Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Something for everyone - EUROFILE By CHOI TUCK WO

Credits to the The Star Online!

The Year of the Tiger has started and joining in the festivities to usher it in were prancing lion dance troupes as well as a touring dinosaur exhibition right in London’s bustling Oxford Street.

IT may well be the Year of the Metal Tiger but lions were on the prowl and dinosaurs went unleashed in London.

Easy, Tiger! There’s nothing to worry about. It’s just that colourful lion dances and animatronic dinosaurs dwarfing double-decker buses have invaded the city centre.

Yes, it’s the Chinese New Year 2010 celebrations. And joining in the festivities were prancing lion dance troupes as well as a touring dinosaur exhibition right in bustling Oxford Street.

Despite the fearsome feline’s notoriety, this year may not see Tiger Woods dominating saucy headlines as has happened the past few months.

But then again, the Tiger Year could see a nail-biting roller-coaster ride for Gordon Brown as he braces for the toughest elections of his lifetime.

Whether it could signal the dawning of a new era remains to be seen. The British premier is not about to hand over the keys to Number 10 without a fight.

In fact, the Labour party appears to be closing in on the Conserva­tives in the latest polls, as the widely-expected May elections draw nearer.

Whatever the outcome, Tiger years often herald unpredictable and chaotic times, with the big bold cat bringing its own sense of uproar.

As one fengshui master predicted, this is a year to move ahead with caution. Like the tiger, approach your goal steadily before pouncing on it to avoid falling into a trap.

By the same token, do not be devoured by the ferocious beast. The clash between the metal and wood energies could, however, be cushioned by abundance of water.

Well, some may dismiss such talk as fortune cookie stuff. Ride the volatile tiger if you dare.

Spectacular fireworks

For the Malaysian Chinese community in Britain, many took the opportunity to lo hei (tossing the yee sang) at home or eat out at restaurants, especially those offering prosperity dishes.

There were also those who visited their relatives and friends or offered prayers at temples to usher in the lunar Year of the Tiger.

At the London Fo Guang Temple, the Malaysian abbess, Venerable Chueh Ru Shih, led mass prayers to bid farewell to the past year and welcome the new one.

There was also a New Year’s eve food fair offering a variety of delightful vegetarian dishes including Malaysian “rendang”, “satay” and “chicken rice.”

Located near London’s Chinatown, the temple is popular not just with Malaysian devotees but also those from Singapore, Hong Kong, China and Vietnam.

And the Chinese New Year celebrations continue today with a parade showcasing an array of colourful dragon and lion dances, acrobatics and entertainers starting from The Strand at 11am.

Despite the freezing weather, thousands of people are expected to watch the procession which will end at about noon at Trafalgar Square where a symbolic opening ceremony will be held.

This will be followed by performances from various groups including those from Shanghai, the Qinghai and Kunming provinces, Sichuan Art Troupe and Central Ethnic Song and Dance Ensemble.

There will also be dragon and lion dance displays as well as stunning acrobatic performances.

London’s Chinatown will be bustling with festive decorations, stalls and fabulous food while Shaftes­bury Avenue becomes a mini Hong Kong with stage performances by local artistes.

A spectacular fireworks display in Leicester Square will round off the celebrations this evening.

With more than 300,000 people turning up for last year’s celebrations, there’s no doubt it is one of the biggest and most colourful festivities outside China.

Open house

As part of the nationwide celebration, the China in London festival will appeal to art lovers, with art, culture, music, cuisine and literature from China brought right to the British capital.

With a wealth of exciting events and ways to get involved, there is something for everyone to learn and enjoy about Chinese culture.

The activities range from martial arts demonstrations, acrobatics and food to Chinese cinema, Chinese art and dances across London.

For Chap Goh Meh next Sunday, the Malaysian Students Department is inviting all Malaysian students in Britain to a Chinese New Year Open House at Malaysia Hall.

The event, including a lion dance performance and tossing of the yee sang, will be held between 1pm and 5pm at the premises in London’s Bayswater.

The Tiger Year will also be roaring with activities as far as the United Kingdom and Eire Council for Malaysian Students (www.ukeconline.com) is concerned.

Next month will see Britain’s biggest Malaysian job fair, the UKEC-Graduan Career Fair, to be held at University College London from March 28 to 30.

It’s the place to tap the best brains for the job market for the annual event receives over 1,000 CVs from students studying in top universities across the country.

Other upcoming activities include the thought-provoking Projek Amanat Negara conference, UKECatalyst Speakers Series, Amazing Race: London Edition and a Medical Forum called The Path Ahead.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Sell Yourself Through Your Resume

Do’s and Don’ts for an effective resume

There’s a whole publishing industry dedicated to writing resumes, on the Net and in print. Even a short surf will reveal many sites. Some of them say the same old thing.

For sure, there is only so much you can do with your resume at the end of the day. However, you can certainly make it look better than just ok. Creating an outstanding resume isn’t difficult, but it does require some careful thought. It requires analysis of your strengths, some organization and definitely some creativity.

First things first, though. Below we highlight some key points to help you understand what goes into a resume and how it should look.

What’s the difference between a resume and a CV?

There is no real difference, except the first is a French word used commonly today in companies that use American English. The CV is originally a Latin word, and is used more frequently in British companies.

Today however, internationalisation and globalisation have made the word resume the most commonly used term. Most companies tell us they don’t particularly care what word you use. What’s more important is the information it reveals about you.

It’s not to get you the job

Remember this: the resume is not supposed to get you the job; it’s only to get you the face-to-face interview. Experienced recruiters – when they see a resume for the first time – will scan it in less than one minute UNLESS something in it makes them want to read further.

So, here are some pointers that highlight skills (compiled from our own experience as well conversations with CEOs, MDs and HR Directors – to help make your resume stand out. Take note that these skills go beyond the academic qualification.

Highlight key skills

Most employers look for evidence of leadership, teamwork, commitment, innovation and communication skills. They also want a positive attitude, and someone who shows they are willing to learn and not disdainful of doing menial tasks.

Not your life story, please!

A resume is a summary of your education and experience, not your entire life story. It is meant to highlight your potential as a valuable employee. Obviously, as a fresh graduate you may not have as much to say compared to an experienced person. But that doesn’t mean you exaggerate your abilities.

Length does matter

Some companies prefer one-page resumes, and more conventional formats. Others look for resumes that look and sound different. It really depends on the company and the industry, so do your homework. In general, however, they all like it short and easy to scan. For a fresh graduate, keep it to a maximum of two pages.

Use action verbs

These are action words like initiated, implemented, planned, managed, organised, analysed, participated, performed, assisted and prepared. They are very effective. Avoid saying you were ‘involved’ in something as it is a vague word and suggests you did not play a significant role in the activity – and therefore did not learn much from the experience.

Get the language right

All the enthusiasm in the world won’t help, if you letter is full of spelling mistakes and bad grammar. Unfortunately, an astonishing number of resume’s received by the private sector today are full of them. If you are not confident about your English, get someone to help you. Even if at the interview, the interviewer notices your lack of fluency in English, he/she will be impressed that you took the effort to ensure your written resume was impeccable. It reveals that you are willing to ask for help and want to improve, two great attitudes to have!

Use numbers to your advantage

Numbers are powerful and here are some examples you can use:

* Recruited 20 volunteers to help in the Annual Inter-Varsity Ball
* Managed 5 committees to plan for the National Debate Competition
* Interviewed 10 companies to write a 3,000-word article on the impact of the SARS epidemic on tourism for the college magazine
* Presented the weekly 30-minute campus radio call-in show that has an audience of 1,000 students


Your education is the first criteria of consideration for a potential employer, but it’s not the only decisive factor. Your primary school does not need to be included. As a fresh graduate, you probably will need to list your secondary school information – keep it short though, highlighting any special prizes or achievements.

Listing of courses

There is no need to list every single course you have studied at university/college. Just highlight the ones relevant to the job you’re applying for. Remember to include courses that are also not directly related to your major area of study, but show that you are multi-disciplinary skills. For example, if you have a degree in engineering, it would be good to show that you have taken subjects in Finance, Marketing, or Mass Communications.

Listing extra-curricular activities

Extra-curricular activities are an important reflection of how well-rounded a person you are. This shows that you have interests beyond just studying. Extra-curricular activities are excellent to show teamwork, leadership, competitiveness and communication skills – which are valued by employers. Extra-curricular activities would include any activity outside of university/college hours. (‘Lepak’, however, is not such an activity!”).

Highlighting achievements

If you won 1st place in a Talent Competition, or were Captain of the Football Team, these should definitely go on your resume under the heading Achievements. Even if you weren’t in a leadership position, but were on winning team, that’s important information. Also, if you didn’t win a talent competition, your participation shows initiative and courage and a fun personality. Do not underestimate the value a prospective employer sees in such activities.

Special skills

These would include additional skills you have such as being able to speak more than one language, fluency in sign language, or any other specific technical skills.

Look Alive!

It is common practice in Malaysia for employers to ask job applicants to send photographs. This is not necessarily the practice in other countries. If asked for a photograph, it means the way you look is an important criteria for employment. Get a good photograph taken – not one that makes you look like a suspect in a police line-up!

Many photographs we see show people who look bored, listless or half-dead! Make the effort to look alive and intelligent! And don’t forget to Smile!

Personal information

In Malaysia, it is common for prospective employers to ask for personal information like your weight, height, race, religion and marital status. This, however, is slowly going out of style. Also, just because most people include it in their resume’s, it doesn’t mean you have to. This is something you have to decide for yourself.


Many job vacancy postings give you no idea of the salary; instead it asks the applicant to state the expected salary. The best thing is to ask around. Do some research and find out what companies are generally offering fresh graduates.


Always include references. Don’t say Available Upon Request. If you want the job, then make every effort to ensure your resume is as complete as possible. Provide copies of important certificates, references, recommendations and samples of your work. For references, always include their full name, title and contact telephone numbers. Also, make sure you have their permission to use them as a referee.

Read more: http://www.graduan.com.my/Page/LearningCenter/BeforeInterview/Sell-Yourself-Through-Your-Resume#ixzz0fyUl70f5