Tips on how to get the attention of headhunters if you want to get a better job

Tips on how to get the attention of headhunters if you want to get a better job
Photo: alexskopje /

A Talent Shortage Survey conducted by ManpowerGroup last year showed that 38 per cent of employers globally had difficulty filling positions last year. The main reasons were due to an inadequate number of applicants, as well as job seekers who were lacking in technical competen- cies or hard skills, experience, and workplace competencies, or soft skills.

Increase your odds of being headhunted with these handy tips.

Headhunters recruit on behalf of companies. Ms Lynne Roeder, the managing director of Hays Singapore, said headhunters often seek qualities desired by an employer, such as a strong track record of achievements, stability in a job, and a good professional network.

She said: “Headhunters seek out high-performing professionals who are often happy with their current roles to discuss a vacancy in which their skills and experi- ence are considered a good or better match. They often establish long-term relationships with job seekers, and add value by approaching professionals with suitable opportunities as they progress in their careers.”

Ms Roeder added that candidates approached often have relevant experience and do not mind keeping their options open. Maintaining long-term relation- ships with recruiters allows them to be aware of suitable opportunities in the future when they are ready to move on.

Read Also: Three successful mums on how they maintain work-life balance​

Be the ideal candidate in person and on paper. CVs that are clear, concise and accessible will catch the attention of headhunters.

Ms Roeder said: “Your CV allows you to get your foot in the door so you can proceed to the next step of the selection process. Distinguish your CV from others by putting together a personal statement, and providing facts and figures illustrating achievements relevant to the role you are applying for.”

Have you conceived groundbreaking ideas that were applied to push frontiers or revamp business models? If so, update your CV and include details of these highly valued skills and achievements. 

Be visible and well known in your industry to raise your profile. Ms Roeder recommends making sure you have an attractive brand and respected name by being good at your profession, and getting your name out there. For instance, you could write regular columns for industry journals and trade publications, build your network, and be proactive in making contact with recruiters.

Ms Roeder said: “Networking certainly does help. Attend forums and seminars regularly to be visible. While such events are designed to help you build your industry knowledge and networks, recruitment specialists often participate in such events, which means these are good opportunities to meet them.” 

Be prepared to spend time and effort on this. It takes years to build meaningful relationships so you can make use of your contacts to reach the next stage of your career, speed up your problem-solving and decision-making abilities, and brainstorm for ideas.

Read Also: 9 tips for better work-life balance​

1. Do not be too quick to reject the offer. Assess it and gain a thorough understanding of the role and company. Find out more about how the company is performing, the internal job progression pathways and working culture.

2. Being headhunted does not mean that you automatically get the job. You could be one of the few candidates up for consideration. If you are keen on the offer, demonstrate that you are indeed an ideal candidate.

3. Do some research on the headhunting firm. Is the company an established name in the industry? Is it genuinely interested in you as a potential candidate for a specific position, or merely scouring the market for candidates to fill its general databases?

This article was first published in The Straits Times Classified. Download The Straits Times Classified app available free at the Apple App or Google Play stores.

5 ways being mindful can reduce stress and anxiety



Chances are you’re on your way or you’ve just returned home from work. You’re squashed on the MRT or a bus, or getting into your role of ‘mum’ or ‘wife’ or both, and trying desperately to disconnect your head from ‘work-brain’ to ‘home-brain’. Most likely you’re scrolling your phone (and finding us – hiya!), deciding whether you’re hungry, or planning what the night ahead will bring. But hang on…your thoughts just keep getting interrupted, until they’re racing around all over the place and making no sense at all.

The phrase ‘mindfulness’ has been knocking around for a while, but what was viewed ten years ago as hocus-pocus sprouted from the mouths of linen-wearing nut munchers, is today becoming an integral and essential part of people’s lives.

The likes of Goldman Sachs, The Bank of America and Google have introduced programmes to help staff cope with pressure, and Mindfulness Trainer and Founder of Singapore’s Brahm Centre located at the Ren Ci Community Hospital, Angie Chew, reveals that she regularly conducts mindfulness courses and corporate seminars with large local companies on how mindfulness can combat the stress and anxieties our modern world dishes out. She will even be launching courses on Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) later this year.

But what exactly is Mindfulness?

“It’s about paying more attention to the present moment and to your own thoughts and feelings, and knowing how to discharge negative emotions. Mindfulness helps us to understand ourselves better, reduce worrying and lead a calmer existence,” explains Angie, who has been practicing for 15 years. “With modern technology it’s easy to stop noticing what’s actually happening in the world around us. Being mindful helps to improve our mental and physical wellbeing as they are linked.”

Here are 5 core values you must have before you can start to on a slower, happier, mindfulness path:


We don’t mean wanting to know everything about everything. But before you can even try to  lower the stress and anxiety in your life you’ve got to be aware of the world and want to question it. Why is something making you tense. What's the cause of your heart pounding? You can’t live in ‘the now’ without being inquisitive about it.


This is where you have to be willing to be kind to yourself and your mind. "If you feel your breathing quicken, your temperature rising and your mind spinning, recognise what is happening and just stop and breathe. Don't beat yourself up for not being able to control your emotions, let them fall away naturally by not focusing on them."


If you are on edge and jittery, trying to ignore it and continuing to battle through as if everything is ‘fine thank you very much’ will ultimately result in burnout. There is no shame in how you feel, and with 55 percent of Singaporean business managers and owners admitting that even they suffer from everyday challenges, you are certainly not alone. “ Accept what you can't change so you're not struggling with negative outcomes which will propel you to feel even more frustrated. Accept diversity, and that people's opnions don't have to agree with yours. Take yourself for who you are – say "I am god enough!". 


If someone or something is fuelling your stress, before you start getting angry at the moment or the person, have the strength to see the situation from an alternative point of view before you continue. If you’re running late for work because the Kopi O seller is being slower than usual, reign your anxiety in. Maybe he was ill in the night and isn’t working to optimum performance? If your boss berates you for something small, hold back on being defensive. Perhaps they have out-of-work pressures you’re unaware of. When you judge someone without fact, you’re letting negative emotions build up from nothing.


If you’re thinking about the past, you’re re-living moments that can’t be changed. If you’re working out the future, your energy is being dedicated to situations out of your control. “The only way to live your life free of stress and anxiety is by being present in the here and now, because you are only in charge of this very moment” says Angie. “We can then outsmart these negative emotions when we are present enough to acknowledge them. When we recognise they're coming from our negative rumination, you can de-stress yourself by simply refocusing your mind on positive thoughts”

For further information and for details on courses log onto

5 clever ways you never thought of to regain your me time

Vanessa Tan, motivational speaker and founder of life coaching company, Vanessaism Inc, shares her tips on how you can cut down on the time you spend on these activities, to carve out more personal time.

We asked you... What do you spend most of your time doing, outside of work?

1 68% Grocery shopping
Solution: Don’t browse aimlessly. Browsing is the culprit that eats into your time, says Vanessa. A good two hours, too, our reader poll revealed. Cutting down on this makes you a more efficient shopper.

“As a working mother myself, I find it useful to plan the family’s dinner menu from Monday to Friday. I visit the supermarket every Sunday and only pick up what I need for the menu,” she says. Making a detailed groceries list also keeps you focused so you buy only what you need.

2 50% Household chores or ferrying the kids around
Solution: (Household chores) Let go of some things. Accept that you can’t do everything. “Women want to take care of everything on our own,” says Vanessa. “Learn to relinquish control and delegate duties. And acknowledge that it is okay not to do chores every day.”

Solution: (Ferrying children to activities) Share the duties. “If you’re always the one taking your children to and from their activities, get your husband to take over for just one weekend in a month,” suggests Vanessa. This gives you a few hours to unwind and catch up on your own activities.

It also helps to establish a good support network between you and your husband – so you can enjoy your me-time without mummy guilt.

3 39% Family obligations
Solution: Focus on quality time. Weekly visits to parents and in- laws, and family gatherings, can take up a lot of time, especially when you have other errands. Vanessa advises that the best way to manage your time is to limit your visiting hours.

“Stick to a two- or three-hour time frame and focus on quality time – no mobile phones, iPads or other distractions. Your family members will appreciate that you’re making an effort to be present in the moment and spending a meaningful part of your day with them,” says Vanessa.

4 36% Kids’ homework
Solution: Set a time limit. While your kids may have tuition, the tutor won’t be around every day to oversee their work. On days where you have to step in, don’t sit with your child for hours at a time. It can be tiring and frustrating – for you and Junior.

Vanessa proposes: “Agree on a fixed amount of time that you’re going to spend teaching your child, then take shifts with your husband – maybe an hour each for a two- hour stretch.” This will reduce the amount of stress on yourself and your child, and also cut down on your overall time spent.

5 29% Preparing for the next day
Solution: Draw up schedules and lists. Packing school bags, making lunch, preparing outfits, etc. Vanessa suggests creating a systematic weekly family roster. “For instance, if staff meetings are held every Monday morning, keep that in mind when picking out your outfit or your husband’s. You’ll cut down on the time needed to choose outfits the night before.”

Make a list for your kids to use when they pack their schoolbags. Then check to see if they’ve followed the list, instead of doing it for them. This helps them learn to be independent. In time, you’ll be able to trust them to do it themselves.

This article was originally published in Simply Her October 2012.

12 common fertility myths – busted

Myth 1: Eating certain foods can determine whether I have a boy, a girl, or twins.
Some people believe that you should consume yams if you want to have twins, a lot of veggies if you want a girl, and more potatoes and bananas if you want a boy.

None of this is true, says Dr Seng Shay Way, specialist in obstetrics and gynaecology at Raffles Fertility Centre. “It’s an old wives’ tale that foods high in calcium and magnesium will lead to the conception of a girl, and that foods rich in potassium will lead to the conception of a boy. Nor is there any evidence to suggest that eating yams will give you twins.” If you are trying to fall pregnant, you should follow a healthy and well-balanced diet so that you don’t miss out on any important nutrients.

Myth 2: My husband’s health, weight, and drinking and lifestyle habits don’t affect our ability to have a baby.
Your husband’s health is important because it impacts the quality of his sperm, says Dr Ann Tan, obstetrician and gynaecologist at Women & Fetal Centre. His weight, overall health, diet, stress levels and lifestyle habits therefore influence your chances of having a baby.

Myth 3: Eating or abstaining from certain foods can improve my chances of conceiving.
You may have heard that drinking too much coffee is associated with infertility, but there is no evidence to confirm this link, says Dr Seng. “It’s generally considered safe to consume 200-300mg of caffeine daily while trying to conceive,” he points out.

Conversely, consuming antioxidant-rich foods will not help boost your fertility. “Free radicals, which are the waste products from your cells, may be toxic to eggs and sperm. As such, many women believe that a diet rich in antioxidants – which reduce the oxidative stress brought on by these free radicals – can improve fertility. However, evidence to support this is currently limited,” says Dr Seng.

Myth 4: Using lubricant during sex will not affect my chances of getting pregnant.
In general, lubricants might adversely affect the sperm, although there are special formulations that do not, says Dr Alex Doo, honorary consultant of Matilda International Hospital, and director of The IVF Clinic and The Women’s Clinic in Hong Kong. So read the label on the product carefully before using it.

Myth 5: Some of the women in my family had kids in their 40s – so I should be able to conceive in my 40s too.
No two women are the same in this aspect, so what worked for the other women in your family may not work for you. “Do not take your fertility for granted. Each one of us is created differently, so just because they had no difficulty conceiving in their 40s, does not mean that you will fall pregnant easily at that age, too,” says Dr Tan.

A woman’s fertility starts declining rapidly from the age of 37, so if you want to have a baby, your best bet is to start trying well before this age.

Myth 6: I conceived my first baby easily, so the next pregnancy should be a breeze.
This is not always true, says Dr Doo. You are older the second time around, so age might be a factor in whether or not you conceive. Other factors may also have changed since, or you may have just been lucky the first time around.

Myth 7: Lifting my legs up after having sex will help me to conceive.
It’s a common belief that this will encourage semen flow into your cervix. But there’s really no need for you to do anything at all. In fact, your best bet would be to lie still for a while, says Dr Tan.

“Simply staying in a horizontal position for about 30 minutes would allow the semen to pool in your cervix, and from here, the sperm are in a good position to make their way upwards,” she explains.

Myth 8: I should have sex on the 14th day of my menstrual cycle, which is when I ovulate.
While it is true that you should time intercourse around your ovulation to increase your chances of conceiving, fertility windows differ from woman to woman. “Not everyone has a 28-day cycle, so having sex on the 14th day of your cycle isn’t always optimal,” says Dr Seng. Typically, ovulation takes place about two weeks before your period, so if you have a 32-day cycle, you can expect to ovulate around day 18.

Myth 9: It takes a long time to get pregnant after stopping birth-control pills.
Not necessarily, says Dr Tan, as some women are immediately fer tile once they stop taking the Pill. Dr Doo agrees. “Research has shown that 50 per cent of women fall pregnant within the first three months of stopping the Pill, and most fall pregnant within a year.”

Myth 10: If my hubby has had a child in the past, he can’t be the reason we are infertile now.
“This is not always true, as male fertility changes over time,” says Dr Doo. “In fact, about one-third of fertility problems are due to male factors. A simple semen analysis would be able to determine if your husband has any fertility issues.”

Myth 11: I can raise my chances of being pregnant if I track my temperature.
Tracking your temperature can help define when you are ovulating and let you know when you are fer tile, but it isn’t foolproof and is quite difficult to do correctly, Dr Doo says. Ovulation prediction kits are easier to use and more accurate.

Myth 12: I should keep trying for at least a year before seeking fertility help.
According to Dr Doo, the medical definition of infertility is the failure to get pregnant within one year despite regular intercourse without contraception. However, if there are other known issues, such as ovulation problems or poor sperm quality, you should seek help as soon as possible. 

Furthermore, if you are older than 35, you should seek fertility help after six months of trying, and if you’re over 40, get help after trying for three months, as success is very much dependent on age.

“Getting checked for any problems early is always wise,” Dr Tan adds. “It may not mean that you require help. It could just be that you need reassurance and some pointers.”

This article was originally published in Simply Her October 2015.

10 secrets of happily married couples

1. Reconnect every day
Couples stop asking questions because they think they already know each other, when the fact is, people change. So spend some time every day talking about things other than your normal routine, like the way you did when you first met.

2. Work on your relationship
Pay attention to the details. Small gestures, like offering a back rub or baking his favourite dessert, can go a long way to keeping your relationship alive. Make it fun by planning and creating opportunities for laughter and enjoyment.

3. Listen
Make an effort to validate each other; listen with an open heart and mind, and empathise. This creates a sense that you are both on the same side and that you have each other’s backs.

4. Build intimacy
Prioritise emotional and physical intimacy – hug and check in with each other during the day. Express affection and appreciation often, and go out of your way to do something nice for each other.

5. Make time for sex
If you don't use it, you lose it. The less sex you have, the less inclined you are to establish an intimate connection. So even when things get busy, make sure to schedule time for sex, be it a date night or weekend getaway.

6. Have a sense of partnership
Show that you put the relationship first – whether that means checking with each other before making big purchases or plans with the extended family. Incorporate your partner’s wishes and needs rather than just doing what you want.

7. Fight fair
It’s ok to fight, but what matters is how you fight and resolve the conflict. Even if you disagree, do it in a way that nurtures mutual respect instead of hurting each other’s feelings. Don’t allow conflicts about one issue to affect other aspects of the relationship.

8. Reality check
The crazy infatuation you experience at the start of your romance doesn’t last forever. Falling in love and being in love are very different, so don't put pressure on yourselves to feel the fireworks everyday.

9. See the good
Over time, you might only notice all the things you want to change about your partner. Instead, seek out the things he does that you love – and celebrate that.

10. Don’t have an exit strategy
A perfect marriage is simply a union between two imperfect people who refuse to give up on each other. Happy couples are secure in the knowledge that they won’t quit on each other.

7 foods to eat for a healthy vagina

Tips provided by Dr Shirley Kwee, General Practitioner, Raffles Medical 

Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar helps to restore the acidic quality of the vaginal flora and fights off the toxins that cause infection. Besides consuming it, you can also try adding two to three cups of this natural anti-bacterial agent in your bath water. This will help to balance your vaginal pH level.

Cranberry juice
A common remedy used to treat urinary tract infection (UTI), cranberry juice is also useful in helping to maintain the pH level of the vaginal area, as it contains acid that helps to combat harmful bacteria.

Vitamin E
The major functions of Vitamin E are the protection and maintenance of cell membranes. It therefore not only helps to improve general skin condition, but can also help to prevent vaginal dryness. Examples of natural foods that contain vitamin E are whole grains, nuts and seeds, green leafy vegetables and peaches.

Fruits and vegetables
You already know this – eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables goes a long way towards a healthy body, and this includes our intimate zone.

Yeast thrives in a more alkaline environment. Lemon is rich in vitamin C and is highly acidic, so it balances your vaginal pH level and allows good bacteria to grow.

Known to be rich in lactobacillus (probiotics), yogurt can help in maintaining the normal vaginal pH level. However, choose low-fat and unflavoured yogurt to avoid putting on extra pounds.

Stay well-hydrated for your body to function properly. Water helps in flushing excess bacteria from your urinary tract and vaginal opening. It also helps as natural lubrication and can result in a milder vaginal scent.

About three in four women will experience a yeast infection at some point in their lives. One potential cause, among others, is consuming too much sugar. This is because yeast uses sugar for energy. So curb your sugar cravings for optimal vaginal health.

Reprinted from Raffles Healthnews publication, Issue 01/2015, “7 foods everyone with a vagina should eat”, pp. 30-31. Copyright 2015, with permission from Raffles Medical Group.

Recipe: Gula melaka banana cupcake with brown butter glaze

CUPCAKE RECIPE Adapted from Cuisine Paradise ( COORDINATION Mia Chenyze PHOTOGRAPHY Darren Chang ART DIRECTION & STYLING Nikki Ho 

Makes 15

For the cupcake: 
160g wholemeal flour
1⁄4 tsp baking soda
1⁄2 tsp baking powder 
1/8 tsp salt
150g unsalted butter
100g + 2 tbsp gula melaka, shaved
3 eggs
1⁄2 tsp vanilla extract
175g bananas, roughly mashed

For the brown butter glaze:
0g unsalted butter
1 cup icing sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 to 3 tbsp whole milk 

1. Preheat the oven to 160 deg C. Mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt together in a bowl, and set aside.
2. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and 100g gula melaka until the mixture is light brown and the gula melaka has dissolved. Smear a little between your thumb and index finger to check for graininess.
3. Add eggs one at a time, then the vanilla extract. Mix in the flour. Stir in the bananas.
4. Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners and fill each cup to three-quarters full. Sprinkle the tops with the remaining 2 tbsp gula melaka.
5. Bake for 20min. Remove from oven and leave to cool.
6. To make the brown butter, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. It will foam and crackle. Once the crackling stops, keep cooking until it turns a dark golden brown. Don’t leave it unattended as it can become burnt in seconds. Pour the brown butter into a bowl to cool, leaving any burnt bits behind.
7. Mix the icing sugar, vanilla extract and 2 tbsp milk in a bowl. Add the brown butter and stir until smooth. If you like a thinner glaze, add 1 tbsp more milk. Spoon the glaze over each cupcake.

This article was first published in Simply Her September 2015.

REVIEW: LG CordZero 2-in-1 Vacuum Cleaner VS8400SCW



$599, from major electrical stores

This upright model with a stowaway handheld unit offers a comprehensive cleaning solution: Use the full-sized vacuum cleaner for regular floor work, then pop out the handheld unit to swoop in on hard-to-reach corners, shelves, or even mattresses.

The charging stand conveniently comes with an additional slot for the spare battery, which means you will always have a backup on standby. Each battery takes 41⁄2 hours to recharge fully, and the power lasts about 30 minutes.

With a streamlined body and a slight “ledge” at the back of the handle for a more comfortable grip, it’s a breeze to nudge around the house when used as an upright vacuum cleaner.

The anti-tangle brush head swivels 180 degrees, which comes in handy for awkward corners, but the bulbous head may not fit under some furniture. Compared with a regular vacuum cleaner, it took one or two more swipes to pick up large particles like cookie chunks.

The cordless concept is truly liberating, as I am no longer a slave to cables that get caught around table legs and jutting corners, nor do I have to worry about looking for power sockets. The handheld unit is light and easy to use too. Its D-shaped handle is easy on the hand. It had rather strong suction and picked up both fine dust and crumbs well.

Cleans equally well as an upright and as a handheld machine. 

This article was first published in Simply Her September 2015.

3 traditional Singapore kueh recipes

COORDINATION Cheryl Leong PHOTOGRAPHY Frenchescar Lim ART DIRECTION & STYLING Nikki Ho OLD SCHOOL DELIGHTS 215M Upper Thomson Road(6458-4518) DONG PO COLONIAL CAFE 56 Kandahar Street (6298-1318) TIONG BAHRU GALICIER PASTRY #01-13, Blk 55 Tiong Bahru Road (6324-1686)

Makes about 20 pieces

By Tan Yong Siang, chef-owner of Tiong Bahru Galicier Pastry

100g glutinous rice flour
100g tapioca flour
1 tbsp pandan juice (see box story)
500g sweet potatoes, steamed
50g palm sugar (gula melaka)*, chopped into small chunks
8 pandan leaves
2 cups grated coconut

Make Pandan Juice
Rinse, then finely slice a handful of pandan leaves. Place in a blender and add water to about halfway up the leaves. Whizz until you get a fine paste. Add more water if the blades get stuck. Pass the paste through a sieve to extract the juice; discard the pulp. Use what you need and freeze the extra in ice-cube trays.

1. Combine the flours, pandan juice and sweet potatoes in a mixing bowl, and knead until a smooth dough forms.
2. Pinch a small amount of dough, and roll it in your palms to form a ball.
3. Make a dent in the centre of the dough, and place a piece of palm sugar in it. Pinch the dough to close it, and roll it to form a smooth ball.
4. Bring a pot of water to the boil. Add the pandan leaves, then the dough balls. When they float to the surface, drain, then transfer the balls into a pot of cool water.
5. Drain, then roll in grated coconut to coat evenly.

*Available at wet markets and Fairprice supermarkets.

Makes about 20 pieces

By Tan Yong Siang

500g tapioca, grated
250g sugar
50g butter, softened
2 eggs, beaten
300ml coconut milk
100ml warm water
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp tapioca flour
100g grated coconut
½ tsp yellow food colouring

1. Preheat the oven to 180 deg C.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the tapioca, sugar, butter and eggs, and mix well.
3. Add the coconut milk, water, vanilla essence, tapioca flour, grated coconut and food colouring, and mix evenly.
4. Transfer to a baking tin and bake for 45min. Cool the kueh to room temperature and serve. If you prefer it slightly browned around the edges, pan-fry lightly over low heat.

Makes about 20 pieces

By Lim Swee Chu

1.2 litres water
230g palm sugar (gula melaka)
60g sugar
5 pandan leaves
110g plain flour
170g tapioca flour
2 tbsp food-grade lye water*
1 coconut, husk removed, grated and steamed with a pinch of salt for 5min

*Available at Phoon Huat and Kitchen Capers at #01-531F, Blk 71 Kallang Bahru, tel: 6392-0159.

1. Combine 590ml water, palm sugar, sugar and pandan leaves in a pot and bring to the boil. Cook until the palm sugar and sugar dissolve. Set aside.
2. In another pot, combine the remaining water with the flours and mix well.
3. Combine the two mixtures, and strain. Stir in the lye water, and cook until the mixture thickens.
4. Pour into a tray, and steam for 25min.
5. Remove the kueh from the tray, cut into bite-sized pieces and coat with the grated coconut.

This article was first published in Simply Her August 2015.