Yes, the current job market is tough compared to nearly a decade ago, but despite that, there is no need to give in to pessimism as skilled job-seekers will find employment. That’s the view of Md Khairuddin Arshad, Chief Operating Officer of Bank Rakyat.
“Malaysia’s job market will experience a surge in activity as more multinational companies take advantage of the country’s geographical location, language capabilities and an abundant pool of skilled workers to set up their regional service centres here,” he says.
The depreciation of the ringgit, which has caused some alarm among Malaysians, will actually work in our favour, he says. “Foreign companies will also be attracted by the depreciation of the local currency, which will enable them to establish their centres or headquarters here. This, in turn, will give rise in the demand for skilled candidates to fill up these job vacancies.”
He also sees a boom in online businesses. “More online businesses are expected to spring up due to local consumers becoming more digitally savvy in their shopping habits.”
This should benefit young job-seekers who are seen as being more digitally savvy than the older generation.
“The job market is expected to be tough at the moment,” he add. “So fresh graduates need to prepare to fight to survive in the job market. Many people have qualifications, but that is not enough in this job market. You need to stand out from the crowd to be noticed.”
#1 BUILD YOUR NETWORK
“Go out and meet people to let them know about you.”
#2 PURSUE AS MANY OPTIONS
“Keep your options open and pursue whatever you can. Being assertive in your pursuit will also increase your resilience, which will make you a stronger person and a better job hunter.”
#3 NEVER STOP LOOKING
“It is easy to get discouraged. However, all it takes is one job application to turn things around. New jobs pop up every day and there are lots of tools and resources you can use to get one. Keep networking and telling people about your job search and your interests.”
HOW TO PROGRESS IN YOUR CAREER
Progression in your chosen career is equally important. But how do you do this? Khairuddin has some tips.
“Find a mentor,” he advises. “Mentors can help identify and work on skills needed to succeed at one’s job. The mentor would also be someone you can go to for support and advice, if you’re having any difficulties in your career.”
Getting feedback in one’s career is important, he continues. “Feedback helps you to understand what you’re doing well and what are the areas you can improve on. Don’t take criticism personally; use it to improve yourself. Feedback also gives an opportunity for one to set or keep track of development goals.”
You need to have a plan where you will see yourself in your chosen field a few years down the road. “Earlier, I had said about keeping track of development goals. Once you’ve identified some goals, start planning steps that will help you get there.
“Finally, develop your skills,” Khairuddin says. “Make yourself a go-to person for information. Understand more about where you want to be.”
Khairuddin also stressed the importance of networking to enhance one’s career. Don’t just bury yourself behind your desk. “Take time to meet people and make connections throughout your company. You’ll get yourself known and hear about opportunities, whether in your company or outside.”