GAUTAM asked: Since I graduated from a university in Singapore with a master's in biomedical engineering, I have been hunting for a job with no luck.

I am an Indian national with a bond which allows me to work in Singapore for three years but firms are still reluctant to hire me. What are my options?

THESE may not be jolly times to be a foreigner on a job hunt in a crowded field in Singapore.

According to Mr Chris Mead, regional director of Hays, South-east Asia, there are many candidates out there in your particular field of expertise so employers can afford to be uber picky.

Understandably, the hurdles are higher if you're a foreigner. Flaunt your stand-out traits.

Assess your competitive advantage and attributes and articulate those in your resume, says Mr Josh Goh, GMP Group's corporate services assistant director.

Also, never underestimate the power of reaching out, so go out and network resolutely, feverishly. Alumni gatherings, trade or industry sessions or any event that involves significant networking should be on your agenda.

Since you have lived and studied in Singapore, think of the personal contacts you've made who can help.

Take it from a recruitment expert. "Referral is often among the most effective job search strategies. Replying to job advertisements will only bring limited results," said Mr Goh.

Find out if there are any firms back in your home base with operations in Singapore or, on the flip side, Singapore firms with operations where you are. These employers may be relatively more inclined to hire a "home talent".

You could also scour the classifieds or apply directly to firms for an intern position even as you're looking for something more long term.

"It's a great way to get your foot in the door, get some great on-the-job training. There is a possibility of being taken on for a permanent position after the internship ends as you may have already proven your worth and potential," says Mr Mead.

Above all - stay resolute in your pursuit and keep your options open. More often than not, the break could come from a place you least expect.