Working Abroad: Be Smart, Be Prepared on your Move to Singapore

Work abroad in Singapore

      Are you ready to go beyond the box and work abroad? This is the first of my ‘Salakay Singapore Series’ Articles tackling all about my experiences in everything Singapore-related.  *Salakay is a Filipino word meaning conquer. 

      Working abroad is considered an out of this world opportunity for most of us living in a third world country. And Singapore which is a far cry from the Philippines, certainly is a dream destination to work at. It is perhaps due to the fact that living condition in Singapore is off the chart compared to our country. You can earn Singapore dollar, live in a clean environment, enjoy high speed Internet connection, feel secure with the low criminal rate, travel in their convenient transportation system and escape our corrupt government and overwhelming tax rate. But before you decide to book a ticket to Singapore, a careful planning can help you prepare for your trip.

      Below is a timeline of what you have to prepare for your move to Singapore:

      Six months before your trip to Singapore

      Six months before your trip to Singapore

      1. Save a lot of money, since the rental fee in Singapore is expensive, you will need a minimum of 25,000PHP or 800 SGD per month to survive.
      2. I highly advise you not to hire any recruitment agent in the Philippines. Most of the time, they’ll just suck your money out. I have friends who regret hiring them and ended up borrowing money just to pay off these agents.
      3. You can start looking for a place to live in Singapore.
        • Print the Singapore Train Map which will come in handy.
        • Look for friends who are working in Singapore. They might be able to let you stay temporarily in their apartment.
        • Participate in forum. is a good place to gain some insights and find a cheap and temporary place to stay.
        • If you want to find a cheap place to stay near the Central Area (or CBD), I recommend the following locations:
          – Chinatown
          – Boon keng
          – Little India
          – Novena
          – Geylang
          – Alujinied
          – Outram
      4. Study and hone your skills, as Singapore has a highly competitive job market.
      5. Browse job posting sites like Jobstreet, Jobsdb, JobsCentral and Monster. Check and find out the required skill set, work experience, job responsibilities and salary range. You will be surprised with the level of expectations they have in Singapore.
      6. Regularly update your LinkedIn profile and start inviting employees of the Company you intend to apply at.
      7. Buy travel package to Singapore in advance. Based on experience, it’s best to travel in Singapore during the weekend to avoid traffic and give you time to look around the vicinity
      8. Convert your money to Singapore Dollars. (Wait for a better change rate between PHP and SGD)
      9. Prepare and bring original and scanned copies of the following documents:
        • Passport
        • Birth certificate
        • Driver’s license
        • NBI Police certificate (not more than 6 months)
        • High school, university/college certificate
        • University or college transcript of record
        • Certificate of Employment (with job description, working hours, salary and contact person)
        • Resume
        • Short course / workshop certificates
        • Tax Income Number
        • Social Security System
      One week before your trip to Singapore

      One week before your trip to Singapore

      1. Start updating your resume
      2. Submit your resume to recruitment agencies in Singapore.
      3. Start packing your things and it’s better not to bring oversize luggages.
      4. Bring the following items
        • Passport
        • Original and scanned copies of your documents
        • Laptop
        • Smartphone
        • Notebook, black pens, pencil and eraser
      5. Use this Singapore online map as your guide and iPhone iOS app version (This application is more convenient than the Google Map for Apple.)
      6. Check this guide for Singapore Hawker. Hawker is an affordable place to eat, similar to our canteens.
      One day before your trip to Singapore

      One day before your trip to Singapore

      1. Start sending emails with attached resume to your targeted companies.
        • In your email, provide a short introduction about yourself.
        • In your resume, make sure to include your Singapore address and email address.
        • Please use a professional email address.
      2. Double check your documents.
      3. Be sure to print a copy of your flight ticket.
      On the day of your trip to Singapore

      On the day of your trip to Singapore

      In Manila airport,  make sure to double check your things like passport, money and flight tickets. Have your notes ready in case they ask you questions regarding your Singapore address, with whom will you stay (if not staying in a hotel).
      It will take around 3 hours and 30 minutes from Philippines to Singapore, so make sure that you have enough rest and sleep.
      When you reach Singapore Changi Airport

      When you reach Singapore Changi Airport

      1. In the airport, buy a sim card and prepaid card with broadband internet. I recommend Singtel telecom company.
      2. Buy EZ Link card (worth 10 SGD) for your transportation fee. Don’t use tourist prepaid card as this is far more expensive.
      3. Bring out your printed MRT map and look for the nearest train station to your apartment/hotel. Check out which is pretty handy when traveling the Metro.

      I prepared a checklist that you can use below.



      Categories: Featured articles, Work

      Hello, I am Constantino Co, a digital marketing manager and web designer working for JLL, a real estate commercial property consultant in New Zealand, Auckland.