When it comes to eating out in Singapore, one word comes easily to my mind — choices. Your options can range from fine dining that costs hundreds of dollars per person to a bowl of wonton mee that has the “chef” giving you change for $3.

Come to think of it, there are many things in life that we can associate with the word “choices”. This includes looking for your next job. 

Currently, the job market in Singapore is looking positive. And since most companies have already paid out their 2010 bonuses, perhaps it is time for you to start thinking about moving on with your career.

However, two questions usually hold people back: How do I know if it is time to move on? What do I look for next?

The 1/3 rule

I have a simple suggestion — the 1/3 rule of career management. Here is a three-step explanation of how it works:

1. Make a list

List down all the key activities associated with the performance of your job. 

2. Create three ‘buckets’

Slot each of your key activities  into the three buckets:

*   1/3: Activities that you can learn by performing them;

*   1/3: Activities that you know how to do, but need to do more of to be an expert; and

*   1/3: Activities that you can do with your eyes closed.

3. Make a decision

You will know it is time to look for a new job, be it within your current company, or outside it, when you have a high percentage of activities in the last bucket.

An “ideal” job would be one that has close to an even distribution in all the three buckets.

Think of the end result

So, assuming you are now serious about wanting to do a job search, how do you begin?

Getting your resumé updated and ready to use is important, but even more important is to begin with the end in mind. 

This simply means you need to know what you are looking for.

Again, here is a simple rule for you to apply: Identify three “must-have” factors that you ideally want in your next job.

Once you have these, you can start to consider using one, some or all of the following job search avenues: 

* Networking

Statistics have shown, time and again, that this is the most effective means of finding a job. Networking is about making contact with your network and the people you know to source and identify job leads that you can then pursue.

Contrary to popular belief, networking is not about asking someone for a job or manipulating others.

It is about gathering information that will enable you to have a better chance of sourcing for job leads in the so-called “hidden market” before the sea of job seekers out there know about them.

Job openings that are advertised are those in the “open market”, where you will face competition as many others will also be submitting their applications.

* Research

This is another effective but least used avenue as it involves a lot of work.

In a nutshell, and as the name suggests, you have to spend time and put in the effort to research a list of companies you are targeting in your search and craft a convincing case of why those companies can potentially benefit from having you on the team.

And you have to make sure you send your application to the appropriate hiring manager — don’t address it vaguely to the “human resource department”.

Not a straightforward task as one can imagine, hence, few choose this less trodden path in their quest for their next job.

* The Internet

The world has changed much since I entered the career management industry. Then, print media was the main avenue for a job search. The Internet now offers another avenue for a job search with several job portals.

Social media platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn are increasingly attracting recruiters, who trawl the virtual pages for potentially qualified candidates to contact.

If you do not have one already, do consider creating a profile on LinkedIn, which has become a popular source for recruiters.

* Working with recruiters

A key point to note when working with this job search resource is that headhunters and recruiting consultants do not work for you, they work for their paying clients.

So, if you have submitted your resumé online to these companies’ websites and do not receive a response, rest assured you will be contacted if your experience and skills come close to what these recruiters’ hiring clients are looking for.

Otherwise, keep calm. There is nothing wrong with you or your profile. There is simply no reason for the recruiters to contact you since they are unable to help you secure a job.

As you look for career opportunities, always remember that you have several avenues to turn to, so make the most of them.