computer screen with stats

5 Skills You Should Learn To Boost Your Job Prospects

I know how frustrating it can be going for a job interview and trying to figure out what to put down as your expected salary. Should you put it at the most basic level, RM2000? Or try to shoot for the stars and write RM3000? We have heard plenty of horror stories of unpaid internships in Malaysia, or starting salaries of RM1800 before the KWSP deduction. All this talk about increasing unemployment rates has also made us want to stay in school longer.

Despite the 2019 Belajawanku stating that a public transport user spends at least RM1,870 or a single car owner at RM2,490 a month in Klang Valley, many know that these are both unlivable wages. Working 2-3 jobs has become the norm, and I hear your struggle. Hence, I have compiled a list of skills that can boost your resume and hopefully add another RM200 – RM600 to your monthly salary!


1. Coding

As daunting as coding may sound, it’s all about practice and committing yourself to learn an entirely new language. Think about it, you’ll be one of 23 million software developers in the world, and coding makes up only a portion of that sum. Albeit having to choose what type of programming language you want to go for, many software are multilingual so don’t worry about switching the types.

Be it C++ Language, C Language, Java or even Pascal, all programming languages are needed in this futuristic world we’re in today. It’s an in-demand job that is immune to recessive economies. The more experienced you are in your skills here, you can eventually teach freelance classes online or offline! If you didn’t know already, you can learn from rock bottom via online classes or YouTube. There are plenty of sites dedicated to it, like Code Academy or Pluralsight + Code School!
typing code on laptop

How does this add to your resume? The rarity of fluent coders works in your favour. You can also get your thinking cap on and build your own projects on GitHub, it’s a site where you can deploy and test your codes, share your open-source work and become part of a collaborative community of developers!


2. Graphic Design

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to be a skilled artist to start doing graphic design, a lot of color blind people are also in this field or have it as a skill too. Adding graphic design to your profile after having learnt it means you are adept at image manipulation, colour palette matching and conceptualizing ideas.

laptop with Adobe software

Although many jobs state they want employees with a certificate, diploma or degree for this skill, apply for it regardless if you have one. Also, watch out for job postings where they say ‘a degree or equivalent experience’ Bingo! A more direct green light for you to send your resume to them if you don’t have a higher education qualification. If you want to immerse yourself into this and learn how to start, you can easily get inspiration from time-lapse videos of art on YouTube, Instagram, DeviantArt and more!


3. Language

Look, some skills take time, but fluency in a certain language within 6 months is possible, it’s all about the amount of work you put in. You can always sign up for apps like Memrise, Duolingo or register for language classes to make things easier! Bear in mind that you don’t have to go as far as becoming a polyglot unless you want to. Even being bilingual or trilingual is sufficient, it all depends on what you want to do with the said language.

teachers talking in front of class
Source: Edutopia
Being able to converse in multiple languages makes you think that the only job you can do is being a translator. But what’s so bad about that? One Malaysian, Shah Azam worked so hard to the point that he ended up working as a translator for famous K-pop groups like Blackpink. You can also apply to be a subtitle translator for giants like Netflix or Iflix. Their average pay for say, a German, Korean or Japanese translator, goes for an estimated RM3000 to RM4000 per month.

In case your company has an extra job opening that you think you can do, just ask your boss if you can do that for a higher wage! One of the example jobs would be a global brand ambassador for a company, a community engagement manager, or even handling customer service. So, make it a point to learn 5 words a day and in a year you’ll be knocking down doors in a different language!


4. Video Editing

If you’re already doing graphic design or something similar, add more technical skills by learning how to do video editing! Everything from IGTV stories, YouTube videos, wedding footage or even movies need video editors. All sorts of video editors are in-demand, not just those who specialize in 3-D or VFX graphics.

girl working on computer

Many people have been known to be self-taught, especially in this particular area. You can also try to break the internet by introducing a new way of video editing, just like the popular glow animations for dance videos by Blotter Media! Just remember that most of these skills usually are in a niche market with high returns, for not many can afford the money to buy proper editing software or the time to learn.


5. Digital Analytics & Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

This one is a little tough cookie, but if you are someone whose interest suddenly peaked for the IT industry, then go for it! Learning digital analytics and search engine optimization ties a lot to business and marketing. Whichever one you decide to learn, the rest of the knowledge falls into your lap too!

Most people put their energy into learning how to use Google Analytics; if you don’t know what it’s about, learning digital analytics and SEO gives you the upper hand in understanding traffic metrics of a campaign, company or event. You will gain knowledge of the hidden consumer behaviour and traits, which in turn can be used to formulate a strategy for your client’s next big plan. However, if you’re more on the cusp of analytics and creativity, learning how to be a social media engagement manager is also something you can look into if you want more roles in the company!
computer screen with stats

To wrap up, do understand that despite me noting down the starting salaries for some skills above, these are all things you can add on top of the skills you already have. Also remember that if you are in a certain field, say, the media industry as a reporter, and your employer asks for you to regularly do another task not listed in your service contract, request for them to up your pay! Each of these skills should help to boost your desired salary, depending on your level of expertise and execution.

A realism artist and an aspiring filmmaker. She’s also a devotee to R&B music and an advocate for racial equality.

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