Bt Pea Vanchhay
BEING a junior at Pannasastra University of Cambodia, I feel fortunate that I have access to one of the top educational institutions in the country.
As just one of thousands of Cambodia undergraduates, I have exciting pictures and ideas of my future career in my mind.
To achieve my dreams, I think a high commitment to my work during the course of my degree is a basic tool for success. But, having observed the local job market recently it is clear it is becoming narrower due to the competitive nature of the times and the impact of the global economic crisis. However, the saying "learning to make yourself needed" remains a firm belief of mine.
This concern for my future, and especially my future career, has driven me to be more aware of the edge I can give myself in the competitive job market.
Attaining my desired job will involve much more than just gaining a certificate from a university - work experience is also in strong demand. It also seems an involvement with extracurricular activities such as volunteer work or training courses is an effective way to make yourself stand out from the crowd.
It was with these things in mind that I attended the Phnom Penh Post networking event, The Finishing Post, two weeks ago, and I must say it was a fascinating experience for a student like me.
Meeting potential employers from a variety of well-known organisations in Cambodia was a good chance to talk to them about their current labour needs.
I initially felt very reluctant to communicate with these employers as most of them were standing in the middle of the crowd and didn't seem interested in mingling with young Cambodians. For the first half hour I did not get a single business card from any corporate person.
I was feeling frustrated when one of my colleagues came over, gave me his business card and challenged me to double the number of business cards I had by the end of the night. I took up his challenge and by the evening's end I had three cards. Achieving this simple task gave me more confidence to attend similar events in the future.
I also learned that some potential employers have complaints about the capacity of Cambodian graduates. They wondered whether the low quality of the students was based on the students themselves, or the low quality of the educational institutions in Cambodia.
I suppose with such rapid development taking place in Cambodia currently - both in the business and social worlds - all we can do to prepare ourselves is to be ready and willing to adapt.
Pea Vanchhay is a 19-year-old business administration student in his second year at Pannasastra University of Cambodia. He is also the vice president of his university's local AIESEC committee, the world's largest youth leadership development organisation. To share your thoughts on education and careers in Cambodia, send an email to [email protected]