By Alka Chandiramani

Did you know you could write the best possible resume in the world, but if you don’t have ‘keywords’ in it, your resume may be tossed aside? Companies generate searches using ‘keywords’ – “insider” terms, or business jargon, used by in a specific profession or industry – through company resume databases, online job searches, resume databases, etc. to find resumes that best match a specific job or profession. The bottom line is, if your resume doesn’t contain those keywords, then your resume won’t get picked out. Even if a company doesn’t use online keywords searches, you’ll have a better chance of making a bigger impact with the person who reviews your resume if it contains those key words that help them know if you fit the general profile for the job description.

There isn’t one list of key words that can be published because every job has different key words depending on the profession, but here are few tips to keep in mind when you look at your resume again:

  1. Does your resume contain both acronyms and actual phrases? If you only have the acronym and a recruiter searches on the actual phrase, then your resume won’t be picked up with a digitized resume search. Include keywords in multiple ways such as ‘MBA’ as well as ‘Masters of Business Administration’, ‘DBA’ and ‘Database Administrator’ or ‘CPA’ and ‘Certified Public Accountant’.

  2. Do you cover your profession/industry in a variety of ways? For example, ‘oil and gas’ and ‘energy’, ‘banking’ and ‘private wealth management’, ‘office administration’ and ‘office management’, etc. There is no way to have every variation possible, but do try to include a few to increase the possibility of having your resume pulled from the database.

  3. Have you included the techniques used in your profession, as well as software and hardware that you have either used or have been trained to use? This is particularly important if it is unique to your job, industry or profession; for example, Microsoft Project, SAP or CADD.

  4. Did you sprinkle your resume with your profession or industry’s “insider” terms? These can range from the acronyms that describe your work, the typical products you work with, the services you’re involved in and even the type of customers and vendors you might deal with. 5. Did you include behavioral skill phrases with examples? These are the valuable behavioral skills for any company, such as ‘problem-solving’, ‘resource optimization’, ‘effective presentation skills’ or ‘business development’. It’s important to remember that if you list these in your resume, be sure you are able to give examples of how you did these, both in your resume and the interview.

Can I Work with a Dependant Pass?

While it’s all very well investing time preparing a resume for the Singapore job market, many who arrive in Singapore with their spouse fall under the common misconception that there is little point in doing so, since their status is ‘Dependant’ and that they are unable to work. However, Dependant Pass (DP) holders are unequivocally able to work in Singapore and the process is quite simple. All the employer needs to do is fill out a Letter of Consent (LOC) and send it to the Ministry of Manpower. The one-page form takes only ten minutes to fill out and requires 1) the DP holder’s FIN and education information, 2) the employment pass holder’s FIN, and 3) the name and address of the employing company. Once the LOC is approved, processed and returned to the employer, the DP holder can begin working. Here are a few important things to remember:

  1. How long will it take to get my LOC? You can check status of your LOC about two weeks after submitting it. The application outcome will be mailed to the employer usually about three weeks from the date of the application, but this can vary depending on peak times.

  2. Where can I find the LOC form? It is located on the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) website at Just type in “Dependant Pass” in the search box located on the top righthand corner of the MOM homepage.

  3. How long is my LOC valid? The LOC ceases to be valid when the DP is cancelled, or if the Employment Pass holder (your spouse) is no longer employed by their company.

  4. Do I have to renew my LOC? The LOC must be renewed when the DP is being renewed. The LOC renewal form will be sent to the employing company about two months before the pass expires. The completed form should be submitted to the Work Pass Division at least four weeks before the LOC expires.