Preparing the next batch of fresh graduates for the job market

By Patricia Hului
[email protected]



Participants listening intently and jotting down notes during the talk.


Life after graduating can be tough, intimidating and downright stressful.

SarawakYES! put an effort to guide a room full of some 35 future fresh graduates from Unimas, Swinburne College and i-Systems College in a career talk called YOU YES YOU: Helping You Prepare For Your Career’.

They invited three speakers – senior lecturer from Unimas Chuah Kee Man, business development manager of Jacky Lee and senior manager of organisational development of NAIM Holdings Berhad Steve Chen – to share their insight on how to stand out from other candidates, how to excel in their first job, what was lacking in fresh graduates nowadays and a whole lot more.


Focus on purpose



Chuah said forget passion for awhile and focus on purpose first.


One of Confucius’ more famous quotes is: ‘Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life’.

While this may sound ideal, Chuah gave the participants a glimpse of reality,  advising them to forget passion for awhile and focus on purpose first.

“To me what you dream of becoming is your passion to begin with. Somehow along the way you learn how to appreciate that and then it becomes your dream job.”

Chuah then said to the students, “Ultimately, it is not your passion that governs you but your purpose… so what is your purpose? That is to earn money right?”

But if one can strike the balance between passion and purpose that would be a huge advantage, he said, although he did warn that only a few could achieve that in reality.



Participants paying attention to the talk.


Meanwhile, Chen believed that fresh graduates lacked management priorities.

“When they come to work, they just do simple and easy jobs but they put all the important work to one side,” he observed, advising that if students could master managing their priorities, they would stand out from other graduates.

He also added that the fresh graduates today may sound strong technically, but were lacking in soft skills.

“The only thing that they lack of when comes to meeting; they are not able to present their ideas to convince other people.

The skill to sell their ideas is the fundamental thing in their profession, Chen said.



The speakers; (from left) Lee, Chuah and Chen fielding questions from the students.


Chen also advised students to choose their first leader well because this person would impact the way their career moved.

“This leader would empower you with knowledge, share with you the experiences and guide you through your career,” he said. “We expect tertiary educated candidates to have much more critical thinking, able to analyse things better than those who do not have tertiary education.

“So why do companies choose those who are fresh graduates? Not because you have the paper, but because young people have fresh ideas.”



Lee commented one thing prominent about fresh graduates today was that they gave up easily.


Lee commented that fresh graduates today lacked staying power and determination.

“Give yourself time to learn what can be learned. You have studied three or four years in university, so why not spend three or four months in a working environment? Give yourself more time.”

He said fresh graduates were too quick to  find a new job once they found their working environment was too tough or the pay too low for them.

Lee also advised the students not to ignore internship opportunities as they would prepare them for the working environment.

“Just call the company and ask if they are accepting internship programmes.”

He reminded students to have a cover letter and resume as well when applying for any internships.

“Do call them for follow ups and remember which post you were applying for when you make the call,” he said.  “At we have a Jobseeker Guide, feel free to download and you can use them as samples.”



Chen (right) received a token of appreciation from SarawakYES! staff.


SarawakYES! is an online initiative by Faradale Media-M Sdn Bhd and Angkatan Zaman Mansang (Azam) Sarawak aimed to promote educational and employment opportunities in the state.

Held at Earthlings Coffee Workshop HQ at Soho East, Jalan Wan Alwi on Nov 14, the talk aimed at helping students or graduates better prepare themselves for the working world, especially those in their final year.



Participants taking a group photo with the speakers and SarawakYES! staff at Earthlings Coffee Workshop HQ.


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