With over 500,000 people in this country are unemployed, fresh graduates unquestionably left with no luxurious option to choose for their dream job. The statistic clearly a sign of reflection and a call for action, especially to those who are unemployed to shift their strategies – to be resilient and ready to stand out to compete among the best out there.
Although academic qualification is the mandatory requirement to access job interviews, this does not give any assurance nor guarantee to any unemployed candidates. Employers are vigorously looking for those with passion, having job experiences and those extra miles curricular activities that display diversity to ensure employers hire the best talent.
Unemployment Rate (Second Quarter of 2017)
At this moment of the year, Malaysia is at 3.4% of the unemployment rate. Other countries like Greece reached 21.7%, Spain still sits higher at 18.7%% meanwhile both of our neighbour countries like the Philippines with 5.7% and Indonesia with 5.3%.
According to Jobstreet.com.my, there are at least 3,052 fresh grads jobs in Malaysia whilst 25,295 jobs available via Jobstreet as of 1 July 2017.
So, how do we ‘topple’ 3.4% to a much lower rate? With our economy is recovering at most agile phase, more doors of opportunities open for us. Jobless candidates need to be on high alert to consider these opportunities. They need to be responsive.
A small poll had been conducted recently to see public respond in unemployment issue via Twitter:
— Muid Latif (@muidlatif) July 9, 2017
This has particularly gathered some useful data to understand the challenges and what we can do to strategize and improve our method to applying for a job.
Room for Improvement: 10 Tips to Enhance Your Job Opportunities
Here are the tips for your consideration. It can be a short term solution and it can be a long term. Here we go!
#1. Job experience matter. That is why you need to take an internship or part-time job to gather as many experiences so you can adapt the working culture in your respective industry. You don’t have to decline a job simply because of low salary. Few even apply for an unpaid internship because they wanted to learn and gain experience to improve their skills including those who join a non-profit organization as volunteers. Don’t be embarrassed to get a part time job. Everyone else done it before.
#2. Your CV/resume. CV needs to be comprehensive and clear. Most of the candidates tend to make a mistake by cheating their CV with inaccurate information and way too much information. Remember, employers always investigate and cross-check your background and past companies you worked or done an internship before. Disturbingly, some candidates self-evaluated their own skills and provide their own ratings. It’s time to make your CV clear and simple yet impactful and factual. It’s best to have a LinkedIn account to enable your acquaintances and colleagues to rate your skills fairly. This way, you can get the actual data and numbers to support your CV.
Stop ‘decorating’ your CV with a complicated design layout. You’re not Elle Woods or neither Chewbacca. CV is not a product brochure. Employers do not have the time to browse more than 6-7 second. Less ‘cosmetics’ and narrate your CV with a good flow of information. Avoid redundant information and keep it as comprehensive as possible. CV needs to be printer-friendly, so don’t waste ink and paper with heavy graphics. If you feel that your CV is good to go, it’s time to register and deposit your CV to your future employers.
#3. Skills. You have to earn these skills by learning through practice and courses, even classes! Don’t give financial difficulty and time in obtaining a knowledge. Some of us have extra self-conscious to gain more knowledge through learning. There’s a big gap in applying for jobs and one of the biggest problems is the language barrier. Candidates don’t meet one of the most important requirement because they can’t read, write and speak English. There’s literally hundreds of online course offer by OpenCulture, FutureLearn, edX, Class Central, AdobeTV and much more.
#4. Communication. In some candidate, their CV stated the level of their language as ‘fluent’ or ‘excellent’ however it does not reflect how the candidate would communicate with others in person. Too many times in internship or job interviews, the lack of oral communication contributed difficulty to understand the questions raised during the interview session. Try this simple communication quiz or this quiz (link will launch .pdf document). Time to start building a network and have a more frequent conversation with your friends or people around you. Read a book out loud so you can hear your pronunciation. Practice makes you more competent.
#5. Portfolio management. While witnessing candidate who came to job interview flaunting their academic transcript with CGPA of 3.5-4.0 and with a dean’s list award, some came to job interviews without the presence of a portfolio and depend solely on academic qualification. It’s embarrassing. Sort out your work (especially designers) by arranging in a category of work and pick only the best 5 to 10 of your all-time most viewed or favourite work. Post your work online in Behance so that your future employer can access and pre-evaluate your work better. A coffee table book of your portfolio would be EPIC if you have ample time and money to do one.
#6. A change of attitude. A bad attitude is the biggest challenge because it degrades change. Either being too extra confident, or low self-esteem which includes being reserved and shy, lack of confidence, indecisive and pride often gets in people way. I.e. Some with the fear of what our friends, neighbour or relatives think about our job simply to ignite an impression to earn respect. You work to earn a living, not to feed them. Find the balance. Change now or never, or you will be left out.
#7. Don’t be ridiculous with high salary expectation. There are more qualified candidates who’re ready to tone down their salary so they can get the job. Start your way up from the bottom. There are fresh graduates who have an enormous expectation with no working experiences out there who demand a five figure salary with a high ranking position but when your future employers access your qualification, they met with NONE of the basic standards. Don’t put yourself too high above everyone else.
#8. Appearance. This is the part where some candidates take less into account in applying for job interviews. Most of the time, appearance matters to employers especially those who are applying for a position that places them as front-liners or who represent the company’s brand, sales and marketing. No employers would hire a sloppy and an unmannered candidate. We must be able to stay fit and healthy. It cost no penny to run around the park with a bottle of one drinking water for short run on a weekly basis. So, what’s the harm of trying to be smart, fitter and smell extra nice for just one day?
#9. Be prepared. If you want to apply for a job, you need to know the industry at the back of your head. You need to know who’s the top guns or the big players, who are the competitors and how is it compared from our country to other regions. If you’re applying for a position in an advertising company, for example, you should at least know top ten creative agencies who nailed big accounts. Read the news about the trending success of the company you like to apply or the related industry, browse through their annual report or least get to know the nature of their business through people around you. Don’t be too ignorant, it will chase your opportunity away. And please show up extra early. Being stuck in stand-still traffic is an ancient excuse.
#10. Go visit a career fair and attend career talks/workshops. There are many admission-free career fair and seminars around town. You just have to keep your eyes and ears open to not miss it.
Whilst this country produce such great talents, there are more opportunities await for them to rise from the occasion. Having an optimistic mind, an attitude to thrive and positive-thinking will shape a greater perspective in us to enable progression.
Don’t look for the next opportunity, the one you have in hand is the opportunity – Paul Arden.
I personally offer advice and tips on a pro-bono basis to those who needed some direction in improving their CVs. I’ve done it in the past. Please drop an email to me or you can DM over my Twitter account.