ONE of the best things a student can do to get a good job after graduation is to have a part-time job while studying, according to consultant Yim Meng Chhorn at recruitment company HR Inc Cambodia.
“If you are employed while you are studying and have a job already when you graduate, you can easily move to another job at a higher level with better pay. This is a competitive advantage for students who study and work at the same time,” Yim said.
HR Inc is Cambodia’s largest recruiting agency, located on Street 242 near the Singapore Embassy. HR Inc offers free help and career counseling for walk-ins who want to place their CVs into the HR database for getting a job. HR has 75 employees and was started in January 2005.
“What is the purpose of studying? To get a job. So why not get a job at the same time you study?” Yim said.
According to an employer branding survey HR conducted in 2008, some of the big employers Cambodians wanted to work for included ACLEDA Bank, British American Tobacco, Coca-Cola, ANZ Bank, Amret MFI, UNDP, World Vision, CARE International, Cambodia Brewery Limited and telecommunication companies such as Beeline. A new survey is now being conducted.
According to Suy Sokha, HR’s recruitment consultant, Cambodia’s job market is becoming more and more competitive.
“Employers are looking at the personality of the people and their soft skills – the ability to work with different people from different cultures – and language is also important,” Suy said.
The top three skills required by employers are communications, the ability to speak English and the ability to use computers, Suy and Yim agreed.
One of the biggest mistakes young Cambodians make when they show up for job interviews is not knowing who they are, Suy said.
“They put in the CV and sometimes they did not write it by themselves, and they don’t know what is in the CV, so when employers ask them, they don’t know who they are.”
Suy’s advice is: know who you are, know what’s on your CV and be honest about what you have done and what you can do.
“You should be able to talk about what you studied. You need to know your own skills, your strengths and weaknesses. If you cannot talk, people are not going to know you. Employers are looking for an honest type of personality.
“Some people are very good in communication, but if you tell a lie now, they will find out later.”
Suy said job seekers at interviews should let the employer know they are willing to learn and that they desire to be taught and gain experience.
Another important point is to be aware of the culture you’re in – whether it is a Khmer, Japanese, Chinese or European, American or Australian company – and be flexible and appropriate according to the prevailing cultural style.
“In Western culture you have the ability to say to the teacher: you are wrong. The child can say what he likes,” Yim said.
In Asian culture, however, it is a different story. It is important to shift tactics and mare sure the boss doesn’t lose face.
“Apply the style depending upon the culture you are in,” Yim said.
“It is about cross-cultural understanding and noticing which culture you are working in. Employers are also looking for critical thinking,” he said.
HR Inc offers a free service whereby job seekers can come in for an interview and bring an electronic or paper copy of their CV.
“This is a good experience for those who are not familiar with interviews – it can help people overcome the feelings of panic.”
Job seekers can go to HR Inc’s website at www.hrinc.com.kh and upload a CV and create a free account any time. They can also walk into the office any time during business hours and talk to recruitment officers.
“We will respond when we get your email and we will contact you,” Suy said.
HR Inc also conducts training and workshops in various universities in Cambodia in skills such as CV and letter writing. They’ll also be present at next weekend’s Job Fair and Career Forum on Diamond Island.
Starting from when young Cambodians finish high school and are faced with choices of selecting majors to study at university, Suy says study want you want, what you like.
“Job seekers must study hard in terms of their technical skills and at the same time they also need to improve their soft skills: group discussions, the opportunity to improve their teamwork and communication skills – and at the same time they have to build teamwork with other students. Be involved, do the networking and study smart,” Suy said.
Some of the schools that HR Inc likes, ones that tend to produce people that employers like, include the Institute of Foreign Language (IFL), which is part of the Royal University of Phnom Penn (RUPP).
“They teach Japanese, Korean and Chinese, and they produce a really good quality of language,” Suy said.
Another school is PUC, which specialises in English, but also has Korean classes.
Others include the Royal University of Law and Economics, with French and Khmer programmes, the University of Putaisastra with business, language and legal programmes, and the National University of Management (NUM).
HR Inc recommends CIST and PSE vocational training and DDD for computer skills.
Some of the growth sectors in the Cambodian economy include banking, telecoms, garments and services.
Suy recommends job seekers take a close look at the agriculture, health sciences, legal and engineering sectors for good job opportunities.
“Those are the four skills that high school students should study to have more chance. Doctors and nurses are needed in Cambodia. Also, when people set up factories, they can’t get supervisors in garment and manufacturing,” Suy said.