WHEN I completed my Form Six studies last April, I decided to look for a part-time job while waiting for my Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM) results.
Having gone through numerous job advertisements, I applied for a few and was delighted to receive a phone call from an employer.
My delight, however, turned into a rude awakening when the caller asked why I did not have any job experience even though I was 20 years old.
The reality is that employers often hesitate to employ students, especially Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) leavers who seek temporary employment and are inexperienced.
How are students to gain work experience if they are not given a chance to be hired? Are they expected to magically know the way a company works or how to deal with customers?
Even the most outstanding students would be unnerved upon discovering that their skills are not sufficient for the real world.
Employers should keep in mind the benefits of hiring students.
Students are young and energetic, which would give them an edge in part-time jobs as they would be willing and able to learn new skills within a short period.
An uncle of mine who had worked with tertiary students in his tuition business shared that he was fascinated with how tech-savvy they were.
The students brought the use of apps such as Skype, Google Hangouts and Dropbox to the business to create a more efficient office environment.
Although millennials often get a bad reputation for using social media all the time, most are experts at connecting with others using multiple types of media.
Some know how to program and design apps while others are well-versed in promoting a business through social media.
At a retail store where I was finally employed after an interview, some of the workers promoted the goods through TikTok videos.
Using food ingredients that were about to expire in the store, they made several dishes while creating short clips of them doing so.
Although these were not uploaded on the official store’s social media pages, the students took it upon themselves to create accounts on Instagram and TikTok to raise awareness of the products and recipes in-store.
Hiring students would encourage the youth to learn responsibility and financial independence in society.
Even though students do not bear the burden of supporting their families, earning their first salaries would give them a better understanding of earning their keep. The responsibilities they shoulder while working in society would also be heavier than the ones they experience in school, which would work wonders to train their leadership skills.
Even their communication and soft skills would improve as they would be forced to step outside their comfort zones to communicate with strangers, colleagues and their superiors.
Despite the fact that I only worked for a month at the retail store due to the restrictions brought by the Covid-19 pandemic, I am infinitely thankful that the manager gave me a chance, knowing that I did not possess any prior work experience.
It was through that simple position as a sales associate that I learned how to deal with customers and negotiate with colleagues.
I also fully understood how you could really see people from all walks of life with all sorts of attitudes.
There were some lessons that I would remember for life, and some tips and tricks that I most definitely would not have known had I not worked there.
I would like to urge employers to hire students for part-time jobs if their company’s financial situation allows it.
With the pandemic rendering people unemployed and causing families to struggle to make a living, the future generation must not be forgotten, as the pillars of the nation must be prepared to build a better tomorrow.
Carrie Ann, 20, is a participant of the BRATs Young Journalist Programme run by The Star’s Newspaper-in-Education (Star-NiE) team. Throughout the year-long programme, participants aged between 14 and 22 from all across the country experience life as journalists, contributing ideas, conducting interviews, and completing writing assignments. They get to earn bylines, attend workshops, and extend their social networks. To join Star-NiE’s online youth community, go to facebook.com/niebrats.
1. Circle these words in Carrie Ann’s article:
a rude awakening
Pay attention to how these words are used in the article. If you’re not sure of their meanings, look them up in a dictionary. Next, get an activity partner to play a game of charades with you. Before you begin the game, write the words on pieces of paper separately. Fold the papers and place them in a container. Then, take turns to pick a paper from the container and act out the word written on it – without speaking. Each of you should have three turns. Can your activity partner guess the words correctly?
2. Look in The Star newspaper for the name of an employer or organisation that you would like to work for while waiting for your SPM or STPM results. Do you think the employer or organisation would be interested in hiring you as a part-time worker? Why or why not? If you were given one minute to convince the hiring manager to take you in, how would you make your case? Record yourself on audio. When you are done, listen to the recording. Are you satisfied with how it went? Get a teacher or activity partner to provide feedback on your performance.
Now in its 24th year, The Star’s Newspaper-in-Education (Star-NiE) programme is continuing its role of promoting the use of English language through a weekly activity page in StarEdu. These activities are suitable for use individually and in groups, at home and in the classroom, across varied proficiency levels. Parents and teachers are encouraged to work on the activities with their children and students. In addition, Star-NiE’s BRATs Young Journalist Programme will continue to be a platform for participants to hone and showcase their English language skills, as well as develop their journalistic interests and instincts. Applications are now open for the BRATs 2022 programme. Follow our updates at facebook.com/niebrats. For Star-NiE enquiries, email email@example.com.