“What do you want to be when you grow up?” The inevitable question that followed us since we were young. Though most of us never had a specific answer to this, we know that we have an ambition that we want to fulfill when we are older. But with the oldest Gen Z reaching the age of 25 in 2022, the Internet generation is starting to take over the workforce to pave their own future.
However, in the struggle of finding the right career path, employers still place an amount of emphasis on finding candidates with the right skills and competencies that will be valuable for their organisation. Depending on the career sector and profession you choose to work in, there could be very specific skills, abilities, and knowledge needed to execute the job.
With expectations set high and competition as fierce as ever, the newer generation which includes Gen Z will need to equip themselves with as many skill-sets as possible for them to achieve their goals.
To be knowledgeable about one’s specific job and industry is crucial, but to have additional skills can be a bonus as an employee! Taking on industrial training programmes, internships, volunteering, or being open to freelance work / part-time jobs can get you job-relevant experience and help you gauge if this is a career you see yourself being a part of. This can also help to create new relationships with people in the industry, potentially leading to a job reference or recommendations, even a full-time job.
These key employability skills are the core skills that will make you, a member of Gen Z, an asset at work, in any job that you venture. You’ll need to draw on your work experience to give evidence of these skills as not only it will benefit you in your career growth but also how you manage the challenges that come with it.
1. Future-proofing yourself by upskilling and polishing your computer skills
Computer skills are a valuable addition in any employee’s personal portfolio. With Malaysia dawning on the new 5G era, it is critical than ever to start literating yourself with the tech world especially when time is precious and valuable for all. Just by having the basic yet necessary skills such as using Microsoft Office for data logging and writing or Adobe for creative work, you are giving yourself a chance to work smarter rather than harder.
2. Take a glimpse of your future with an internship programme
Having a degree is no longer the maximum requirement for any fresh graduate looking to enter their desired workforce in today’s world – pertinent work experience is now just as valuable as your degree and exam results. When it comes to building your future career, an internship is one of the first steps to help candidates to access the much-needed and valuable work experience in preparing them for the real world.
3. Getting hands-on experience and skills with industrial training programme
Also known as a skills-acquisition programme, this is an organised way to improve and refine an individual’s knowledge and skills from hands-on training to the demands of the industry and work ethics.
An ongoing Industrial training programme which youths can look out for include Manforce Group Berhad’s Malaysians Development Uplift Programme (MDUP). This leading worker foreign solutions provider in Malaysia launched the MDUP programme in February 2020 as a solution for youth to further develop their skill-sets through basic industrial training, which may improve their chances of employment.
The industry exposure provides a lifelong learning experience and creates an opportunity to engage with the profession they aspire to in a realistic work environment.
4. Volunteering broadens your social circle and support network
Working experience isn’t only obtainable from a professional working environment, but can also be gained from interacting and communicating with people around us. Volunteerism allows you to make connections with individuals from various backgrounds and broadens your support network, exposing you to people with common interests, neighbourhood resources, and fun and fulfilling activities.
While some people are naturally outgoing, others are shy and have a difficult time meeting new people. Volunteering gives you the opportunity to practice and develop your social skills, and is also helpful for you to build a strong resume and personality to impress your future employer.
5. Nurture positive mindset and attitude
There’s a common saying: “Stay positive, better days are on their way”.
Even with all the skills and knowledge in the world, it still can’t prepare you for the worst if you don’t have the right mindset to handle the challenges. Given the situation now in Malaysia, it may seem a difficult task for some people to stay positive. Likewise, those who harbour a negative mindset will not make things better either way.
Thinking positively at work will help you stay motivated and cooperate better with others as it can reduce stress levels, boost productivity, and improve problem-solving.
Ultimately, while stepping into a new phase of life is always exciting yet scary, being prepared and ready for the challenges ahead will help you as a member of Gen Z achieve the goal that you have for your future career. As a career goal is not something you can achieve overnight, be patient with yourself and always be open to new experiences to keep growing in your chosen career.