When the career path chooses you

For some of you fresh graduates, there is a high chance that you may not be able to land a job that’s related to what you studied in college or university.

It’s actually not uncommon to have a fulfilling career that you didn’t plan for when you were completing your diploma or degree, so don’t stress out if your first job is not what you envisioned.

While some may be lucky enough to land a job that fits perfectly within their field of expertise, others may end up getting hired for a role that is completely different from their expectations.

If you fall into the latter category, here are some of our thoughts on the matter.

Accept the change

First of all, be grateful for the job opportunity offered to you and realise that your employers acknowledge your capabilities enough to trust you to fill a position that is not related to your field of study.

You may not realise it at first, but if you give it your best shot, you may find that the job could suit you better than you imagined.

And even if your field of study is different from the job scope at hand, always remember that having good work ethics, being creative and innovative, and able to be a team player will always be appreciated in any work environment.

Willing to work your way up

As you may have a lot to learn in an industry that you are not familiar with, upon joining you will have to start from the lower rungs of the organisation.

Always keep in mind that you have a lot to learn and also need to gather as much experience as possible to be more competent at your job.

It may take a few years, but if you have the determination and are willing to work hard, your efforts will not go unnoticed by your supervisors.

Leverage on transferable skills

As mentioned above, in any industry you join, if you have good work ethics and can be a team player, you would have an upper hand in most organisations.

Apart from those attributes, in order to make you stand out in an industry that is unrelated to your field of study, you should focus on your transferable skills.

These could include leadership skills, written and verbal communication skills, organisational and time management skills, and also research and analytical skills.

This is a weekly column by SarawakYES! – an initiative driven by Faradale Media-M Sdn Bhd and supported by Angkatan Zaman Mansang (Azam) Sarawak – to provide advice and stories on the topics of education and careers to support Sarawakians seeking to achieve their dreams. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

This article first appeared on The Borneo Post, visit this link: http://bit.ly/2QwRNmh

Photo by Marc Mueller from Pexels.

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Have a break

It used to be said that those who worked for long hours without any intermission were considered hardworking and productive, but that’s not really the case.

More scientific studies have shown that taking regular breaks from work can help us improve and maintain our focus, motivation, creativity, and overall productivity.

Some of them also revealed that how we take our time out matters too; and while a nap is one of the best ways to spend during our breaks, it isn’t the only one.

Thus, to avoid getting distracted and bored or experience burnout from your work, here are some other methods to consider for taking effective breaks.

Plan your break

To reap the benefits of having a work-break balance, you need to decide how often you should have them.

Some studies suggest having a ‘25/5-minute plan’ (25 minutes of working and a five-minute break, and then a longer break after four cycles), others a ‘50/10-minute plan’, or even a ‘52/17-minute plan’.

Whichever plan you find suits you the most, following it enables you to have greater focus at work, so long as you are disciplined and committed to having time for yourself.

Keep up with your reading

Reading allows you to gain more knowledge and reduce stress, among many other benefits.

Therefore, during your break, read stories that inspire you, articles that you’ve wanted to read, or even something unrelated to your work.

Magazines, books, or newspapers can do you good too, because they let you give your eyes a rest from looking at screens on your computer or mobile devices for too long.

Have a snack

Junk food like crackers or sweets might give you the immediate kick you need to work, but they won’t last long and won’t help flatter your waistline.

Instead, munch on small portions of healthy snacks such as nuts, fruits, vegetables, and dark chocolate. They not only help restore your energy and boost your brainpower, but also keep you healthier for the long haul.

Move around

Assuming that your work involves a lot of sitting or staying in one position, doing light exercises during your break allows blood and oxygen to flow in your body continuously and tight muscles to loosen.

Be it basic stretches, walks in or outside your office, or some calisthenics, these movements also help lower the likelihood of having physical aches and pains as you grow older and, most important, make you feel good.

This is a weekly column by SarawakYES! – an initiative driven by Faradale Media-M Sdn Bhd and supported by Angkatan Zaman Mansang (Azam) Sarawak – to provide advice and stories on the topics of education and careers to support Sarawakians seeking to achieve their dreams. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

This article first appeared on The Borneo Post, visit this link: http://bit.ly/2QiUWX0

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Keep reading

It’s no secret that we Malaysians don’t read a lot of books despite our nation having a high literacy rate. The habit of reading is beneficial for us in so many ways; however most still find it a struggle to read. So, here are some practical tips for you to nurture your reading habit.

Try reading a few pages a day

It’s impossible to turn into a voracious reader in just one day, so it’s important to set a goal to cultivate your interest. To start off with, pick up a book that might pique your interest and try reading 10 pages a day. Then, slowly increase to 20 pages. Before you know it, you’ll have finished reading the whole book and moved on to a new one.

Build your own collection

Sometimes, a good library can motivate us to read more so instead of going to a public library, you can actually start your own at home.

Don’t limit yourself to just buying new books; second-hand books are just as good and they’re a lot more budget-friendly too.

Carry a book everywhere

You might find this tip to be extremely helpful to cultivate your reading habit. By carrying a book around, you get to read while waiting for the bus, a doctor’s appointment, or a friend who is late for a lunch appointment.

Apart from that, reading is far healthier than scrolling on your smartphone all the time.

Make time to read

Related to the previous point, reading can be done anywhere so long as you carry a book with you. This allows us to make more time to read rather than letting our busy schedules stop us from reading.

For instance, reading before going to bed is said to help improve sleep and reduce stress. However, it is recommended that you read something light instead of heavier topics.

Watch movies based on book adaptations

Watching movies might seem like an unlikely tip to cultivate reading habits, however there’s a good reason why you should consider watching the movie version first – it’s because the movie adaption will never be as good as the book or novel.

Even if you disagree with that last point, it won’t hurt to pick up the book and read it for yourself.

This is a weekly column by SarawakYES! – an initiative driven by Faradale Media-M Sdn Bhd and supported by Angkatan Zaman Mansang (Azam) Sarawak – to provide advice and stories on the topics of education and careers to support Sarawakians seeking to achieve their dreams. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

This article first appeared on The Borneo Post, visit this link: http://bit.ly/2Q0KZwW

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Imagine…

What do soft skills such as creativity, problem-solving, and critical thinking have in common? They all require you to have a strong imagination.

The term ‘imagination’ tends to be associated with childhood development, but it isn’t limited to only children re-enacting their fantasies or favourite fairy tales through pretend play.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines imagination as “the act or power of forming a mental image of something not present to the senses or never before wholly perceived in reality.”

This is applicable when we try to imagine a physical sensation, feeling, emotion, smell or taste; when we visualise based upon a story we read or heard; or when we picture a product or service that can positively benefit people in the future.

As a distinctively human ability, imagination lets us discover new ideas, images or sensations beyond the limitation of reality through a combination of our experiences and knowledge.

It is especially relevant to creativity and innovation, in which imagination of the artistic or scientific kind is put into action through creativity and turns into an innovation.

Simply put, without imagination, we may not be able to enjoy our favourite films, literature and any other art forms, or experience the likes of mobile devices, the Internet or technological advancements that have made life easier for us.

If you’re running a business, having a strong imagination is essential to ensure long-term success as it also helps in creating a vision for your company.

Imagination also allows business owners to generate ideas for daily operations, come up with multiple solutions to a business problem, and even foresee potential new ventures that can be incorporated into their business strategy.

Most importantly, while we may become more rational as we get older, we can enhance our professional and personal growth through continuous development of our imagination.

The advantages are endless; for one, being imaginative lets us improve skills that we use in school, at work or our daily life, be it the aforementioned problem-solving and critical thinking or emotional intelligence and communication.

Our power of imagination also enriches ourselves as individuals, as it boosts our perceptiveness, self-esteem, self-confidence and overall mental health by providing us a more positive outlook in life.

Fundamentally, imagination reminds us of our passion and purpose in life amidst our daily routine and responsibilities.

And when we don’t restrain ourselves and make the effort to turn it into reality, imagination allows us to envision a future that would challenge current limitations and norms, subsequently creating positive change within ourselves and the society at large.

This is a weekly column by SarawakYES! – an initiative driven by Faradale Media-M Sdn Bhd and supported by Angkatan Zaman Mansang (AZAM) Sarawak – to provide advice and stories on the topics of education and careers to support Sarawakians seeking to achieve their dreams. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

This article first appeared on The Borneo Post, published in the print version on Saturday, August 25, 2018.

Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán from Pexels.

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Stressing on emotional stress

These days, if you’re a student, life can feel more emotionally draining than ever, especially as we hear more and more reported cases of mental illness and depression among youths, which could all begin from being emotionally stressed.

Statistics from the Ministry of Health revealed a worsening state of mental health problems among students in the country; from just one in 10 individuals in 2011, to one in five in 2016.

Emotional stress among youths can be triggered by various factors, the most common one being stress over poor academic performance.

It is not something that we should take lightly so here are a few of our thoughts on this subject:

Get help and counselling

As a student in college or university, if you’re experiencing emotional stress there are various support systems available to you, including counselling services, which are offered at most campuses.

Therefore, if you are having difficulty dealing with emotional stress, it’s important to seek assistance from a counsellor as soon as possible.

However, the first and most important step to take is to realise that you need help and not suffer in silence.

Seek emotional support

Some of us are now so used to spending time with our smartphones rather than interacting with family members and friends.

The influence and pressure from social media can also be overwhelming, thus leading to stress and depression.

When going through emotional turmoil, it is best to not be alone as spending time with loved ones and people we trust is the best way to overcome emotional stress.

Change your lifestyle

Research done has suggested that regular exercise is an effective way of lessening the effects of emotional stress.

There is also research that shows the psychological and physical benefits of exercise, which can also help ease anxiety.

Exercise often helps reduce emotional stress by releasing endorphins, natural chemicals in the brain that give you a sense of pleasure and also distract you from anxiety.

This is a weekly column by SarawakYES! – an initiative driven by Faradale Media-M Sdn Bhd and supported by Angkatan Zaman Mansang (AZAM) Sarawak – to provide advice and stories on the topics of education and careers to support Sarawakians seeking to achieve their dreams. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

This article first appeared on The Borneo Post, published in the print version on Saturday, August 18, 2018.

Photo by Kat Jayne from Pexels.

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Ensuring your resume reaches more people

(Above) Job recruitment sites, like Sarawak Jobs, are great avenues to submit your resume online.

Thanks to the Internet, you have more ways now to make sure your resume reaches more potential employers.

In fact, applying for jobs online has become commonplace, with more and more people accessing the Internet through their computers or mobile devices for this purpose.

For employers on the other hand, going online is a faster and more cost-effective solution to find potential employees.

As jobseekers, so long as you’ve done the necessary employment and industry research and produced an outstanding resume, putting your resume up on the Internet will help to improve your chances of getting more job interviews.

Indirectly, your ability to utilise online tools to upload and update your resume could also suggest to your future employer that you’re naturally a digital native.

Job recruitment sites

There are quite a number of job recruitment websites in Malaysia, such as JobStreet, myStarjobs and Monster, as well as Sarawak Jobs.

There are also recruitment sites that focus on specific needs, for instance StartUp Jobs – for those who wish to work for start-up companies; and WOBB – for those who want to work in a company culture of their choice.

These sites not only enable you to submit your resume, but also let you browse through various job openings based on your preferred industry or specialisation.

For greater visibility, it is advisable to post your resume in several job sites, and fill in the information required by the sites to make it easier for potential employers to find your resume.

Your target employer

If you have a particular employer in mind, search for vacancies that it has listed in its website or on job sites.

Make sure you know exactly how to submit your job application, customise your resume to suit the position you’re applying for, and abide by the resume submission guidelines.

This would signal to your target employer that you are able to take the initiative, organise your information and follow directions.

Your own resume website

Creating a resume website is especially suitable if you have a portfolio – including work or project examples, testimonials and other work-related materials – to demonstrate your specialisation in a particular field.

With an effective resume website, you have the creative control to show your “personal brand” through your website design while still maintaining professionalism.

It can also be a quicker way to attract potential employers or clients as they can find you through a simple Google search.

This is a weekly column by SarawakYES! – an initiative driven by Faradale Media-M Sdn Bhd and supported by Angkatan Zaman Mansang (AZAM) Sarawak – to provide advice and stories on the topics of education and careers to support Sarawakians seeking to achieve their dreams. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

This article first appeared on The Borneo Post, published in the print version on Saturday, August 11, 2018.

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How a fear of failing will affect you

The pressure to succeed in school is a real struggle for a lot of students.

These days, for some of them, they’re continuously pressured to achieve good grades and are told that failure is not an option.

The pressure, whether from their parents or peers, is a constant reminder for them that only good grades will assure a better life in the future.

If left to persist, this fear – caused by the stigma surrounding failure – could actually affect students’ ability to learn.

According to a study by Bilkent University in Turkey, the fear of failing at school can influence a student’s motivation and have a negative impact on learning.

The study, which was conducted on 606 secondary school students and 435 university students, found that those who developed a fear of failure at an early age were more likely to adopt goals such as mastering the material presented in a class or to avoid doing worse than other students to validate their ego, rather than for their own personal interest and development.

Because of this, the students’ interest in learning was destroyed and they were less likely to adopt effective learning strategies and, worse still, they were more likely to cheat.

Apart from students’ attitude towards learning, the fear of failing can also affect students physiologically and emotionally.

As grades are emphasised more than self-growth and development, students with a fear of failing will definitely face the consequences, such as negative thinking, intense worrying, and replaying in their minds the problematic incidents that occurred in previous classes.

In addition, they may also experience fatigue and low energy, are emotionally drained, dissatisfied with their life, and experience chronic anxiety, hopelessness and depression.

The fear of failing also prevents students from reaching their fullest potential.

When deciding on goals to pursue, they may tend to focus more on preventing losses rather than achieving gains.

Socially, this may make them afraid of trying new things or gaining new experiences, as they’re afraid that these might make them fail even more.

It’s not easy to erase this fear of failure but if you’re a student it’s important for you to look at failure as a learning experience and a temporary setback, rather than as an irreversible stumbling block to your future success.

The key is to keep striving to achieve your goals and never give up on your dreams.

This is a weekly column by SarawakYES! – an initiative driven by Faradale Media-M Sdn Bhd and supported by Angkatan Zaman Mansang (Azam) Sarawak – to provide advice and stories on the topics of education and careers to support Sarawakians seeking to achieve their dreams. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

This article first appeared on The Borneo Post, visit this link: http://bit.ly/2KtViWD

Photo by Bich Tran from Pexels.

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Thoughts on critical thinking

In nearly every aspect of our lives, critical thinking is important especially now that we are being bombarded with an abundance of information every day.

‘Critical thinking’ as a term has been debated since the days of the ancient Greek philosophers. It can be described in many ways.

In the 1995 publication ‘Critical Thinking’, author Barry K Beyer defined it as making reasoned judgments.

Such judgements involve thinking rationally, reflectively, and independently; effective critical thinkers examine an issue by taking into account every possible option while withholding personal biases before coming to an evidence-based conclusion.

They also question knowledge or information that they have obtained, tolerate ambiguity, consider short- and long-term implications, and are willing to accept new valid ideas, subsequently changing their perceptions.

In that sense, being critical doesn’t necessarily mean offering a negative opinion and doesn’t only focus on important matters; instead, it involves having a greater holistic understanding of things.

Achieving such in-depth understanding requires soft skills that will sound rather familiar to you, such as observation, being analytical, communication, problem-solving, open-mindedness, and creativity.

Its close connection with these skills and its relevance to various modes of thinking – scientific, economic, moral, societal, etc – makes critical thinking a necessity in almost every profession and industry.

Regardless of your specialisation or field, if you’re looking for a job, having critical thinking skills makes you a valuable candidate for potential employers.

After all, critical thinking is listed as one of the most sought-after skills in the World Economic Forum report ‘The Future of Jobs’.

With the global economy now driven by technology and information, it helps to be able to think critically, as well as to be digitally and data literate, in order to adapt effectively to the rapid changes.

The use of critical thinking isn’t limited to the workplace.

If you’re a student, critical thinking is essential to succeed.

This is especially so when learning and applying the right resources and information, and presenting your arguments and ideas with different viewpoints.

Still, it’s worth noting that developing your ability to think critically takes time and practice, for there will be times when you’ll experience emotional outbursts when confronted with initially worrying scenarios.

Therefore, it’s a lifelong effort to be a critical thinker.

Not only does it allow you to face real-world situations more reasonably, and communicate better with yourself and others, the ability to think critically will make us active learners instead of a passive recipient as well.

This is a weekly column by SarawakYES! – an initiative driven by Faradale Media-M Sdn Bhd and supported by Angkatan Zaman Mansang (Azam) Sarawak – to provide advice and stories on the topics of education and careers to support Sarawakians seeking to achieve their dreams. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

This article first appeared on The Borneo Post, visit this link: http://bit.ly/2v1R0AI

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Ask not what Sarawak can do for you …

“Ask not what Sarawak can do for you—ask what you can do for Sarawak.”

As we celebrate Sarawak Day today (22 July), we at SarawakYES! thought it might be a good time to think about something other than just our studies or our careers. And with that in mind, we thought the immortal words of the 35th President of the United States of America John F Kennedy during his inaugural address on Jan 20, 1961 would be a great way to reflect on our role as the people of Sarawak.

Obviously the quote at the top wasn’t verbatim from the President’s speech but we thought it would help us focus on something important on Sarawak Day – what is it that YOU can do for Sarawak?

If you’re currently a student, that answer should be easy; it’s to do your best in your school, or college or university. Your extra effort, especially in academic endeavours and sporting activities, would also potentially bring glory not only to yourself and your school, but also to Sarawak. It doesn’t just apply to studies and sports though, as you can also contribute towards creating a better Sarawak by taking part in extra-curricular activities to benefit your local community. As for those of you who’ve just started working, you may feel there might not be much time in your busy schedule now to think about doing something for the service of Sarawak, since you have to focus on building your career right?

Actually, there’s a lot you can do for Sarawak and that includes volunteering in social work or at the very least giving your financial and moral support to social causes you believe in.

Or if you’re working in the public sector, maybe you can think of how you could improve your work to benefit not only your organisation but ultimately provide a better service to society.

Just remember, our contributions need not be grand gestures or sacrifices. They can be small and simple things.

As the recent World Cup showed us, even the simple act of cleaning up your stadium seat areas after a match can go a long way towards raising the reputation of your nation. That also brings us to an important point about how we could act when we travel outside Sarawak’s borders – if you’re proud to be Sarawakians, then you’d better be ready to also represent Sarawak in the best way you can. We could all probably start by not littering.

And so, fellow Sarawakians, as we celebrate this important day, please spend a few seconds to contemplate how each of us can do more for Sarawak today, tomorrow, and every day.

Happy Sarawak Day!

This is a weekly column by SarawakYES! – an initiative driven by Faradale Media-M Sdn Bhd and supported by Angkatan Zaman Mansang (Azam) Sarawak – to provide advice and stories on the topics of education and careers to support Sarawakians seeking to achieve their dreams. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

This article first appeared on The Borneo Post, visit this link: http://bit.ly/2JOBFbk

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Designing technology

(Above) One of adidas‘s footwear fitted with its very own BOOST technology. This image comes from Hypebeast’s story on the footwear tech’s design and technological evolution.

To ensure greater demand and success of your own product, service, and business in the digital economy, you should take design as one of the most important aspects of your strategy.

An element that used to be overlooked, design has been given more emphasis over the past few decades, as it provides a product or service’s ‘first impression’ for users in terms of experience, interaction, and perception.

The use of design in technology can be found almost everywhere, whether in the development of applications and websites, visual effects creation in films and video games, or design for buildings and in urban planning.

However, it is more well known in product design, and has become an integral part of many successful companies, as seen with electronics from Apple and Samsung, household appliances from Dyson, and footwear from Nike and Adidas.

Design in the current context aims to find and solve real-world problems by combining practical, technological, and creative skills, as well as taking into account the future impact of solutions discovered.

This means that design is no longer an element for mere appearance; instead it adds value by becoming more functional and meaningful in order to enhance users’ experiences.

Design in technology has accelerated over the years due to the upsurge and advancement of technological products, causing a rise in competition among businesses, increased demand from consumers, and rapid technology turnover.

Consumers, especially ordinary people, tend to expect more user-friendly, visually pleasing, and convenient experiences from their use of technology.

Thus, aside from technical performance, user empathy is a crucial factor in designing new products and services, and this applies in every major industry such as technology, agriculture, manufacturing, healthcare, and mass media.

Given its increasing importance in the digital economy, design should be made a competitive advantage, whether you work for an organisation or run your own start-up.

By focusing on better designs in your product, service, and business operations, you can decrease costs, promote efficiency, and boost overall business performance.

Design also adds value to your product and service, and a user-centred design enables you to attract and retain customers, establish better market position, and boost brand identity.

Effective technological design, in particular, will help your target users to be more familiar and comfortable with the use of technology as part of their daily routine.

To put it simply, do not take design for granted. In today’s consumer and technologically-driven market, design – together with overall innovation – can make or break your product, service and business.

This is a weekly column by SarawakYES! – an initiative driven by Faradale Media-M Sdn Bhd and supported by Angkatan Zaman Mansang (Azam) Sarawak – to provide advice and stories on the topics of education and careers to support Sarawakians seeking to achieve their dreams. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

This article first appeared on The Borneo Post, visit this link: http://bit.ly/2KVYM9e

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