Archive for the ‘Careers’ Category

Job hunting horrors: Eight real jobseeker phobias and their remedies

Sunday, July 7th, 2019

It doesn’t matter if you’re a fresh graduate or a seasoned professional – we all have job hunting phobias that we dread every time we embark on a new job search. Having gone through it before doesn’t necessarily make it easier the next time, as each hirer is different and tends to adopt varied approaches towards the recruitment process.

Here are eight job hunting phobias, plus our recommended tips on getting over them:

1. Believing you’re not qualified for anything

Feel like you’ll never measure up to hirers’ standards? Looking through the thousands of job openings  out there, it is impossible that you won’t find anything that matches your skills and experience and yet feeling inadequate is a common fear for many jobseekers.

Overcome your self-doubt by carefully studying job descriptions and see whether you have what they need and want in a candidate.

Take stock of your past experiences and believe in your abilities to be a worthy choice for the role.

Did you find requirements that go beyond the scope of your experience? If you’re missing out on one or two job criteria, you can still push on and apply for the vacancy  – oftentimes part of growing in your career requires you to face new challenges head on. Just believe in yourself and your capabilities!

2. Finding a new job or employer that you’ll end up hating again

Those who left their jobs on a negative note may have this fear once they start looking for a job again.

It’s a legitimate concern as who wants to leave an unpleasant situation, only to end up in another unpleasant situation once again?

And yet there are ways for you to scope out potential job opportunities or employers for crucial information before you commit to anything.

You can read up on Company Reviews made by former and current employees before even sending out your applications. You can even ask your loved ones if they’re affiliated with your target companies for some info.

During the interview, ask probing questions on the company’s culture to see whether it’s a place you’ll fit and thrive in.

Have you already received a job offer? Be clear with your expectations and carefully examine the terms and requirements of the job so you don’t end up making another bad choice.

Next up, let’s look at the common phobias of jobseekers about a very important, but fear-inducing stage of the job search process: the job interview.

3. Having to role-play or present during an interview

Some companies have elaborate interview processes to identify the best and most competent candidates in the talent pool.

This can include complex assessment centres complete with role-playing exercises, psychometric testing, group presentations, as well as personal and aptitude tests. If you’re one of those with a role-playing phobia, we feel you.

If you get a heads-up that role-playing will be part of the assessment, you can practice with a friend to get comfortable with it.

It’s easy to look up common role-playing exercises based on the job you’re interviewing for.

Even if there’s no pre-warning that they will expect you to role-play, being prepared is always a good idea.

Think of it as a fun game, and an opportunity to flex that imaginative mind!

4. Being asked personal questions

This isn’t usually the norm – most hirers know better than to drill candidates on personal matters, but there’s always an exception to the rule.

It might just be your luck that you end up with an inquisitive interviewer who wants to know about your marital status, plans to start a family, sexuality, religious and political views, etc.

You can try to deflect the questions with neutral answers or simply change the topic by asking them a question of your own instead.

Hopefully the interviewer will get the hint that you’re not comfortable answering these questions and move on to work-related questions instead.

5.  Appearing clueless during the interview

It’s an awful feeling when the interviewer talks about a topic you’re not well-informed on and therefore can’t think of an intelligent comment to respond with.

For example, if the interviewer makes an observation about industry trends in specific countries or cultures that you’re not familiar with, you can respond by asking questions about it instead.

This shows your interest in learning more about it, even if you don’t have any personal opinions to contribute to the discussion.

6. Forgetting your spiel or crucial information during the interview

Stumbling over a job interview question can be pretty traumatizing, but it’s not the end of the world.

Nerves can leave feeling you tense and may even cause you to forget some of the things you rehearsed prior to the interview, so it’s best to be extra prepared ahead of time.

Do practice interview drills with a trusted friend before the interview, as well as review up on possible questions for your intended job or industry.

Already in the middle of the interview when you suddenly couldn’t come up with an answer? Relax, pause and gather your thoughts.

Calmly ask the interviewer to repeat the question so you can form a coherent answer.

Or you can own up to it and admit you’re feeling nervous – responsible hirers won’t take it against you if you do.

7. Committing a blooper during the interview

We’ve all been there. Whether it’s mispronouncing the CEO’s name or making a joke that fell completely flat, we’ve all been guilty of embarrassing faux pas during job interviews.

It happens – we are but human beings. Just stay calm, breathe, apologise, and move on.

Don’t harp on it as that just reminds the interviewer of your slip-up. Put it out of your mind for the moment.

You can berate yourself for it after the interview is over.

8. Accidental spills or mishaps on your interview attire

If you’re a woman and you’re on your period, you’ll know better than to wear anything light coloured on the day of the interview.

Stick to dark colours, especially for trousers or skirts. It will save you a lot of hassle and potential embarrassment!

If the interview is after lunch, it’s common sense not to eat anything messy for lunch, and you definitely don’t want to have any food or drink in the car with you.

To play it safe, wear a dark jacket.

You will be glad you did, in the event that someone accidentally trips and spills something on you.

Job hunting can be a scary process, but it’s all part of the experience.

Live and learn, as the saying goes. Whatever your job hunting phobias are, you can either take the opportunity to overcome them, or you can learn something about yourself through them.


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Industry-ready skills, technical knowledge for career progression

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2019
(File pix) Assistant engineer, Khairul Anuar Othman, 25 at New Hong Fatt, Klang. NSTP/Syarafiq Abd Samad

WHEN Khairul Anuar Othman, 25, sat the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examination eight years ago, he never imagined he would one day become an assistant engineer.

All the young man from Kampung Meru in Klang, Selangor wanted was to get a job as quickly as he could.

“I am someone who just can’t sit still with nothing to do. I knew that I just wanted to work after finishing school,” he said.

And coming from a humble background, the SMK Meru, Klang school-leaver was adamant that he earned his keep and contributed to the family.

The fifth of six children whose father was a Pos Malaysia employee and mother, a housewife, had heard about Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) at school during a talent recruitment initiative by New Hoong Fatt Holdings Bhd (NHF).

TVET encompasses formal and informal learning that prepares young people with the knowledge and skills required in the world of work.

NHF manufactures more than 3,300 automotive parts in-house and exports to more than 50 countries worldwide. It is located nearby Khairul’s school and it frequently conducts TVET awareness programmes at schools in the area to develop its talent pipeline.

With help from NHF, Khairul embarked on his TVET journey — working while attending various apprenticeship programmes — and is currently employed by the company.


Armed with a SPM certificate and guidance from NHF, Khairul applied and qualified for the Workers Technical Transformation Programme, an entry-level apprenticeship course.

Conducted by the Selangor Human Resource Development Centre (SHRDC) at its premises in Shah Alam, the six-month government-funded course comprises a learning approach that has both theoretical and technical aspects. Here, Khairul learnt the workings of pneumatic, hydraulics, electrical and mechanical systems which enabled him to obtain the Malaysian Skills Certificate Level 1 (Sijil Kemahiran Malaysia 1) and Level 2 (SKM 2).

With the qualifications and his SPM certificate, Khairul went to NHF for a job interview.

But instead of getting a job as a factory worker as he expected, Khairul was offered to join the NHF Auto Global Manufacturing Skill Programme which includes an opportunity to gain industrial qualification and experience in the manufacturing industry, preparing participants for a long-term career in the company.

“The programme comprises four months in the classroom and two months of practical training while earning a monthly salary at the company for two years. After discussing with my family, I felt that this was a great career opportunity for me,” added Khairul.

He started his career at NHF as a production operator with a starting pay of RM1,040, which he felt was a good remuneration for a SPM school-leaver. After two years of work and project experience, he obtained SKM 3 certification with skills such as writing technical reports and was promoted to the post of junior technician and onto technician.

Khairul’s dedication to his job and his eagerness to learn subsequently qualified him to join the first batch of the Malaysian Meister Programme (MMP).

Adapted from the German Meister (master craftsman) programme, MMP is a collaborative effort between SHRDC and the Federation of Malaysian Skills Development Centre aimed at improving opportunities for training and career advancement in the industry. SHRDC and NHF have been partnering on the MMP since 2015.

A two-year programme, there are two types of MMP — MMP in Mechatronics for Manufacturing which Khairul participated in, and MMP in Precision Machining. Both offer full-time employment with NHF, with in-training and industry-related training. The programmes offer career prospects as senior technician, technologist and associate engineer.

MMP instructors are highly qualified as they are trained by HWK Aachen, a leading vocational training centre in Germany.

During MMP, participants work on the shopfloor for four days and attend classes for two days. The students are guided closely with hands-on learning when working in the facilities, which exposes them to real-world work experience.

“Every week, the 16 of us in the first batch worked from Monday till Thursday while on Friday and Saturday, we spent in class. It was tough juggling work and studies as well as life outside work but well worth the knowledge and skills we acquired,” said Khairul.

Upon completing the programme, he was awarded the Diploma Lanjutan Kemahiran Malaysia Level 5 certification. He was also promoted to assistant engineer at the laser department in NHF.

“When I was informed of the promotion, I was truly surprised. I always felt inferior to school friends who have gone on for studies at renowned universities in Malaysia and obtained diplomas and degrees.

“I never imagined I could get the position that required qualifications equivalent to theirs.

“Now I realise that success does not solely depend on obtaining a certificate, it also requires effort and fortitude.”

NHF managing director Chin Jit Sin said the manufacturing facility’s laser section has computer numerical control machines from Germany as well as robot lasers. The equipment is increasingly becoming more sophisticated in tandem with Industry 4.0 trends.

“As technology advances, we need people to know how to manage the progress. They must also know the machines — how to operate, maintain and maximise their efficiency.

“MMP has enabled the participants to further enhance their knowledge not only in class but also on the shopfloor,” said Chin, adding that all 16 participants from the first batch are employed by NHF.

Khairul is an example of the quality of the MMP programme. He programmes the machines and manages production.

The second batch of MMP participants sat the final exam in May and the third batch that started in February 2018 has one more year to go before completing the programme.


Chin said finding and retaining skilled talent are common issues faced by most Malaysian manufacturers.

“Specialised skillsets make some positions in the manufacturing industry hard to fill. The perception that a career in manufacturing is not professionally and financially rewarding makes it even harder for manufacturers to recruit talent. This is one of the many reasons why manufacturers in the country depend highly on foreign workers.

“NHF has been pro-actively managing these issues by collaborating with training development providers and has introduced its own apprenticeship programme to ensure it has the right and skilled labour force for the group of companies to grow,” he said.

Meanwhile SHRDC executive director Tan Beng Teong commented that the progress and the needs of the industry have typically outpaced the talent development by public higher education institutions.

“Simply put, there will always be gaps the between needs of the industry and the output from public institutions. It is not because public institutions are not good, but it is hard to keep pace with advancement in technology and other demands that the industry is facing.

“Demand-driven TVET education created through centres such as ours — which is a partnership between the federal government, state government and the industry — can help alleviate the issue of talent gaps in trainees that come from public institutions.

“This way, our investors can keep on investing and not worry about talent needs of the industry. And youths can acquire the necessary skills to gain employment and have careers that are financially rewarding,” he said.

Going beyond MMP, SHRDC is in the midst of developing an apprenticeship programme that will enable participants to gain degree-level qualifications, specifically a Bachelor of Technology degree with Industry 4.0 capabilities.

“It will be a two-year programme and we hope to test the first batch at the end of the year or early next year,” added Tan.

Also on the cards is tri-vocational training for polytechnic students to work with the industry, assisted by SHRDC, during semester breaks. Students will get a college education and workplace and industry competency certification upon completing their studies.

“We want to test this model going forward but in specific industries where it is more suitable.”

Since its inception in 1992, SHRDC has trained more than 80,000 individuals. It has 30 institutional members in Malaysia, including NHF, Colgate-Palmolive, Texas Instruments and the Malaysian Investment Development Authority.

Improve your presentation skills to ace a presentation like a pro

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2019

When you watch TED Talks or any public speaking event, do you ever wonder how the speaker can make it seem so easy? Speaking confidently and persuasively in front of an audience isn’t something that comes naturally for most people. However, it is a skill that can be picked up with enough practice.

Whether you’re simply presenting to fellow colleagues or have to impress some prospective clients, knowing how to pull off a great presentation is an important soft skill to have, particularly if you’re planning on moving up the ranks.

So if you’re in need of some tips on how to improve your presentation skills, look no further. Check these out:

Know your audience

Design your presentation as if you were a member of the audience – put yourself in their shoes and ask yourself what are the three main takeaways you would want them to have by the end of your presentation. Your slides should go straight to the point and not be cluttered with too many words or images.

Make sure that you cover the things that they need to know and would want to know.

You may be an expert in the subject matter, but in your presentation, don’t assume that everyone knows what you know.

Explain things clearly and simply, and avoid using jargon as much as possible. Your presentation should give listeners something of value, be it a solution or a lesson.

Tell it in story form

The best way to keep your presentation engaging is to use stories to hone in on your key messages or to emphasise your point.

Tell an anecdote or two to make your presentation more personal and relatable – it doesn’t even have to be your own story, but as long as it’s interesting and relevant, use it to your advantage.

Go beyond text and pictures by using a short video or other multimedia to spice things up.

However, it should enhance what you’re trying to say, not drown it out unnecessarily.

You should also tailor your content to your audience and the occasion: we’d advise against using funny GIFs or memes in a board meeting (unless your company culture is cool with that and it helps to break the ice a bit – but do so at your own discretion).

Present with your entire body

Statues and robots aren’t known for giving memorable presentations, and that’s because non-verbal cues make up a significant portion of interpersonal communication.

So make sure you’re moving about! But not too much – keep it natural.

Open and relaxed gestures will help your audience feel open and relaxed, too.

One of the best ways to make a connection with listeners is to make eye contact and smile.

Avoid crossing your arms across your chest, putting your hands behind your back or in your pockets, and staring down at the floor.

Use your emotions

Emotions are a powerful thing: facts and statistics may be informative, but if you fail to link them to your audience and the things they care about, they will probably forget what you said by the next day.

Infuse your delivery with emotion and why your audience should care.

When you exude enthusiasm and passion about the subject you’re talking about, your audience will feel it and they too will feel more interested in what you have to say.

Speak deliberately and don’t rush your sentences like you’re reading off a script. Instead, pretend like it’s a conversation.

Practice, practice, practice

You should know your subject matter and key points like the back of your hand, which is why prep work is so important.

Prepare an outline with keywords relating to your main points and examples, and rehearse your speech out loud – either to yourself in front of a mirror, or even better, in front of trusted friends or co-workers.

The more you practice, the more prepared you’ll be when the time comes for the actual presentation.

You’ll be able to weed out what works and what doesn’t, and time yourself to make sure you don’t drone on and on.

Set it up properly

Having technical difficulties during your presentation can throw you off, so smoothing out all the kinks beforehand will ensure that everything goes smoothly.

We recommend that you arrive at the venue early and do a brief test run to check whether everything works, such as videos, animations or sound.

Save a copy of the fonts you used and the multimedia you want to show in a pendrive, along with your presentation.

Do you need the internet during the presentation? Make sure it works and that you’re connected.

If you’re using a remote or a pointer, try them out to see if they work.

Doing all this will help you avoid tripping up just as you’re approaching the finishing line. – Jobstreet

by  Jobstreet.

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Maternity and paternity leave: It’s more than just profit and loss

Monday, June 24th, 2019

Fatherhood and motherhood are not mutually exclusive activities from employment. Many talented mothers and fathers are willing to contribute to organisations that provide a work-life balance. — NSTP Archive

THE Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) has stated that the three-day paternity leave proposed by the Human Resources Ministry, to be funded by employers, will cost companies RM157.2 million or RM 52.4 million a day.

MEF executive director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan has suggested for the cost of such leave to be borne by the Social Security Organisation (Socso) or the Employment Insurance System (EIS).

While the approach is used in other countries, the question is whether Socso or EIS has enough funds to undertake the task.

Could MEF enlighten the public on the methodology it used to calculate the losses?

There has not been an increase in Socso contribution over the years. It is vital for the government, employers and unions to review the feasibility of using Socso and EIS to finance paternity and maternity leave, and whether contributions should be increased.

The fundamental questions are, why is there a need for a duration of paternity and maternity leave, and how is it related to modern employment?

Does allowing the father and mother to bond with their baby create stronger families and lead to retention of talent and improved productivity?

Fatherhood and motherhood are not mutually exclusive activities from employment.

Many talented mothers and fathers are willing to contribute to organisations that provide a work-life balance.

Employers who want paternity or maternity leave to form a crucial part of talent pool and retain this talent must strengthen its human touch.

Productivity, in the long term, is about creating the right conditions for the development of human capital in terms of attracting diverse talents.

Attracting a variety of talent with diverse needs is crucial for organisational survival in a competitive economic environment.


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Preparing undergraduates for the workplace

Friday, June 21st, 2019
SEGi University engineering students undergoing training at one ofthe top notch engineering labs in the country.

ARE Malaysian graduates ready to face challenges at the workplace? Are they innovative and equipped with communication and problem-solving skills? Can they carry out tasks independently at the workplace?

Many fresh graduates are stunningly ill-prepared for the workforce, without realising it.

Industry players look for fresh recruits who possess critical thinking skills and breadth of knowledge that comes from understanding not only how to perform a given task, but the reasoning behind it.

But employers in the country generally feel there is a gap in graduate skills, suggesting that universities do not necessarily provide enough opportunities for students to develop abilities critical to the labour market.

Low proficiency in the English language and lack of soft skills including creativity, communication and critical thinking are among the reasons fresh graduates not ready to enter the workforce.

The recent STEM Forum, titled Graduates and Employment: Are They Ready from the Industry Perspective?, organised by Universiti Malaya STEM Centre, saw a group of panellists from the industry voicing their concerns that many Malaysian graduates are still unprepared to join the labour market.

ISSUES founder and chief executive officer Dr Ruzaimi Mat Rani said most Malaysian students are not ready to face challenges at the workplace, based on his experience with the graduates who attended his freehand visualisation communication skill (FVCS), creativity and innovation in organisation workshop.

FVCS is a programme formulated to cater to the needs of an individual and organisation to be more effective in daily communication skills.

The workshop attracted more than 3,000 participants but less than 10 per cent were able to draw with visualisation skills.

“It was easy when I asked them to draw a pot of flowers. But they were not able to draw their dream house,” added Ruzaimi.

But what is the link between FVCS and employability of graduates?

“FVCS is essential to be acquired by all to increase individual and organisation productivity. Without it, you are less effective in your daily communication.

“Imagine you’ve been hired but what’s next? You have to ‘create’,” he added, referring to the highest rank of Higher Order Thinking Skills, which is the fundamental skill.

The most common challenge graduates face is communication, especially during the job interview and at the workplace.

“About 75 per cent of project management fail because of communication. Graduates should be able to communicate well, which is a basic requirement at an interview. Communication skills are crucial when they enter the workforce.”

Strand Aerospace Malaysia principal consultant Dr Rahmat Shazi said he prepares human capital for high value industries, not just aerospace but also other sectors meant to be established or expanded in the country.

Last year after the company interviewed 700 graduates, not only from local universities but also from across the globe which included candidates from Russia, Indonesia and the United States, it came across multiple issues related to readiness to work.

“Most of our graduates can’t even visualise what they want to say, hence the failure to put the message across.

“This is due to lack of high cognitive skills such as attention, memory and logical reasoning,” said Rahmat.

Industry players believe that fresh graduates should first nail the job interview. It is important for employers to find out the strength and capabilities of the candidates before hiring them.

The job interview itself prepares them for the workplace.

BMW Quill Automobiles hiring manager Alex Tang Chee Keong said many Malaysian graduates are ready on paper, which means they only have good academic qualifications.

But the reality is, he added, many do not know anything about the industry.

“Graduates need to equip themselves with relevant knowledge. Ask yourself what you can contribute. That’s what employers want.

“For example, if I hire a fresh graduate, I expect him to at least be familiar with and understand the industry that he wants to join.

“However, many of them don’t do their research or visit the company website and learn its core brand value.

“I advise graduates to read to increase general knowledge. It doesn’t matter if it’s a book, a magazine or newspaper,” added Tang.

Consultant Hishamuddin Mohamed at Strategic Swiss Partners, a leading boutique management and financial advisory firm, said fresh graduates need to step up, especially if they are seeking a job in a multinational corporation.

“Bear in mind that you are among many job seekers applying for one position. So you have to make a good first impression, otherwise you’re going to be just another number.

“Graduates have their resumes but is the university preparing them for effective employment and better work opportunity?”

(From left) Panellists Ruzaimi Mat Rani, Rahmat Shazi, Alex Tang Chee Keong and Hishamuddin Mohamad. With them is moderator Professor Datuk Dr Noraini Idris from the National STEM Movement atthe STEM Forum, Graduates and Employment: AreThey Ready from the Industry Perspective? held at Universiti Malaya recently. Pic By ROHANIS SHUKRI.


Tertiary institutions today must be able to play multiple roles in preparing undergraduates for the future.

SEGi University vice-chancellor Professor Dr Patrick Kee Peng Kong said in view of Industry Revolution 4.0 (IR 4.0), the university continues to update its programmes and collaborate with industry leaders to ensure its academics and students are IR 4.0-ready.

“To produce industry-relevant graduates, we focus on a student-centred environment where students are provided with opportunities to interact and work with industry partners on their assignments and projects, and have access to advanced laboratories and workshops with essential tools to develop their skills.

“We also ensure that students gain exposure to the real-life work environment so that their transition into the industry is as seamless as possible through programmes such as Employment Readiness, Enrichment and Aspiring Club Leadership and Personal Professional Development. They also hone their soft skills via hands-on courses,” added Kee.

Taylor’s University deputy vice-chancellor and chief academic officer Professor Dr Pradeep Nair believes that higher education goes beyond just ensuring that graduates are industry-ready.

He said the core responsibility of a university is to ensure graduates are equipped with the right job skills to start their career, however, more importantly, the institution needs to equip them with life skills and emotional well-being to lead a successful and happy life.

“Being very good in one’s job-related knowledge and skills without life skills and social intelligence is the reason companies keep saying that graduates aren’t prepared for the workforce.

“For example, an aeronautical engineer may know everything about designing and maintaining an aircraft or its propulsion systems, but it will be his communication skills, creativity, resilience, ability to work with diverse teams, agility in adapting to different situations and cultural contexts, and take risks, among other qualities that will help him secure a good job and grow in the organisation,” added Pradeep.


Is the curriculum at the university ready for IR 4.0?

Kee said universities globally have moved away from textbook- and classroom-based learning into a blended environment, with trends pointing towards research- and project-centric approaches.

Programmes have become industry-driven and flexible, forcing tertiary institutions to constantly review their courses, curricula and methodologies.

“As industries worldwide are facing a digital economy disruption, the education industry is in a prime position to make a difference by shifting its focus and approaches.

“The government is well aware of this scenario, which is why the Malaysia Education Blueprint (2015-2025) places emphasis on flexible and skill-based learning and greater hands-on exposure.

“It is common practice for tertiary institutions to review and revise their curricula based on industry needs and practices, failing which they will be deemed irrelevant.

“After all, we are in the business of preparing human capital for various industries and it will defeat our purpose if we fail to revise, reinvent or innovate.

“However, it depends on the nature of the industry. With IR 4.0, we know that certain fields such as information technology, computing and engineering must be reviewed continuously while all other programmes, periodically.”

Deloitte’s Global Second Annual Report on IR 4.0 Readiness reveals that as the revolution gains momentum, there is a higher disparity in talent match.

C-suite executives who participated in the survey have raised concerns over the slow-paced evolution of the current education system.

“In fact, 57 per cent say the education system needs to be redesigned. While they were referring to the public education system, we believe private institutions also play an equally important role in producing industry-competent graduates, especially in growing economies like ours,” added Kee.

However, Pradeep said the university has to ensure that any major change in curriculum conforms to the Code of Practice for Programme Accreditation and programme standards issued by Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA) as well as the requirements set by professional bodies, where applicable.

“There is nothing stopping a university from innovating its programme curriculum and engaging with accreditation bodies to accept and allow such change,” he added.

Once Taylor’s University has obtained approval from MQA, it will introduce work-based learning opportunities as part of its curriculum from next year onwards.

“Currently, we have restructured three degree programmes to be offered in a work-based learning mode. This is really exciting as students will have the option to spend their third and final year in select companies of their choice.

“This is real world learning and will certainly help bridge the university-industry gap. Our students will not need to pay extra for this as it has been incorporated as part of their tuition fees.”


While a decision for a curriculum overhaul typically comes from the management, it needs to involve the academics at every step.

Pradeep said academics are inherently intellectuals and listen to data-driven arguments for change. Benchmarking top universities in the US and Australia, for example, helps convince them that this is possible.

“Engaging professional and accreditation bodies is also key as many approaches are not yet common practice in our country.

“Adopting technology in learning and teaching must be preceded by technology that works. We introduced blended learning to enable students to have a platform to learn on-the-go, to be mobile and flexible in their acquisition of knowledge.

“This allows them to develop life skills such as communication, critical thinking, emotional intelligence and flexibility. Our experience has been that industry players in Malaysia and Asia welcome our students to spend time learning with, and from, them — at no additional cost to the industry.

“Through this, our students are able to apply for internships with leading brands so they obtain valuable work experience that sets them apart from their peers. These work placement opportunities take some of our students overseas as well.”

By NST Education.

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Building digital presence to stand out and reach potential employers

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2019
File pix) Hiring is becoming smarter, making recruitment easier and more effective via online selection. Archive image for illustration purposes only.

TRYING to make yourself stand out in a sea of graduates looking for jobs is tricky. Over the past years, a candidate’s view on recruitment has changed rapidly, from passively looking for a position in newspapers to actively looking for jobs via the Internet.

Hiring is becoming smarter, making recruitment easier and more effective via online selection.

In the digital age, a LinkedIn profile can be a good way to find work experience and other opportunities alongside your studies.

It is a platform to build a positive online presence for yourself by establishing a digital presence, demonstrating what makes you standout and reaching out to potential employers.

It can be a key way to build up contacts while still at university.


Featured as the Youngest Most Inspirational LinkedIn Icon in Malaysia in 2018 and this year, Gholamali Shamskhoozani Alish is the man behind LinkedIn Local Kuala Lumpur (LLKL), a series of professional networking events held in Kuala Lumpur since 2017 alongside more than 1,000 cities in the world.

Better known as Alish, he said the aim of this movement is to connect in an ad-free genuine platform where hard selling, promotional talks, multi-level marketing, ads spamming and such are prohibited at #linkedInLocalKL events.

“Among social platforms, LinkedIn is the only platform that’s professional and employers do check it out for hiring purposes, making it the highest rated platform that is worth spending time on to build online presence.

“This is true even for students so they can connect with future employers or meet experts who can mentor them and guide them in various matters such as internship and referral letters.

“As LinkedIn is becoming more popular and used worldwide, it’s important for everyone including youths to utilise its power.

“Many employers do not ask for curriculum vitae anymore, they just require your LinkedIn URL.

That’s because there’s a lot more information in our LinkedIn account that cannot fit in to a two-page CV.

“The information includes insights that you share publicly, endorsements of your skills, recommendations and more. As such, without a LinkedIn profile, you cannot articulate as well as you can with it.

“In other words, don’t get left behind; use LinkedIn to build online presence and impress your future employer,” added Alish,head organiser and host of LLKL events.

In addition to options for employers to post jobs, many recruiters advertise vacancies on LinkedIn.

For example, the informal job advertisement could be something like “Guys, we’re recruiting for position X. If you’re interested or know anyone who is, comment below or message us”.

“This is even more effective than an online job portal because you deal with humans here, which means you can follow up with them or ask questions if any.

“The filtering process at some online job portals may not be accurate since candidates are judged based on basic info, without even a simple background on them.”

Having partnered with reputable brands such as IBM and Fave, LLKL has become one of the main platforms to “meet the people behind the profiles”, and get to know each other effectively for business collaborations, sharing sessions and discussions.

“Each event includes a panel discussion on different topics and panellists who can help you grow your business.”

Alish has been invited to universities in the country such as Heriot-Watt University, Taylor’s University, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) and Limkokwing University of Creative Technology to conduct youth-related workshops and talks for students.

The Syrian Community-UTM held the most recent workshop at the university last month. Titled Getting Spotted and Hired Through LinkedIn, the workshopcovered a basic introduction to LinkedIn as well as tips on establishing personal branding, creating professional content, building influence online and connecting with the right network on the platform.

Conducted by Alish, the first session of the work shop dealt with incorrect perceptions of LinkedIn and creating a strong profile from scratch.

“Some think it’s a job platform or they only need to create a profile when they graduate.

“The truth is, especially for students, it’s a need so when they graduate, they can reach out to a wide professional network with an excellent online presence that can help their profiles to stand out with a good ranking in Search Engine Optimisation, a website’s position in the search engine results page.”

The second session elaborated on topics such as personal branding, building a wide yet relevant network and the art of creating content.

Finally, Alish assigned a task to all attendees to check if everyone was on the same page.

“The task seemed to be simple — post about the workshop on their profile within five minutes. It could be something they learnt, a summary of the workshop or someone they met for the first time there.

“Some struggled with writing their postings but they finally did it. Taking the first step is usually the hardest part but it must be taken. Otherwise, we can’t reach our goal,” he added.


A LinkedIn member for many years, Radhika Gautam Gunaji, 28, who is pursuing doctoral studies in petroleum engineering at UTM in Johor Baru, said she is well-acquainted with the professional networking platform and is intrigued by new things she can learn from it.

“I wanted to know how to reach out to more professionals and recruiters via LinkedIn. This will help me in my job hunt after I graduate and build a stronger network with the industry,” she said.

Radhika said major recruiters around the globe use online screening to hire the right candidate for their firms or clients.

“LinkedIn allows me to highlight my achievements and skills at a platform that has gained credibility through years of service to professionals.

“I learn from different people by tracking their activities and who they follow that will help me promote my profile across a wide range of professionals as I have diverse experience.

“I hope to improve my profile with more certifications and recommendations,” she added.

In September 2018, International Student Society-Syria Chapter president Magd Al Sayed Wahbe and his fellow countrymen from Syria formed the Syrian community at UTM in Johor Baru as they felt the need to gather the students under a society where they can meet, learn and share their experiences, and raise awareness of knowledge and soft skills essential to the future.

“We organised the LinkedIn workshop in partnership with LinkedIn Local Society to introduce LinkedIn as a global network for professional people to students and make them aware of its importance.

“We want to make sure each student has a professional profile ready when looking for job and encourage students to use LinkedIn as a daily networking platform.

“During the workshop, students learnt the difference between LinkedIn and other networking platforms, and how to set each section in the LinkedIn profile in professional way, post and discover elite people profiles.

“By the end of the day, students knew how to represent themselves better in LinkedIn and they began to rethink their future among professional people.

“We advised them that this is the perfect time to invest in themselves via participation in clubs and societies to enrich their knowledge.

“This is the time to think about how to build their career path such as finding an internship,” added Magd.

Chemical engineering student Monabbir Hasan Arnab, 20, said: “We can get the right connection with people in the same field. Now I know how to navigate LinkedIn.

“My two posts have reached out to so many people and my connection has increased to more than 80 people within a few days,” he added.

Shakir Mahmud, 20, attended the workshop as a guide to apply for jobs and internships. He learnt to create a unique look or personal branding.

“I learnt that by focusing on one particular field of work and mentioning it in any of your posts onLinkedIn help to market your brand,” said the Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering (Aeronautics) student.

As for Estiaq Ahmed, 20, he is confident that his profile will attract more connections.

“I am now up-to-date on organisations, which are hiring and looking for interns, as well as job placements which are suitable for my qualification,” said Estiaq, who is studying electrical electronics.

Aamer Al Khateeb, 24, said he knew that LinkedIn is a platform to help professionals to preview their experiences and allow others, either companies or individuals, to know about them in-depth, but he never gave it a try.

“But with the help of a facilitator who gave me the tools and steps to be a successful LinkedIn user, I am on my way to setting my career pathway,” said the Master’s in Mechatronics and Automatic Control student.


LinkedIn Southeast Asia and North Asia head of communications Linda Lee said the social media platform is a fresh graduate’s guide to job search.

For Malaysian graduates entering the workforce for the first time on the lookout for job openings, LinkedIn has the community to help them find the right one depending on their skills and interests.

“Whether you’re just starting your career or on a journey to pursue fulfillment and meaning at work, now is a great time to find the right job for you.

“We have 20 millions jobs including entry-level roles,” she added.

Lee offered advice to help prepare for each step of the job search.

Firstly, establish a “Digital Presence That Reflects Who You Are” by asking yourself what drove you to pursue your degree? What are you “in it” for?

“Knowing these answers is crucial to finding the right job for you. Then create your LinkedIn profile and use the summary section to share a little bit more about yourself and skills, learning and experiences that make you unique.

“More than just a resume, your LinkedIn profile creates a great opportunity to make you standout.

It’s one of the top things recruiters using LinkedIn every day look at when viewing your profile.”

Secondly, “Look Beyond Your Degree or Qualification”.

“A degree can take you places, but it doesn’t dictate your career path. Keep in mind what is most important to you, and find it. Your degree or qualification can open up opportunities to land a variety of types of jobs beyond your major.

“If there are new skills you want to learn or improve on, online platforms such as LinkedIn Learning can help you get started. Learning doesn’t stop at graduation.

“Thirdly, ‘Explore Jobs on LinkedIn’. Take advantage of LinkedIn’s job search filters to narrow your search by industry, function and experience, and then use the open search box to add key phrases to find the right job for you.

“Discovering new jobs on LinkedIn has never been easier with ‘Instant Job Notifications’ and ‘Job Title Highlights’.”

Fourthly, “Connect with People in Your Network Who Can Help” by taking a good look at their LinkedIn community to see if they have any connections who work at companies that interest you.

“These professionals can be key to helping you find and land the job you want. Professionals on LinkedIn are four times more likely to get a call from a recruiter and nine times more likely to get hired when they’ve been referred by a connection than if they apply without a referral.

“And, fifthly, ‘Make a Good Impression’ by getting to know more about the company you wish to be part of. It can guide you on what it takes to get hired and succeed there. The website and company page on LinkedIn and other online resources can provide rich information and background.

“What’s important is that you know the steps to take on your journey to a successful and rewarding career. Be authentic, stay true to your values, call out what makes you different from the crowd and lean on your community for support.”

LinkedIn Asia Pacific managing director Olivier Legrand said the company aims to strengthen its offerings for small and medium business customers in Malaysia.

“It is not just a platform for individuals, it also offers a range of services for businesses to hire better and faster, insights that can help them make smarter decisions about things that are happening around them in real time and smarter, making recruitment easier and more effective via online selection. Archive image for illustration purposes only.

How to fill the gaps in your resume

Wednesday, May 8th, 2019

Due to the competitive environment that we live in, people are expected to have a continuous string of jobs that indicate career progression.

However, there are times we need to take time off due to health reasons, getting retrenched, going back to school or in need of a long term holiday.

Generally, employers usually want to know how you spent the time and how well you stayed connected to your field.

When this happens, you don’t want to be caught off guard and seem like you spent a full year doing nothing. To prevent this, here are a few things you can do.

Restructure Your Resume

Instead of putting your career experience first, highlight your achievements, skills and education history before you get to the career time frame.

Once you have them by the hook with an impressive set of skills and achievements, it will create a level of curiosity which they are more likely to follow through and find out more from you.

In addition to that, you could also include a compelling reason on why you had chosen to make those changes during your career and include a good game plan for the future, in a well thought out cover letter.

Be Upfront

Being honest about your time off is better than fumbling through a made up excuse which automatically make the employers doubt you.

While you may need to be honest, how you word your answer could make or break how your future employers react.

If you told the hiring manager that you were retrenched, explain what happened and what action you took afterwards to keep your skills sharp.

Use the opportunity to tell them how you took up courses or kept working on freelance initiatives rather than leaving it to their imagination.

If you took a leave of absence travelling, taking care of your family, or any other reason, be sure to include the lessons and skills you’ve picked up during that time.

For example, travelling may have taught you conversational French, or taking care of your family taught you about household budgeting.

Don’t worry if these skills aren’t necessary for the job you’re applying for, because that’s not the point. The point is to show that you’re not just sitting at home watching YouTube all day.

Be Frank with Your Commitment Level

If you had taken time off to study or go on a trip around the world, you can expect your future employer to ask, “Will you be taking time off again?”.

When hiring someone, a company would worry about such an issue due to stability of operations. Should you take time off again, the company would need to hire and train a new person and will have to keep your position open until you get back.

This puts the company at a disadvantage as it increases their cost.

In a scenario such as this, be willing to provide the hiring manager some form of security.

Maybe, you would be willing to work for at least two years without the option of taking long periods off, unless it was due to emergencies such as health reasons.

A counter offer such as this would reassure the hiring managers and portray how committed you are.

This is assuming you do plan to take some leave off in the future of course.

Otherwise it’s a simple matter of reassuring them that you’re fully committed to your new position. Easy.

Lastly, Don’t Sweat it Too Much

While it’s understandable to be a bit anxious over how that gap in your resume might be construed, remember that a consistent career calendar doesn’t guarantee you a job, either.

What’s most important here is to be honest with your time off and be aware that you can still be a valued member of a team even if you did have to take a whole chunk of the calendar off work just to work on things.

If you being away was due to a medical situation, don’t rush to get back into work, since your health is way more important than your wealth.

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Lam Thye: Apt to widen laws to better protect the self-employed.

Wednesday, May 1st, 2019

KUALA LUMPUR: The move to widen the scope of laws to better protect self-employed workers is apt, says Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye (pic).

“Self-employed workers must be given the means by the government to ensure their safety and quality of life,” Lee said.

Lee said this when speaking to reporters after launching the Labour Day celebrations organised by Bank Islam and Uni-Malaysian Labour Centre (Uni-MLC) here on Wednesday (May 1).

The Uni-MLC advisor was commenting on Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s Labour Day address.

This includes widening the scope of the Self-Employment Social Security Act 2017 to cover the self-employed, such as those providing e-hailing services, fishermen, farmers and performing artists.

Earlier in his speech, Lee said employers must provide training to employees to face the Industry 4.0 revolution.

He said this was crucial as workers need to adapt to the changes brought about by the use of automation and artificial intelligence.

The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (Niosh) chairman added that employers must also adopt the use of technology to provide better safety for workers.

He cited the use of embedded personal protective equipment (PPE) with sensors and radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology to improve data-gathering and efficiency.

On a separate issue, Lee suggested that all old residential buildings built by the government must be subjected to yearly compulsory safety audit, including residential colleges of higher learning institutions.

“State governments must come out with a clear-cut policy on the matter as there are many buildings that are already more than 30 years old with some in dilapidated condition,” he added.

By Martin Carvalho
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Special meeting to discuss creating more job opportunities

Wednesday, May 1st, 2019
The Prime Minister had in the morning officiated the Labour Day celebration at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre (PICC). (NSTP/MOHD FADLI HAMZAH)

PUTRAJAYA: It may be Labour Day today, but it’s work as usual for Cabinet ministers as they attended a special meeting to discuss ideas on how to create more job opportunities.

Official vehicles were seen entering the Perdana Putra compound from 2.45pm.

The special meeting was chaired by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and scheduled at 3pm.

The Prime Minister had in the morning officiated the Labour Day celebration at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre (PICC) here.

Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik, when met by reporters, said the meeting on creating job opportunities was coordinated by the Economic Affairs Ministry.

He said among issues discussed were efforts to create one million jobs for the people, especially youth in the country.

All ministries were asked to present their respective papers on initiatives and approaches on the topic at the meeting, he said.

“Hence we will discuss ways to create job opportunities and how we want to align the efforts,” he said.

By Bernama

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Early childhood education

Monday, April 15th, 2019

Early childhood education is beneficial for children ages 3, 4 and 5. It’s also often referred to as pre-school, pre-kindergarten, day care, nursery school or early education.

Early childhood education prepares young children for their transition into elementary school. Sending pre-school-age children to one of these early childhood education programs can make a positive impact on her and give her a head start toward a bright future.

Why is Early Childhood Education important?

The capacity of your child’s brain to soak up new learning peaks when your child is 3 years old.

At this point in your child’s life, she has the highest potential for learning new things.

While attending an early childhood education program, your child will improve her language and motor skills, while developing the learning and cognitive skills necessary to move on to primary school.

Attending a quality early childhood education program can benefit your child’s health as well.

Approximately 60 to 70 per cent of pre-school-age children attend an early childhood program or child care programme out of the home.

In addition, your child’s socio-emotional development is less likely to be adversely affected, with a decreased chance of needing behavioural or mental health care once she enters primary school.

Importance of Screenings

One of the many benefits of your child receiving an early childhood education is the opportunity to participate in early childhood screening.

This screening is provided for 3- to 5-year-olds and tests things like health, cognitive development, speech, vision, hearing, coordination, emotional skills and social skills.

Screenings can identify any development or health issues that need to be taken into consideration, to prevent learning delays.

Where can you study Early Childhood Education?

The Diploma in Early Childhood Education (ECE) is offered by the Open University of Malaysia (OUM).

The   programme at OUM  contributes  to the all-rounded development of ECE teachers by updating their knowledge, skills and attitude as ECE professionals.

The programme is tailor-designed for Early Childhood principals, administrators, teachers, care takers, childminders and those involved with young learners to ensure that they have the necessary and enriched knowledge about child development and assessment, curriculum content, children arts and music, learning and pedagogy, health and safety, and ECE-centre management skills.

Entry Requirements

The Normal Entry requirements are:

i. Pass SPM/SPMV/MCE or its equivalent, with minimum a credit in 3 subjects; or

ii. Pass UEC with minimum Grade B in 3 subjects; or

iii. Pass O-Level with minimum Grade C in 3 subjects; or

iv. Pass SKM Level 3 in Early Childhood/ Preschool Care and pass SPM with minimum a credit in 1 subject; or

v. Pass Community College Certificate equivalent to MQF Level 3 in related field and pass SPM with minimum a credit in 1 subject; or

vi. Pass Early Childhood Education Certificate (MQF Level 3) in related field with a minimum CGPA of 2.00; or

vii. Pass STPM or equivalent with a minimum Grade C (GP 2.00) in 1 subject; or

viii. Pass STAM with minimum grade of Maqbul; or

ix. Other qualifications recognized as equivalent by the Malaysian Government.

Note: Matured students above the age of 20 years with working experience can also apply provided they pass the APEL Assessment Test conducted by OUM.

Tuition Fee

The total tuition fee For the Dipolma programme at OUM is RM 12, 780.  The Duration of the course is four years. Financial aid is available to those who are eligible from:


2) EPF (Account 2)

3) Education or Personal Loan from commercial banks

4) HRDF (subject to employer’s eligibility)

5) OUM Flexible Payment Scheme.

The OUM Advantage

Those who are interested in pursuing the Diploma programme with OUM have the added advantage to “ Word and Study”.

If you are a school leaver or an adult interested in this programme you can work and take up this course on a part-time basis. For details contact the nearest OUM centre.

by Krishnan
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