Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Graduates need to be serious (1)

In an article on News Straits Times on the 8th April, it was reported that our Human Resources Minister Datuk Dr Fong Chan Onn said he hoped to submit a paper to the Cabinet on the Graduate training scheme's re-introduction over the next two weeks.

The scheme, he added, was successful in finding jobs for unemployed graduates the first time around as it had enhanced their marketability by equipping them with new skills.

For those not familiar with the scheme, it is essentially the Government paying for the "unemployed" graduates' salary of RM1,800 per month for a period of 6 months. This acts as an incentive for companies to employ these graduates as the objective is for the Government to subsidise their initial orientation and on-the-job training to make the graduates more proficient before being able to command their own "salary" without government assistance. It is a noble scheme, which however, has its "problems" in implementation.

The government for obvious reasons will not be able to discriminate between the better or poorer graduates in terms of qualifications. Hence as a result, easily employable first class honours graduates will still qualify for the scheme (should the employers be aware of the scheme in the first place). As a result, part of the subsidy is basically "wasted" on graduates who may have otherwise found easy employment irrespective of whether the subsidy was available. However, there being no statistics or studies provided to show the quality of candidates who have managed to find work with the scheme - it'll be difficult to measure its actual effectiveness. As an employer myself, I'm more than happy for the scheme to continue because I will be able to obtain subsidy for candidates whom I would have hired anyway.

As part of the scheme however, the government should first engage qualified consultants to conduct seminars to assist these graduates improve their employability. This tasnk should actually be that of our universities, but unfortunately they have not been able to fulfil their role in this. The very first step to gaining employment is to have a decent resume which will "open the door" to an interview with the prospective employers.

Unfortunately, I find that the majority of Malaysian graduates (both foreigh and local ones) are not sufficiently serious with their resumes. I have reviewed many resumes, especially those which are submitted via internet-based recruitment sites such as Jobstreet. Candidates have failed to take their resumes seriously - and if the can't be serious about their own resumes, why should the prospective employers be serious about hiring them. Some of the indifferent attitudes displayed in their resumes include simple stuff such as:

(1) refusal to use capital letters in as much as their entire write up, even for the names! This is particularly irritating when the candidates to not capitalise the "I" in their comments or essays. To me, this displays clear laziness, and the candidates do not possess a meticulous attitude to their work. Should employers hire these candidates and risk complaints from their clients?

(2) refusal to have their grammar properly checked whether via a word processor or someone else with better command of the language. As an example, the following is two write ups I obtained from local twinning private college students with a 2nd class (upper) degrees:

  • I am a person who like to take challenge and get explosure on job. I have been on business trip in Australia, Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand to get myself have more broad thinking whenever i am doing project anaysis and consultant.I am working as MIS for travel company, communicate well with end user, programmer, oversea MIS and management is a very important job for me. Deadline is alway given by management to me on every project assigned. Project management and project analysis are the job I am interesting [APIIT]
  • There is one time where i've develope a medium size web application system. At that time i'm still new in the IT industry and do not know the important of security. While the system was at it's final stage, i come across an article about web security and i start to realize the important of the security of a system. End up, i've to restructure and patch the system. [Inti]

I cannot imagine the candidate writing a requirements specification or a project report on behalf of the company for a client. If the candidate cannot write in decent English in his or her resume, then there's little chance for her to have the opportunity to impress in an interview.

(3) The third problem with job applications is that the candidates often do not "answer" the questions asked. In my Jobstreet advertisements, I always request that the candidate answer some general questions to help differentiate candidates who appear to have equal academic competence. An example of a question will be "Cite a time you were not pleased with your performance. What did you do?" The answers I get - I can compile a book! And these are from candidates with at least 2nd Class Upper equivalent results.

  • night. I do my own personal thing. [TAR College]
  • i will change my performance. [Greenwich Univ / Sunway College]
  • To obtain and establish a valuable work experience from your company in the internal and external environment.... I’m available for an interview at anytime that convenience to you and also I’m ready for an immediate vacancy if I’m given a chance. [UPM]
  • I have experinece in developing online based system . the tools that i used to developing the system is ASP.NET, VB, Macromedia FLash and Macromedia Dreamweaver. [UM]
This is a case of the graduates not being serious in the job application process. The process today is now so convenient via emails and internet recruitment sites, they no longer pay serious attention to detail and no longer attempt to review their resume and application. They just "rush" to complete and submit the application without giving thought to the fact that submitting a hastily completed application and poorly formed resume is not going to increase the chances of employment by much.


Anonymous said...

Hi I would like to let you know how much I agree with your blog, and I am stunned whenI read about the responses that you have received from graduates. Being a non-native English speaker (both my parents were not able to talk in English), I have had so much hard time during my first two years in the US. Luckily I managed to overcome the language barrier and move on. I think environment is definitely a crucial factor in language learning process. I speak English fluently now because my relative's family here in America does not speak Chinese at all.

Mabel said...

You should have ventured over to my blog last year and read some of the papers I had to grade. ~_~ It's appalling yet with all my effort, it is still not hitting home to these students. THEY JUST DON'T CARE!

Anonymous said...

Yup, thats right, environment does helps a lot in language. I came from a chinese educated family and had a poor command in english. Since I entered MMU, where english is the only medium to communicate with lecturers or friends from overseas. At least for now, I was able to speak better than last time. I know this still doesn't enough and I will try to stress more on writting. Thanks for the info.

Anonymous said...

nice blog for sure ... but i feel that graduates have to think for long term rathern tha just few fields...

and i feel thas jobsites like

are good sites to look for career and your move..

Anonymous said...

But sites like ,

are all occupying the web now...