There have been quite a fair number of complaints from graduates over not making the ‘cut’ for employment after attending numerous job interviews. Extreme opinion includes graduates being ‘fussy’ of taking up offers, or labeled as demanding.
Most of the time, employers’ point of views are sought and very much publicized in news over this topic. Top 5 reasons given by employers:-
- Lack of English proficiency among graduates
- Inadequate of communication and soft skills
- Insufficient industry knowledge
- Inability to sell or market one-self effectively
- Poor understanding of job expectation (roles and responsibilities)
In this first part, let us further examine three of the reasons and perhaps shed some lights over options (TIPS) available for graduates to improve themselves:-
Reason 1: Lack of English proficiency
Malaysian education system introduces English as second language as early as the first year of primary school. By the end of formal school (primary and secondary) levels, all of us should already have learnt the language for at least 11 years. In addition to this basic 11 years of English language education, almost all colleges’ and universities’ courses offered are taught in English. That would be another 4 years, making a total of 15 years of language education. Why is it an issue, then?
TIPS: Language proficiency is very important and affects performance directly. Proficiency can be measured by written or verbal competency. If the job requirement is focusing more on the writing section, chances are the English proficiency level expected from a candidate will be assessed from the ability of a candidate to read and write. Vice-versa, if the job function requires more verbal communication, then assessment will be based on the ability of candidate to speak in English. One should already know the level of proficiency, and use that information to seek for the right type of job. If you know that your English verbal skill is poor, trying out for sales position should be a big NO for you.
Reason 2: Inadequate communication and soft skills
Communication and other kind of soft skills are not formally taught in school or in universities. These skills requires on-going development, whereby exposure to and participation from students should be from non-classroom syllabus. Even if there formal classes for these soft skills subjects, knowledge taught are based only on theories. Skills are something that requires practice.
TIPS: Get exposed and involved, early. Extra-curricular activities and other type of outdoor activities are the best learning classes after all. Those who outshine peers are ‘labeled’ to have talents by those who seem to be ‘a bit reserved’ in nature. The fact is talent alone is nothing. These ‘outspoken’ people started to groom their skills earlier, usually upon realizing the talent they have. Soft skills such as people management or communication skills could be measured differently – most employers do not expect a candidate with exceptional competency of these skills, but they often look for potentials in addition to some fundamental competency. So, if your competency level of handling a project is only at ‘sole contributor’ level, make them aware of your potential to become a good team player!
Reason 3: Insufficient industry knowledge
With the exception of professionals career orientation (e.g. doctor, lawyer, engineer, accountant, etc.), most of us obtain our degree in a specialized functional area such as sales, management, operations, finance, etc. During the course of studies, many are lucky enough to learn about the various industries available. Unfortunately, since the course of study is short, in-depth industrial knowledge are not being fully taught in classes.
TIPS: Identify and understand clearly which industry one wish to seek opportunity with. Take note that functional areas does provide vast options for you to choose, in terms of career-entry. However, organizations are very much specific and will be inclined to supports its core business or operations. This is directly related to the industry or environment that organization participates. Do your homework before actually applying or going for the job interview. Basic knowledge about industrial news or products/services offered by the organization would help you to understand and set expectation of the nature of the job function works.
The remaining two reasons require deeper elaboration; which will later be shared in the next entry.
I hope the above information could be useful..especially for those who are still learning about themselves =D