In collaboration with TalentCorp, a three-day boot camp was held last October at room 1050 of Menara SAAS. If ‘intensive’ ‘strict discipline’ and ‘rigorous’ was what you had in mind when you first heard of this event, then you’re only half wrong!
This employability boot camp was an intensive and comprehensive knowledge gaining course that we had the privilege to experience in 2 days to prep us for the final big day; an actual job interview by the employers! There were no gruelling officers that would make us do squats or jumping jacks but instead, this boot camp was facilitated by soft-spoken trainers from TalentCorp with each modules conducted by various invited speakers or the trainer themselves.
Module 1: Ice Breaking.
To get all participants to warm up with each other, a facilitation exercise was conducted. Not much transpired considering that we pretty much know almost everyone at Level 14!
Module 2: Grooming Etiquette.
An alumnus of UiTM from the Faculty of Communication and Media Studies (Masscomm), Mrs. Herza was invited to share with us some grooming tips to fit us right into the working world. It was a fun and humorous session of not just knowing your style and how to plan your wardrobe, but also on how to conduct ourselves during an interview.
1. Dress appropriately.
2. Arrive in good time.
3. Body language.
4. Expect the unexpected.
5. Ask questions!
Module 3: Talent Matching.
When you imagine your future career, what can you see? Is there a clear, inspiring image in front of you, or an intimidating blank page?
This module was conducted to help us better understand our capabilities towards gaining employment. The ‘dope test’ we did encourages the understanding of our own strengths, style, interests and career motivations to enable us to focus on the careers that best suits them.
There are a lot of personality tests that you can try out online. 16personalities.com is a good site to start!
Module 4: Cover Letter and CV Review.
Our curriculum vitae play a major role in securing us job interviews and assessments in the recruitment process. A very lovely trainer, Ms. Anjali was brought in to guide us through the proper way of writing our resume and cover letter.
An effective cover letter should follow the basic format of a business letter and includes the 3 following categories; Introduction, Body and Conclusion. Cover letter tells a future employer a lot about an individual. Therefore, you should leverage yourself and get the most out of it.
We were also given detailed guidelines on how to write a resume. A resume creates the first impression of a candidate so do take note of the 7 must have items in your resume which are your; Personal Particulars, Education Background, Working Experience, Awards & Achievements, Extra Curricular Activities, Special Skills and Referees.
Module 5: Know Your Company.
It is important to know about the company you’re going to interview for. It exhibits your commitment to your future employers and that your decision to apply for the job was well considered.
After a long dinner break, we came back that night for the day’s final module where we had to do a little brainstorming session. Each group was assigned to do a comprehensive research of the industry and the companies that will be coming for the interview on the final day. We were then asked to present our findings to the whole room. In that way, everyone was helping each other out by equipping each other with relevant understanding of respective firms and companies and hence, prepare us for the interview.
The 5 significant things to learn about a company are:
1. Company mission statement and basic facts.
2. What sets the company apart from its competitors?
3. What is being said about the company in news and social media?
4. The structure of the company.
5. Who is in charge?
Everyone came back that morning for a final check of our interview documents. The trainers of TalentCorp were very kind to review our cover letter and resume before we head for the mock interview session that afternoon.
But before that!
Module 6: Interview Dos & Don’ts and Responding to Interview Questions.
Two vibrant and friendly representatives from RHB Bank gave us interviews do’s and don’ts that will help us stand out from other candidates. We discussed the types of job interviews we may encounter and the strategic planning on how to ace the 3 stages of a job interview i.e. pre-interview, during the interview, and after the interview.
After lunch, all of us went for the Mock Interview Session at Level 14. Lecturers from UiTM Puncak Alam and some of our own were kind enough to come on a Saturday to conduct the mock interview. Following each interview session, these lecturers would provide us some corrective feedbacks. They were given an assessment form to evaluate us on the criteria and competencies we should meet.
The mock interviewers also helped to highlight our strengths and shortfalls for us to work on before the actual interview.
Module 7: Unleashing Your Thinking.
This final module for the Employability Bootcamp is the most fun bit of the camp! That night, each and every single participant had to talk on critical topics that would encourage creativity and critical thinking in each participant. Much like Toastmasters’ table topic/impromptu speeches, participants were given the chance to stand in front of the room to choose from a list of different topics given and talk about it.
Sounds scary? It wasn’t!
Everyone was encouraging one another. Shy and timid participants had the full support of their peers to conquer their fear. A very shy participant in particular was brave enough to take the microphone and stand in front. We saw how much she was struggling to control her tears and trembles and her name was chanted in support. Amidst the tears, she succeeded at giving a short speech and it was a proud moment not just for her, but for us too.
This made it even more extensive, sure but what for?
Why, the job interviews, of course!
This was it. Nerves were spiking, foreheads were sweating – it’s normal when you have at least 4 job interviews to attend in a single day. Someone even had 7, would you believe it?
For those of you who were there, kudos to you for putting your best foot forward and trying to persuasively engage with your future employers!
At the risk of sounding like a cliché, you really should be yourself (a calmer version wouldn’t hurt) in these situations. I mean, if you try so hard to be someone else, you’re likely to be in for a tough and uneasy time when faced with seasoned professionals. Not only do they know how business works, they also know people.
Trust me, being yourself will help so much in the way you present yourself. Sure, you’d like to impress them but as long as it’s an all natural persona that you embody, it’s more likely to work. You’ll be as confident as you can possibly be and one step closer to successfully getting yourself employed!
Contributors: Farah Nadia, Siti Adibah and Alya Jasmine.