Unlocking Success: Tips for Searching for a Job in Singapore’s Thriving SME Sector


A spotlight has been cast on Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in Singapore in recent years as a result of the government providing increasing financial support to them. With the intention of creating and preserving jobs, covering operational expenses and accelerating their growth, SMEs have been on the receiving end of many funding initiatives and schemes such as the Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG), Market Readiness Assistance (MRA), Enterprise Financing Scheme (EFS) and more. This has led to a burgeoning SME industry wherein companies and jobs are proliferating, offering diverse opportunities across copious sectors and roles – presenting as a brilliant window for job seekers who are planning for a career switch, or are freshly graduated, among others. If you are one of them, here’s how you can work towards getting your share of a promising future with an SME with seven easy tips.

Tip 1: Research and Scout

One of the primary differences between aiming for a career in a Multinational Corporation (MNC) and an SME is the availability of their vacancies and supposed hiring seasons. Larger corporations tend to have fixed recruitment cycles, whereas SMEs typically rely on momentum and expand when there is a business need. This often trails after finalising business plans and increasing workload demands. As these needs are unique to each company, it is beneficial to keep your ear to the ground and monitor for any signs of newly advertised openings on job portals, social media, company websites and other media. 

While keeping a lookout for advertised positions, stay updated on the latest news, articles and trends in business for potential employment opportunities. For example, an interest in capitalising on the nation’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) sectors could signal a wave of new roles introduced. Where the opportunity arises, there is no need to wait for vacancies – if your passion and ambitions align with the company, a proactive and well-crafted email attached with your resume and cover letter can demonstrate your eagerness to pique the interest of employers.

Tip 2: Tailor Your Resume

Your resume is the only thing that stands between you and your prospective employer, so customising your resume to bring out the best in you is important for procuring your chances in your desired SME. For a powerful and professional resume, highlight skills, experiences and accomplishments that are relevant to the SME and its operating industry. If you are applying for a position in response to a job posting, survey the job description and try to align your achievements and expertise to the role as much as possible. During this stage, you can also prepare an appropriate cover letter to accompany your resume that dives into greater detail about your past experiences and what you can bring to the table. Your research and deep understanding of the field may also pay off here, if you find that you are able to offer skill sets that can tackle common industry challenges.

Tip 3: Don’t Forget Soft Skills

Soft skills are essential attributes that are universally applicable and advantageous to a broad range of roles. As such, mentioning them in your resume or cover letter can give you a boost beyond technical expertise. This can be even more pronounced in an SME where businesses are run by small teams, with employees working in close proximity to management, and where processes are streamlined and maximised for efficiency. In such cases, employers may look to hire individuals who are capable of performing multiple roles and are willing to take on diverse responsibilities, and can adapt to working in a fast-paced environment. 

Your personal qualities and work ethics can add an extra shine to your resume as well. Demonstrating enthusiasm in contributing can give employers a push in approaching you with more conviction, and showing initiative, a knack for problem solving, and a personal priority for quality and speed are always attractive to small business owners. All these traits reflect the nature of SMEs, and detailing them in your resume and cover letter proposes the value you can bring outside of job-specific knowledge.

Tip 4: Upgrade and Update Yourself

Keep up with the competition of the job market by upskilling. With new technologies being introduced constantly, employers would never say no to individuals who are multi-hyphenates or are capable of wearing multiple hats at the workplace. Operating on a smaller headcount, having numerous skill sets can help you stand out from the crowd in the eyes of a hiring manager, especially if your areas of expertise are relevant to the industry. Attend courses, workshops, and even internships to be informed and in touch with the necessary skills and latest industry developments. By staying in the loop of the latest advancements and trends, and being able to handle a wide scope of tasks, you can utilise your knowledge for ideas that can be applied to your new career.

Tip 5: Network

Networking offers numerous benefits that can give you access to hidden opportunities, industry insights and areas for improvement. As there are job openings that are not publicly advertised, connecting with professionals can give you exclusive entry to an unseen job market; while forging and maintaining professional relationships with like-minded peers can also supply you with a better understanding of the industry from experiences, advice and even mentorship with a dependable professional support system. Reach out at events such as career fairs, conferences, coworking spaces in addition to social media to showcase yourself professionally and at the same time, build up your personal brand. In small and big ways, networking can be an influential platform to establish your competence while tapping into opportunities for career growth.

Tip 6: Understanding the Company and Culture

Some time after the initial stages of your job search will be the preparation for the interview. This is a good time to not only gain a thorough understanding of the SME’s services, products, values, strategies and competitors, but also an estimation of how seamlessly you fit into its professional and cultural requirements. Explore the contributions and ideals they may expect of their candidates, and how your experiences and personal attributes may match up with what the SME seeks.

When rehearsing for your interview, run through the potential questions that the employer may ask, including industry-specific topics. Again, acquaint yourself with news and the latest developments, and think about how you may answer questions that pertain to the nature of working in SMEs such as a dynamic working environment, working in smaller teams, going above and beyond, a genuine willingness to learn, a strong company culture, frequent collaborations and more.

Tip 7: Stay Open-Minded

Working in a freshly founded organisation requires a leap of faith, and this open-mindedness and flexibility to go beyond your comfort zone can lead to new possibilities and growth. With hundreds and thousands of SMEs in the flourishing enterprise landscape, there are always new industries, roles and challenges to take on. Even if a prospective job opportunity doesn’t pan out the way you want it to, other offers are waiting for you – after all, you’ll never know what’s the next big thing.

Versatility and adaptability go a long way in helping you score, preserve and advance your career in Singapore’s competitive labour market. Individuals are constantly looking to upgrade themselves, hoping to get an edge over the competition and ahead of others. JobMaster helps job seekers by providing a slew of job opportunities across various sectors, as well as tools and resources to enhance the appeal of its employment-seeking users. 

Begin browsing your career possibilities with us today.