Father Sez

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How I intend to help my daughters secure jobs they would like - Part 2 - Additional Skills to pick up

Monday March 3rd, 2008 by fathersez

My two elder girls are almost ready to join the rat race. I am trying to discuss with and suggest to them the things they can do to better position themselves to get the job of their choice from the employer of their choice. And not to repeat the major mistake I have made of not managing my career. 

In Part 1, we covered an overview of the process. In this Part 2, we look at the employability skills and character traits that my children would have to demonstrate to better their chances.  

Malaysian Employers have long been complaining that the educational system is churning out graduates, many of whom do not possess sufficient employability skills and traits. And it looks like the Malaysians are not alone in their lament. 

Just what are the skills and traits employers watch out for? What are the skills and traits they do not want to pay for the graduates to learn on the job?  

I have done a comparison of the desired skills as researched by following organizations:- 

a)    The Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory (NREL) 

b)    The Cooperative and Career Division of the University of Limmerick, Ireland 

c)     Quintessential Careers.com, which claims to be the most popular online career site for teens 

d) A study of Employability Skills of Malaysian Graduates, by University Tun Abdul Razak (UNITAR), Malaysia 

These diverse institutions / research sources have about the same results. They have listed the following skills and character traits as what they would consider as employability skills.  

A) Basic Skills 

Oral Communications

Written communications

Reading and Understanding Instructions

Basic Arithmetic

IT Skills 

B) Higher Order Thinking Skills 

Problem Solving

Decision Making

Learning Skills / Strategies /

Creative Innovative Thinking

Analytical / Research Skills

Ability to Plan


Presentation Skills  

C) Affective Skills / Traits 


Multi Cultural Awareness

Enthusiasm / Motivation

Willingness to learn

Adaptability / Flexibility

Self Discipline / Self Management

Honesty / Integrity

Dependability / Responsibility

Positive Attitude Towards work

Desire to Achieve

Conscientiousness / Punctuality / Efficiency

Self Confidence / Positive Self Image


Ability to work without supervision  

I have not discussed this list with my children yet. They are both busy studying for their final exams (Along, our eldest girl has her exams in April, whilst Azah, our second girl is sitting for hers next week.) 

I am confident that the skills listed in (A) and (C) have been fairly well covered so far in their lives. However these 2 parts will have to be revisited when we cover the “Preparation for the Interview” part. 

I shall have to spend some time on the (B) section of the skills set. (Perhaps my children may even end up teaching me). The Internet should be full of resources on these. For example, a search on “teaching problem solving skills” returned 740,000 results and “learning problem solving skills” returned 3,300,000 results.Luckily my children are already very used to doing their research on the Net. 

I am certainly no expert at these skills. All we’ll be shooting for is for my girls (and I) to have some understanding of the subject, so as to answer any questions on these intelligently.  

Whilst writing this article, the mandatory 4 types of people talk given by my friend to all his new employees came to mind. He used to say, there are 4 types of people. 

i)                 People with a good mind and a good heart,

ii)                People with a not good mind, but a good heart,

iii)               People with a good mind and a bad heart and

iv)               People with a not good mind and a bad heart. 

(i) and (ii) was what he was looking for as he could always teach those in the (ii) classification. For those in the (iii) and (iv) classes, he said that it would be too difficult and that their parents should have done their work better.  

My wife and I know that our children are in the (i) or (ii) category. My background is clear proof that outstanding academic results in school and university are not really compulsory requisites for a good career. 

To sum all these up, my father would have looked at this post and said, “It looks to me that all they need is common sense.”

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