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Podcast: Our top tips to finding a new job in 2021

Kirsty Hulston, Regional Director at Hays Singapore


Hosted by Juvina Ratnam, Team Manager for Hays Singapore, we ask Kirsty Hulston, Regional Director of Hays Singapore to share her top five tips to jobseekers in Singapore looking to land a new role in the year of the Ox. The podcast briefly looks at the current recruitment landscape for Singapore in 2021, before delving into the pointers Singaporeans should take into consideration when switching jobs in the coming months.


Once you have listened to the podcast and looking to switch jobs in 2021, be sure to visit where we will be in touch to kick-start your job search.


1. Hello and welcome to the first ever podcast created and produced by Hays Singapore.


My name is Juvina Ratnam, Team Manager for Hays Singapore and I manage our contract recruitment business, also known as flexible recruitment solutions. I've been with the business for about three and a half years, and I spend most of my time specializing in contract recruitment to grow that space in the business.

Today, I'm delighted to be joined by Kirsty Hulston, Regional Director for Hays Singapore who will share with us her top tips for finding a new job after the Chinese New Year holiday period, which traditionally sees an uplift in candidate movement. Kirsty has only recently transferred to Singapore, having commenced her Hays story in sunny Perth 13 years ago, before moving to Guangzhou in 2016, where she headed up our South China operations.

2. So Kirsty Welcome to Singapore. How are you finding things so far?


(00:56) Yeah very well thank you, Juvina. It's been great. Just taking my time to explore the city. There is a lot of amazing local food, new places to go and see and people here are really friendly. I'm of course also really looking forward to working with our Hays team here and sharing with our listeners today, the top tips for finding a new job in the year of the Ox.

3. Amazing stuff. After the hurdles, challenges and honestly obstacles we all experienced in the year of the Rat, I read that the Ox which is the second animal in the Chinese zodiac calendar denotes hard work, honesty, and most importantly, my favorite positivity.

So are we expecting the employment prospects and the recruitment market in general to breed positivity in the year ahead?

4. Look, I'm sure as many of our listeners can appreciate there is still a fair amount of uncertainty in the world as a result of the evolving pandemic.


(01:39) As a result of the virus mutating, we've seen additional social distancing, and restrictions for countries that were actually already out of lockdown, which really highlights I guess how quickly the landscape can change. But at the time of this recording, we do indeed predict a positive outlook for Singapore in the year of the Ox. We saw recently the announcement by the Ministry of Trade and Industry forecasting the economy to grow by up to 6% this year, which actually does align with the findings from the 2021 Hays Asia salary guide, whereby 36 per cent of employers also predict the economy will strengthen this year, this is certainly an improvement from the sentiment we all seen back in 2020, where only 23 per cent of employers were expecting to see any growth at all.

Yeah, and the other positive indicators from our recent salary survey indicate 56% of organisations are expecting to increase their activities levels this year, with the majority also reporting intentions to hire and increase headcount.

5. That's really comforting to hear. I mean, it has been a difficult time for many businesses, and people, of course, during the pandemic.


And I think we've done really well in on how we've seemingly brought the pandemic under control, allow our economy to pick up and hit towards growth again, in this difficult time. But just to go back a bit.

You mentioned some stats from our Hays Asia salary guide earlier. Any other interesting insights you can share from the point of view of job seeker that was perhaps uncovered in the survey?

6. Yeah, interesting to note that 34 per cent of survey respondents told us they are actively looking for a new job.


(03:12) Yes, interesting to note that 34 per cent of survey respondents told us they are actively looking for a new job and for those looking, the primary motivation is a more competitive salary package.

Interestingly enough, 54% had indicated they’d undertaken professional development courses to further develop their soft skills over the past 12months, potentially this was during periods of lockdown at home, when people had more downtime.

Also worth noting & I don’t think there would be any surprise here, however 70% of survey respondents say the flexibility to work from home or from any location, is extremely important.

7. I agree. I'm not surprised at all to hear that. Thanks, Kirsty for sharing those insights from the survey.


Now before we start, the tips you give today, these are for job seekers in a particular industry or across multiple spaces?

8. Yes multiple industries, however, primarily for job seekers and white collar roles from graduate to an experience level.


9. Okay, great. I'm going to help you kick start us by taking a guess at what your first tip might be. Something along the lines of updating your CV?


10. That is correct. Firstly, I think for every Singaporean whether you really to apply for a new job or not updating your CV to reflect the progression of your skills and responsibilities are a fairly sensible approach.


(04:17) When it comes to updating your CV. There are a few things to consider and questions to be asking yourself, for example, what new technology, digital or technical skills have you developed over the past year? Is there a project you've worked on that you're particularly proud of? If so, update the details in your CV? And secondly, have you completed any courses as mentioned earlier, you know, won any awards or being recognized for a job well done? If so, I'd encourage you to add in these details.

11. Oh, they definitely should. They've done all the hard work. They should be highlighting that.


12. Sure hiring managers and recruiters love to see hard evidence of your successes. If you can quantify your success, then it's worth really noting down the detail on your CV.


In a nutshell, you know the period after CNY is the perfect time for you to get some new skills on your CV and preemptively give your career a boost.

13. Thanks, Kirsty, from what you said; I can pick up that in encouraging jobseekers to regularly update their CV, they are putting themselves in the best possible position to sell themselves to their future employers. Would you agree?


14. Yeah, that is a pretty good assessment on that, Juvina. And actually, it takes me nicely on to the second tip for jobseekers, which is to revamp your online brand to increase your chances of being contacted or made aware of the latest jobs in Singapore.


(05:30) One of the first steps you need to take is to build your professional brand in a way that reflects your expertise, skills and career aspirations. A strong online footprint is an important element that our recruiters here at Hays look for when proactively reaching out to potential candidates.

15. Well, what if somebody isn't as tech savvy or doesn't have a lot of time.


16. Building your professional digital footprint doesn’t have to be too time consuming, it could actually just be as simple as updating your Linkedin profile.


(06:03) Make sure you complete every section including relevant keywords which mirror your skills & expertise, particularly in your summary & headline sections. If you need keyword inspiration, try reviewing job descriptions of roles you’d be interested in applying for – it’s always a good idea to mirror the language used, of course in an honest & legitimate way.

LinkedIn is not the only platform in which to create an online profile, but is a good starting point given its predominance in the hiring & recruitment industry.

17. I see. And if one builds their personal brand, it can complement their skills, elevate their work, and impress their future employers.


Is there anything else jobseekers can do to ensure they stand out from the crowd?

18. Yes, I think for anyone looking to make that switch between jobs in the year of the Ox should embrace the key traits of that animal.


(06:50) For example, be determined, be diligent, and have a detailed plan in place in which you apply strong faith and tenacity to land the job you want in 2021. It's a case of looking to disrupt your job search, which I'd say is my third top tip.

19. What does it mean when you say disrupt your job search at least from a recruiter’s perspective?


20. Well, firstly, it means being proactive with a growth mindset. This will play a huge part in a job seekers ability to secure a new role.


(07:16) We’ve spoken to a significant number of candidates who think that because of the pandemic, they won’t be able to get a job.

So, instead of quitting before you even start, think more positively and understand that as the situation in Singapore continues to improve, so will the employment opportunities in the market

Secondly, building relationships as rather than sending your CV and hoping for the best, reach out to the relevant party and follow up every application. Relationship building is more important than ever to cut through and shine, so make a genuine effort to engage the recruiter or hiring manager when you follow up. Don’t forget to also ask the important question, “If you don’t think this role is right for me, what other roles might be suitable?”

21. What would say is the one soft skill that will top all in 2021?


22. For me, I'd have to say it’s proving your adaptability. This is a critical skill, given how much change is occurring both within organisations and the wider world of work.


(08:05) So in your CV, and in an interview, share examples that demonstrate your adaptability. Talk confidently and openly about what challenges you faced in this environment and what you did to adapt and overcome them.

23. Nice, nice. Ok, so the main takeaway from that tip is that job seekers should perhaps take on the view that what worked well when job searching in the past now requires some tweaking and adjustment.


Those who can embrace the new trend to willfully disrupt their traditional approach to job seeking will be the ones that are more likely to succeed in the recruitment process.

24. Yeah, correct. It's being adaptable. It's being open to change and essentially, in many ways, being open to trying something new.


The reality of the pandemic may mean that we see industry shifts and emerging trends that have a long-term impact on just the job market, but the world at large.

Demonstrating flexibility and openness to new opportunities on your CV will be key and may lead you to gain new experiences & discover strengths you didn’t realise you had.

Whilst technical ability has always and will continue to be important, remember that soft skills emerge time and time again as a key priority for prospective employers. Showcasing these on your CV by highlighting relevant examples of when you’ve demonstrated excellent communication, emotional intelligence and willingness to learn.

In a world undergoing many facets of change, it is this quality that will keep your career on the right track, whatever the future holds.

25. I can't help but think that how scary it is not to just to explore a different industry, but possibly look into a completely different career altogether.


26. You know, if we go back to what I mentioned earlier in the year of the ox, it really is all about being brave.


(9:52) These are unprecedented times and people might need to consider entering new industries that they haven't worked in before. For instance, IT, healthcare, logistics, infrastructure, and professional services, all have strong job opportunities on offer. So be brave and consider searching outside your typical parameters.

27. I like that be brave. I think that statement is such strong advice. And I think that job seekers also need to be brave enough to hear no, or receive some form of rejections in their applications.


28. Very much so Juvina, leading me to my final Top Tip, which is I’d encourage job seekers to partner with career consultants and recruiters.


(10:28) When it comes to road mapping your career and brushing up your CV, working with a Hays consultant can be the difference between success and rejection. As experts on the world of work, our consultants are best placed to advise job seekers on the skills most in-demand.

You’ll receive valuable interview coaching and advice about how to frame your experience against the current job landscape. Exclusivity with a particular recruiter is crucial, as it will allow strong relationships to be built leaving them best placed to secure the right opportunity.

As a lifelong career partner, I know that our recruiters will be here to help job seekers at every step in order to help them land their dream job in the year of the Ox.

29. Wonderful stuff Kirsty, thank you so much.


Before we end and if anyone as a result of listening to this podcast wants to leave their details and have a Hays Singapore recruiter contact them to discuss their job search, is there a web page or email address they can leave their details?

30. Yes for sure, we have set up a specially created webpage to capture the details of those looking to switch jobs in 2021 at


31. Well that’s a wrap for today, Kirsty thank you so much for joining me and the very best of luck to you in Singapore.


To everyone listening, we hope you have found this podcast enlightening and insightful if you are looking to switch jobs in 2021. Please do visit our website at for the latest job opportunities and recruitment trends in Singapore and we’ll be back for another show covering the world of work in Singapore very soon.

All the best and speak soon, goodbye.



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