Author, Marlin Marissa Malek.
Fresh graduates, be warned! It is a jungle out there. It is a scramble of the brightest and those who are fortunate enough to take highly employable courses like a data scientist, medicine and dentistry related, architecture, town planning and IT-related. But what about those who took the very generic and popular courses like business and management related, education and finance? Are they doomed to not get jobs upon graduation? And as if these aspects are not worse enough, many organisations and recruiters collectively have the perception that ‘millennials or the snowflake or the strawberry generation do not have what it takes to withstand the real working world. Many assumed that millennials are not serious about working hard and they job-hop as frequent as they upgrade their gadgets. How do you change these negative perception if you happen to be of a certain age group and you belong to those born between 1984 to 2000?
First and foremost, take a look at your CV and reword your sentences to make it more impressive. If you spend almost every waking moment on social media, use that to your advantage. Highlight the fact that you are a social media influencer and you and your thousands of followers could be an asset to companies that have an online business platform. Took up some foreign languages online due to your love for Korean, Japanese or Chinese dramas?
Highlight that you are multilingual and you could be on your way as a translator or interpreter to somewhere exotic as Japan, China and Korea as these countries are big markets for companies to expand their businesses to. If your friends always come to you for advice and input as they feel that you personify a Queen Bee, stress in your CV that you have leadership qualities and you are able to influence decisions based on your outlook of life. And if you happen to be coordinated from top to toe and every OOTDs received hundreds of FB or IG likes, you are well on your way as someone that commands attention and the life of any party.
Companies whose target markets are millennials, they need to hire more millennials to speak the same language. Magnify your technology savviness as if it is like the air that you breathe. The ‘internet of things’ is the way of the future and you need to live it to be able to be on top of things. If you have the knack to spot some products cheaper somewhere and you have the ability to add value to that same product, state in your CV that you are entrepreneurial and resourceful. Voila, your CV is now enhanced with the qualities of a potential employee with value-added skills.
Employers will not just rely on degree certs to hire someone but employers would want to look for someone who has the edge and who are distinctively different. Wear something that makes people remember you in a positive way, carry yourself with more dignity and with good posture, polish your English and practice on how to make a memorable entrance and exit during your interviews. Do not sell yourself short because of what people perceive of you and your generation. You cannot change what you are accustomed to and your preferences but you could package it in a way that could be advantageous for you. Good luck!
Marlin is an Associate Professor at OYAGSB, UUM and also Director, Centre for University-Industry Collaboration, Universiti Utara Malaysia. Follow her on Instagram.