Singapore Cover Letter Writing Guide

April 17, 2023 0 Comments

Working abroad sounds like an adventure to many people. However, work in Singapore needs more than just the obvious Singapore CV with cover letter writing and translation – it requires thorough preparation. You will experience problems that probably did not even cross your mind when you decided to apply for jobs in Singapore.

Do not take too lightly the huge influence the Singapore cover letter can have on the results of your adventure! For example, you will experience the unusual rules, practices and habits related to immigration, job application procedures, selection criteria and management culture.

In Singapore, the terms “CV” and “resume” are interchangeable. Your Singapore cover letter is the very first thing an employer will see. Use a cover letter as an introduction. It should accompany your CV or resume, whether e-mailed, posted on a job site, mailed or hand-delivered to an employer.  As a document that personally introduces you and your Singapore CV or Singapore resume, it is best to limit it to one page.

Take time. Your first step in writing a cover letter should be to research your prospective employer/recruiter. Go through the job ad and find the keywords and the selection criteria for the role. As long as you can back up your claims to fit the position, use these keywords in the customization of your cover letter and CV.

Even when applying to a blind ad or box number you can use the ad information to personalize your cover letter. If possible, personalize each letter with a real person’s name and title. Such personalization would increase the retention of your application. If the name of the recipient is unknown, address the letter to “Human Resources Manager”.

Place the name of the recipient, their title, company name and address in the left-hand corner. Usually, write names in the following order: the last name first, middle name second and the first name last.

The purpose of your cover letter is to make sure that the recipient will read your CV/resume

A human or a piece of software scans job applications in seconds. In both cases, the reader is checking if your skills and experience match the criteria detailed in a job ad

When applying for jobs in Singapore, you may use either English, Malay, Mandarin or Tamil, depending on the company and your fluency. Stick to one language once chosen. However, you need to accept that not knowing the local language will put you at a real disadvantage from the local job seekers. Many employers consider the basic knowledge of the local language as necessary to cope with daily office life and life outside work.

English is the basic language of business and most business people speak it rather well. If you are submitting an English version only, it is helpful to duplicate in Malay, Mandarin or Tamil your name, contact address and company names, unless you are certain that the recipient of your cover letter and CV is an English speaker.

The cover letter should not repeat your CV. A personalized, targeted, well-written cover letter is your chance to set yourself apart, grab the employer’s interest, and draw them in for a closer look at your CV.

Often the cover letter is more relevant to employers than the accompanying CV because CVs refer mainly to the past time with exception of your present job. Understand Employers are interested mostly in the future of the company they work for. Therefore, your letter should refer to your present and future plans, showing your prospective employers what you want to do now and what you will do for them in the future, rather than your achievements.

Employers are only interested in the information relevant to the position

Explain, using simple language, your motivation and why you are the right person for the job. Emphasize what you can do for your potential employer, not why their company would be good for your career. Exploit facts about the company collected through research of public information sources, references or insider contacts.

Begin your Singapore cover letter with your name, nationality and contact information including your address, phone/fax and e-mail address. Employers and recruiters are often keeping on file cover letters and CVs for long periods, so any contact details you give have to remain valid in the long term. A daytime phone number with an international access code and e-mail address are most important.

Keep the letter formal. Such a letter usually contains three to four paragraphs. Write in a short and professional style using action words. Be concise and get to the point as quickly as possible. Break any paragraph, which is longer than seven lines, into a short easily understandable one.

The opening paragraph should state the purpose for writing, the position you applying for, the employer’s job reference number, where you have heard about the job opening and that you are confident you are suited to the role. Try to grab the employer’s interest with the first sentence of this paragraph.

A second paragraph should tell the reader why he or she should be interested in you. Highlight your skills related to the job that you applying for and explain how you, in particular, can add value to the company.

Use the third paragraph to highlight to the employer what you can do for them. Add one or two career achievements relevant to the job. It is important to illustrate your qualifications as they relate to the requirements of the position.

Close your cover letter with a request for an interview at their convenience. Express a willingness to explain your application in more detail during a personal interview. If the opening was unadvertised and the CV is unsolicited, indicate that you will follow up in a few days.

Thank for their time and consideration.

Sign the letter.

Inform the employer that your CV or resume is enclosed – “Enclosed is my CV for your reference.

Send your cover letter together with your CV or resume and a recent photograph. Send no other attachments such as educational diplomas and certificates, testimonials of former employers, documentation of received awards and/or prizes, a record of your extracurricular activities, your passport or birth certificate, unless the prospective employer requested them – if so, sent only copies.

Use the same font and style as your Singapore resume or Singapore CV. We recommend using a font that is easy to read such as 10 to 12 points Arial or Times New Roman. Computer print or typewrite your cover letter on A4 white paper for hard copies.

Some large multinational companies use their own job application forms instead of cover letters and CVs. So, pay attention to the open questions that try to establish your social and transferable skills. Never leave any blank spaces. It is quite common in Asia to state the name, education level and job of your parents in an application form.

Check the spelling and grammar of your Singapore cover letter. Use the word processor’s spell and grammar checker. If you are not confident of your ability to detect grammatical, punctuation in usage errors in English, Malay, Mandarin and Tamil, or if you need help in organizing your cover letter, send it to a professional for assistance.

Remember that your CV/resume must be targeted, scannable and generate hits. If you have difficulty with your CV writing or resume writing instead of staring at a blank piece of paper, use CV samples and CV templates, resume samples and resume templates.

Most recruiters expect to receive a cover letter together with your CV or resume. So, prepare a cover letter convincing the reader why you are the best candidate for the interview using cover letter writing tips.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.