tephen Covey said in his best-seller book, The 7 Habitsof Highly Effective People, the first rule of personal achieve-ment is being proactive. Indeed, in seeking the right careerpath, a proactive attitude is a must because there are thou-sands of hungry graduates, like you, seeking for jobs in themarket. According to the Department of Statistics Malaysia,there are 360,900 unemployed individuals roaming the streetswith the classifieds in their hands.Competition for jobs does not come from the unemployedalone, but also from the 11 million other people that alreadyhave jobs! They change jobs for various reasons and they havean upper hand: job experience. Fresh graduates like us mustequip ourselves to face this reality.The
now is to beat the competition by having extraqualities that catch the eye of your future employers. Firstly,understand that academic competence is most important.Although we talk much about soft skills nowadays, one’sacademic performance still remains the main indicator of excellence. Understand this fact and start striving to improveyour grades.Only after fulfilling that first requirement can we then look intoother opportunities to add value to our abilities. Imagine theseextra qualities as extra toppings on an ice cream which makesit look and taste more delicious compared to the thousands of other ice creams on sale. The key to mastering these extravirtues is to start early. Have a clear vision of what you want tobe and start mastering the relevant skills along the way.The most obvious opportunity is during extended academicsessions; extended here means “non-lecture activities” designed in your academic course to increase learning andunderstanding such as laboratory sessions, field trips, projectsand industrial internships. Do not take these things lightly; all of them will add to your technical competency.
Why is technical competency important?
The first few years of your career after graduation will mostlikely be related to your degree. Thus, it is utterly important foryou to do things right because you are expected to do so afteryears of studying. The industry is, after all, all about applicationof the fundamental knowledge that you have learnt and hence,competency in technical matters is exceedingly important. Onlywhen you are able to apply your knowledge, do you become ahighly prized skilled employee.So make sure you master all the concepts, tools and handlingof equipments in the laboratories, record your knowledge fromfield trips, be vigilant in completing your projects and learn asmuch as possible during internship.The second priority for employee-recruiting companies isleadership which comprises time management, discipline,communication skill and managerial capabilities. A leader musthave good time management and discipline to show a goodexample and credibility in handling subordinates. He must alsobe able to manage and delegate tasks through strongcommunication with his people. The best way to learn all of these qualities at once is by joining extracurricular activities inclubs, societies and events.
How can extracurricular activities help?
You are a leader regardless of what position you are placed in.You are a leader now and soon enough you will climb to biggerresponsibilities. You have objectives to achieve and plans toexecute. Thus, you need discipline to manage your time, youneed to communicate with various people to get your job doneand you have to learn to manage things so that your work moves smoothly. So when you take up responsibility in theseactivities, you are building the leader in you. This is thelearning process.In the real working environment, your ability to be a leader iswhat makes you survive and get promoted. We are fortunatebecause we have events and clubs that offer plenty of leadership opportunities for you to experience. Grab thischance and diversify in your choice in responsibility for one willnever know what nature of job one will encounter in hisworking life. Give extra emphasis on communicating in Englishbecause a good command of this language is always an addedadvantage.Lastly, oddly enough, people are being hired because of theirauxiliary skills such as computer knowhow, writing talent,photography handiness, sports inclination and even singingability! Although some might argue that this is the smallestcontributing factor, but as long as you can score extra pointsabove the rest, why not. Most of the time, a company has itsown work culture, for example having a family day. Workersspend time together at bowling and karaoke. If you are goodat both, wouldn’t it be an attractive point for the employers tohire you?Recall what the trick is again. We must beat the competitionand only a few added advantages can be the differencebetween the winner and the loser. The auxiliary skills arerelated to your interest or even if you don’t like it, just give it atry. At least you can include them in your resume, that youhave done this and that. Who cares for the reason you gothired, as long as you secure the job, you win!Start from today and identify what equipping skills you want toacquire for the vision of your career. We have identified threeskills; technical, leadership and auxiliary skills that will prepareyou to get a job and survive. Learn them now or risk losing outto others later. Nonetheless, you can always create your ownjob and leave the career seeking competition altogether. Beingan innovator or an entrepreneur might be your goldmine.However, acquiring these three skills at the university will helpyou in those careers too!
T h e I n s p i r e r | F e b r u a r y 2 0 1 1
By : Mohd Ashraf bin Nor Azrol(PE, 3rd Year 1st Semester)