. The interview will also dictate how much you can negotiate when the job offer comes or what relocation packages you can get.

Step 4: The Job offer

Once you ace your interview and got to this point, you're almost there. But this is where most people fall. Yes, it is good that you finally found a job and that soon you will be part of the OFW community earning 3 to 5 times more than what our countrymen in the Philippines earn doing the same job.

But this is also where you agree on the terms of your employment. This might dictate how long you need to be with the company and how much they will pay for the year and beyond.

So once you reach this part, step back and analyze the contract properly. Some points you need to analyze are:
> Contract bond
- Make sure that if there is a contract bond that it is reasonable. You need to consider that not all jobs are perfect and it is possible tha you might want to jump ship earlier than expected.

> Medical insurance
- As the tagalog saying goes "Mahal magkasakit", and it is more true if you are in another country. Make sure that you get medical converage and that it is indicated in your contract.

> Vacation leave
- Most of us pinoys need to recharge to the Philippines so you make sure you have a couple of weeks leave.

> Relocation package
- As I have said this depends on how much you impress your future employer. Not all get a relocation package but if you have one that is great.

Step 5: Work to impress and then Pass it on

As a matter of principle, when I do my job I do not think that I am doing it for myself alone. True I am earning the money and enjoying the friuts of my labor. But as I do my job it also reflect the qualities of my Filipino heritage. So when you have your job, work to impress your boss or colleagues. Make them see the true skill and abilities of Filipinos.

As my previous boss have told me, hiring a foreign talent is like tasting rice. If you like the first rice you ate you will always look for that same brand. So work to impress and then pass on the experience you have to your fellow Filipinos so they too can have the rewards that you are now enjoying.

I hope this helps.

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