How to Work in Singapore in 8 Steps

Step No. 1: Identify what type of worker you are and which Singapore work pass is appropriate for you

Depending on your profile, there are different types of Singapore work visas:

Employment Pass (EP)

The EP is meant for foreign workers who are looking for managerial, executive or specialised positions in Singapore. The assessment of applicants for EP depend on their remuneration, qualifications, work experience among other factors. The EP has to be applied for the candidate either manually or via EP online by the prospective employer.

The EP also requires applicants to earn a minimum of S$3,600 (effective 1 January 2017) and hold acceptable qualifications. However, older applicants may be expected to command higher wages commensurate to their work experience to qualify for an EP.

Personalised Employment Pass (PEP)

This pass is meant to encourage international talent to relocate to Singapore. The Personalised Employment Pass is approved based on the individual merits of the applicant, and not associated to any employer. It allows foreign professionals to spend up to six months in Singapore to look for new jobs, without having to re-apply for the PEP when they change jobs.

However, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) needs to be informed on any changes to the employment status. The PEP also requires foreign professionals to earn a monthly salary of S$12,000 if they are currently holding an EP, or $18,000 if they are based overseas.

S Pass

The S Pass is meant for mid-skilled foreign workers who wish to work in Singapore. This pass requires them to draw a minimum monthly income of S$2,200 in order to be approved. Ordinarily, a diploma or degree qualification is also expected of the applicant for the approval of the S Pass. Like the EP, it is applied for the candidate either manually or via EP online by the prospective employer.

There are some conditions that apply to employers who hire S Pass holders. They are required to pay a Foreign Worker (FW) levy for every S Pass holder they employ. They are also expected to use the General Interbank Recurring Order (GIRO) when paying the salaries of the S Pass holders they employ in the first three months following the issue of the S Pass.

Step No. 2: Look for a job

After identifying what kind of employment pass is suitable for you, the next thing that needs to be done is to find a job for yourself. There are various ways to do this.

You may search for jobs at online job portals such as JobsDBJobsCentral or JobStreet. You can also utilise Rikvin, which is a licensed employment agency, to help you nail employer interviews with our resume bank.

If you have any friends or family members who can provide you with referrals for jobs in Singapore, you may take advantage of that too. Networking is known to be one of the most reliable ways to procure a job not just in Singapore, but anywhere. Having a set of personal name cards will help you in your networking efforts.

In addition, you may refer to potential employers’ websites for career listings directly. You may also want to subscribe for the online edition of the Recruit section of Singapore’s The Straits Times. This is published every Saturday and contains numerous job listings for local and international job seekers.

Step No. 3: Prepare your resume

There are no second chances to make first impressions. Your resume will serve as your first official introduction to your prospective employer. Thus it has to look its professional best.

There are various formats of resumes, therefore choose one that best presents your achievements. Despite varied presentation styles, all resumes adhere to these basic rules:

Ideally, your resume should not be longer than 2 pages, while your cover letter is typically one page long. Thus long paragraphs should be broken down into logically arranged bullet points for concise and easy reading. 

* Details of your employment history and educational qualifications should be listed, in reverse chronology. Elaborate your relevant work experience with the quantifiable results and outcomes in your resume.  

Your resume must portray you as a great fit for the job. Thus, the most relevant and important traits and abilities should be mentioned at the top of the resume. Additionally, your contact information should also be indicated on the first page.

Do not create your cover letter and resume in fancy colours. It should be written in black ink using font size 11 or above, and printed on white paper, with margins that are not exceedingly narrow or wide.

Avoid atypical font types. Arial and Times New Roman are the most commonly accepted font types for resumes. If you need to highlight portions of your resume, do so sparingly.

Once you have ensured that you have followed these basic rules, you may send your cover letter and resume along with all supporting documents, like your educational certificates and testimonials, to your prospective employer. Most employers accept job applications via email.

Read the full version of this article that talks about the steps in working in Singapore at


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