Should you join your alumni association?

Your days in school and college may be some of the most memorable moments in your life but now that you’ve been working for a few years, have you ever thought about reconnecting to your alma mater?

One of the ways for you to reconnect could be to catch up with long-lost friends, who you’ve probably rediscovered through social media networks like Facebook or messaging services like WhatsApp, but another way could be by joining the alumni association of your school or college.

Apart from reliving the nostalgic moments of your life as a student though, alumni associations could offer you a lot more benefits that you may not have thought of.

Widen your network

As the members of your alumni association would be made up of a diverse group of people, your network will definitely be much wider by joining. This could be especially useful if your work forces you to be based in a new town or city. It’s not just great for your social life; the benefits could extend to your professional life as well, as your fellow members would be able to offer you guidance and advice for your career, especially those in the same industry as you’re in.

Boost your career

Apart from offering invaluable guidance and advice for your career, some of your fellow alumni association members may actually be able to provide you with opportunities that you would probably not have even known about. This is especially true when some of your fellow members could be in a position to assist in improving your career prospects, either through the help of their own extensive network or as decision-makers in their respective organisations.

Give back to your alma mater

Joining an alumni association should not just be about how it could help you progress personally; it should also be about giving you the opportunity to give back to your school or university. Contributing to your alma mater could be in many forms and could include becoming more active in alumni activities or providing moral or financial support to the alumni in its efforts to help the school or university.

Contribute to your community

Some of the activities organised by your alumni could even extend beyond just helping your alma mater. These endeavours could be in the field of sports, education or health and this will give you an opportunity to contribute towards improving lives in your community.

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/2yhTzQG

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Manfaat menjalani latihan industri

By SarawakYES!

http://www.utusanborneo.com.my

Bagi para penuntut di Sarawak (dan di mana-mana sahaja, amnya), memilih pekerjaan merupakan keputusan yang besar. Ia juga boleh menjadi sebuah beban, terutamanya bagi mereka yang belum menemui minat sebenar atau kemahiran dimiliki yang boleh dimanfaatkan.

Adalah biasa di kalangan anak-anak muda bertukar- tukar kerja sehinggalah menemui karier yang menepati cita rasa. Tetapi, jika ragu-ragu tentang hala tuju anda inginkan, mungkin anda patut mempertimbangkan latihan industri.

Banyak sekali manfaat daripada latihan industri yang boleh didapati, dan itu belum termasuk kemungkinan anda diserap masuk sebagai kakitangan sebaik tamat latihan! Kalau pun tidak ditawarkan, anda tetap akan keluar daripada latihan sebagai calon yang mempunyai sedikit pengalaman (ataupun pengalaman yang banyak) tentang industri. Apa pun, lihatlah sendiri manfaat yang boleh anda nikmati daripada latihan industri.

1. Memperkukuhkan resume anda.

Katakan anda baharu saja tamat universiti tetapi mempunyai pengalaman yang terhad atau langsung tiada, resume anda akan kelihatan ‘lemah’. Tetapi, dengan menyertakan latihan industri ke dalamnya, resume bukan sahaja membuat ia tampak ‘berisi’, tetapi juga sebagai petanda yang anda seorang yang sedia untuk belajar dan bekerja keras (kerana anda pernah menghadiri latihan industri).

2. Anggapnya sebagai ‘tempoh pandu uji’ sesuatu karier.

Anda tahu tentang karier yang ingin diceburi, tapi masih ragu-ragu. Selesaikannya dengan menjalani latihan industri. Ia memberi penglibatan terus dalam industri yang anda minati, sekali gus memberi peluang untuk anda mempertimbangkan sama ada sesuai atau sebaliknya. Ambil kesempatan untuk mengetahui sama ada anda sesuai bekerja di syarikat besar atau kecil, membuat kerja-kerja pejabat atau turun untuk kerja-kerja lapangan atau sama ada budaya kerja organisasi tersebut sesuai dengan anda. Pada masa yang sama, anda berpengalaman merasai fungsi karier ini di dunia nyata.

3. Mengetahui kekuatan dan kelemahan anda.

Bila lagi waktu yang sesuai untuk menilainya kalau bukan sewaktu di latihan industri? Ia membantu dengan menjelaskan jenis kerja dan tanggungjawab yang bersesuaian dengan anda untuk terus berkembang. Selain itu, ia turut berfungsi memberi petunjuk perkara-perkara yang anda patut elak sekiranya anda ingin berjaya.

4. Wujudkan jaringan profesional.

Demi perkembangan karier anda, usaha keras dan mencapai matlamat sahaja tidak mencukupi. Tidak dinafikan yang dua faktor tadi merupakan peranan yang penting. Tetapi terdapat juga faktor lain seperti keupayaan potensi anda berkembang atau menerima tanggungjawab lebih besar sama ada di dalam organisasi semasa atau yang baharu bergantung kepada individu yang anda kenal. Ini dipanggil jaringan profesional dan tidak boleh dipandang remeh. Jalinkan hubungan profesional sewaktu masih di peringkat latihan industri, kerana ia banyak membantu apabila anda ingin memulakan langkah pertama dalam karier. Jika dilakukan dengan betul, karier anda mungkin berupaya berkembang lebih pantas.

5. Pelajari kemahiran baharu.

Sebagai graduan baru, anda pasti berkobar-kobar untuk memasuki dunia pekerjaan. Dengan menjalani latihan industri, anda bukan sahaja berpeluang merasai manfaat-manfaat yang dinyatakan di atas, malah turut mempelajari kemahiran baharu serta memperkembangkan pengetahuan. Ini merupakan kelebihan buat anda berbanding dengan mereka yang turut bersaing mencari kerja di luar sana, terutamanya yang tidak menjalani latihan industri, kerana resume anda lebih kukuh dan mempunyai kemahiran baharu untuk dilihat sebagai kelebihan oleh bakal majikan.

* Ini merupakan ruangan mingguan oleh SarawakYES! – yang merupakan inisiatif oleh Faradale Media-M Sdn Bhd dan disokong oleh Angkatan Zaman Mansang (AZAM) Sarawak. Ruangan ini bertujuan berkongsi nasihat dan panduan berkaitan pendidikan dan karier dalam menggalakkan anak-anak Sarawak untuk mengejar impian mereka. Ikuti kami di Facebook, Twitter, Instagram dan YouTube.

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How volunteering can boost your career

By SarawakYES!

http://www.theborneopost.com/2015/08/08/how-volunteering-can-boost-your-career/

People are often spurred to do volunteer work by a desire to make a contribution to a particular cause they feel passionate about.

Their efforts make an enormous difference, and it’s not just the organisations that reap the benefits. The volunteers themselves are giving a boost to something they may not even realise – their career.

Hiring managers almost always look positively on people who are involved in some kind of volunteer work, as they understand that it improves individuals both professionally and personally.

So if you’re looking for ways to strengthen your resume there are a number of reasons you should consider doing volunteer work – not only are you giving back to your community, but you are also making yourself a more valuable employee. Here are some of the positives you gain from giving your time for free to organisations in need:

– Applying existing skills/Developing new skills. Immersing yourself in an organisation allows you to utilise your talents. If you have experience in marketing, for example, you can help with promoting them or supporting their fundraising efforts. You can also learn new skills by working in areas you are less familiar with. You may even discover some talents you didn’t know you had.

– Developing confidence. Becoming part of a team can be great for building your confidence, by working at and succeeding at something you may never have done previously. Working within a group also

helps strengthen your communication skills, and also helps you to become a more critical thinker.

– Networking. We’ve discussed the importance of networking in earlier columns, and volunteering presents an ideal avenue for this. When you’re searching for a job, it’s often a case of who you know, not what you know, that will help give you an advantage. If you’re volunteering in your industry of choice, you can develop professional relationships with people who may be able to provide a valuable reference for you in the future, or even open some doors for you as you look for a job.

– Exploring career options. If you’re a student, you can use a volunteering opportunity not just to start working on your professional network, but you can also use it to look at potential career options. For example, if you love animals, you could volunteer at a veterinary clinic to learn about the day-to-day role of a vet and whether that is something you would want to pursue. You will gain a much better understanding of the job than you would from just reading about a particular profession.

– Helping others is good. By offering your services for free, it demonstrates to potential employers that you not only care about a particular issue, but that you also show initiative and commitment. Simply put, helping others is a good thing for everyone.

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.

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Developing networking skills at university to enhance your career

FINDING a job can be difficult enough. Making the task even harder is the growing trend of companies simply not advertising available positions.

Instead, roles are filled through recommendations from other employees, staff movements within an organisation, and through formal and informal networks. Essentially, networking of some kind is helping fill a large number of vacancies.

What you need to keep in mind is this: don’t wait until you have your first job to start networking – if you’re a university student, start now.

You might ask whether networking at university is really worth it. You’re working hard towards your undergraduate, or post-graduate, degree; you’re not even in the workforce yet, so what’s the point?

The point is that in today’s competitive job market you need every advantage you can get. Consider the students you’re surrounded by at university – while many of them may be friends, upon graduation they may also be friendly competitors, applying for the same jobs as you.

So building connections while at university can potentially boost your future prospects, or you may meet people who can help advance your career further down the track.

Networking doesn’t have to be hard work. If you look closer at who you’re surrounded by, a network already exists – you just need to tap into it. Apart from other students, there are lecturers, members of student clubs and associations, while outside of university you may be involved in other organisations – such as a volunteer group or sporting club — where you can make connections.

There are also other opportunities outside of your university environment. Perhaps there’s a conference being held in town that focuses on your field of interest. If you can attend, introduce yourself to people, collect business cards and contact details and then keep in touch with those who may be able to assist you once you graduate.

Of course, networking is not easy for everyone, especially when walking into a room of unfamiliar faces. But there are ways you can prepare yourself: be clear in understanding your goals; practise your small talk skills so conversations with strangers are not so daunting; and remember to always maintain eye contact and not let your eyes wander around the room in the middle of a conversation.

While you may still be a student, that doesn’t mean you can’t start building your own professional profile on LinkedIn, which is where a lot of companies now turn in search of recruits.

While you don’t necessarily have a lot of work experience to include, you can still highlight your education, positions you’re interested in, and of course connect with people — whether they are friends, family or alumni networks.

So don’t just sit back waiting for opportunities to come knocking. Be proactive and make opportunities happen.

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 in The Borneo Post (www.theborneopost.com

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The benefits of pursuing an internship

FOR students in Sarawak, choosing a career is an enormous decision. It can also be a very difficult one, particularly for those who are yet to discover where their passion or skills will lead them.

It is not uncommon for younger people to drift from job to job until they find their true calling. However, if you have doubts about what direction you should push yourself, there is one thing you should consider: an internship.

There are numerous benefits to doing an internship, not least the prospect that you may find your future employer. But even if the company does not offer you a full-time position after the internship has finished, you will walk away as a more attractive job candidate. The benefits, such as those outlined below, are invaluable.

1. Strengthening your resume. If you have just recently graduated from university but have little, or no, work experience, your resume is going to look quite thin. The inclusion of an internshinternshipip will not only give this a boost, it will also demonstrate to future employers that you someone who is ready to learn and work hard.

2. Test driving a career. Perhaps you have a few ideas about what career to follow, but still have some doubts. An internship gives you a certain amount of hands-on experience in a specific field, allowing you to essentially test drive that career as an option. You can leverage the opportunity to learn whether you are best suited to working in a smaller organisation or a large corporation, office work or in-field work, or whether the culture of that particular company suits you. At the same time you are gaining real-world experience.

3. Discover your strengths and weaknesses. An internship helps you get a better understanding of your strengths and weakness. The benefits of this can be enormous, as it can provide clarity on the types of jobs and tasks you will excel at going forward and also areas you should probably avoid if you want to succeed in your career.

4. Networking. Advancing your career is not simply down to working hard and delivering results. While that obviously plays a significant role, your ability to grow or move into higher roles either within the same company or elsewhere can also be determined by who you know. That’s why the value of networking cannot be underestimated. An internship is the ideal place to start building up those relationships which, if you nurture correctly, could open up some great possibilities in the future.

5. Learn new skills. Fresh out of university, most Sarawakians will be bursting with energy, ready to launch themselves into the working world. By pursuing an internship first, in addition to the other benefits described above, it also allows you to learn new skills and expand your knowledge. This can give you a huge advantage over other graduates who may have skipped the internship route – not only will you have a stronger resume, but you will have adopted new skills that you can immediately bring to any new employer.

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 in The Borneo Post (www.theborneopost.com

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