EVERY university student’s dream is to be employed immediately after graduation. But what is the reality?
According to an Education Ministry report, 24% of university graduates remain unemployed even one year after graduation.
To make their dream a reality, students should start their preparation for employability right from their first year in university.
Work part-time in your chosen field during semester breaks or weekends to gain experience that will help you to apply the theory and skills you learn in the university at your workplace and make you understand the realities of working life. Exposure to the industry will also boost your confidence level and help you to develop a positive outlook on life at work.
The main reasons cited by the Human Resources Ministry for fresh graduate unemployment are mismatch of skills and attitude issues.
According to the experts, employers always complain that fresh graduates do not possess vital soft skills like communication, public speaking, English language, critical thinking and problem-solving.
Several institutions offer short courses on soft skills, so enrol yourself in one to increase your chances of getting employed.
Having an effective resume would also help you to secure a job. During a career day conducted by a leading hotel chain in Kuala Lumpur, it was mentioned that human resource personnel usually spend less than two minutes to go through an applicant’s resume. Applicants are therefore advised to prepare a resume that is not more than two pages long and which highlights their critical skills, knowledge and qualification that are pertinent to the job.
Use social networking to your advantage. Create an account in business and employment-oriented social networks like LinkedIn when you’re in the final year of your studies. It could be used for professional networking with employers posting jobs and job seekers posting their CVs.
Above all, be practical. Discuss with your lecturers and attend career fairs to find out the starting salary of fresh graduates in your field. Recruitment experts say many fresh graduates fail to secure a job because of their unrealistic demands like high salary and additional benefits. Take your first job offer even if the salary is below your expectations in order to gain experience.
DR SIVAKUMAR KALIYAMOORTHY
Faculty of Hospitality and Tourism
Lincoln University College