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“It’s Not You, It’s Me”: When Opposite Don’t Attract

“Opposites attract” is an old relationship trope, but when it comes to “attracting” a potential employer, this isn’t necessarily true. In essence, you know what you’re looking for, but are employers looking for what you have?

A report published on The School-to-Work Transition of Young Malaysians (Khazanah Research Institute, 2018) found that there is a clear mismatch between the academic and professional qualification emphasised by general Malaysian education and higher learning institutions, and the requirements of employers, who favour aspects such as soft skills and creativity.

So if you’re in the market for a job, we recommend bulking up on these 5 key proficiencies that Malaysian employers find valuable in their new recruits.

Language Proficiency

Speaking, writing and communicating in English is a common pre-requisite, but increasingly, globally-attuned companies are seeking individuals who are proficient in either a local dialect like Mandarin or Tamil, or a foreign language such as Korean, Japanese or Spanish. Yes, you can convert those hundreds of hours binging Kdramas into a valuable self-marketing advantage! Hwaiting!

People Skills

While technology enables us to connect with people more quickly and easily than ever before, it can also become a crutch when it comes to proper communication, social interaction and relationship building. In a work environment, you will have to deal with people on a regular basis, both within and outside your organisation, and effective interpersonal skills can make it significantly easier for you.

Digital & IT Competency

Whatever job you’re applying for, chances are you will need to know your way around a computer, tablet and smartphone. Over and above that, a niche digital skillset is a great advantage. Social media savvy, photography and video editing skills, community building, content creation and a flair for analytics all look good on any resumé. Better yet, take short courses or workshops to get actual certification, and you’ll find more employers DMing you.

Critical Thinking Ability

Today’s generation is possibly the most educated ever, with unprecedented access to information and learning resources. Media oversaturation, reliance on technology and a host of other factors, however, has led to a dearth in critical thinking and problem-solving ability. Beyond common sense (which has become, in fact, uncommon), employers are more likely to choose individuals who are active listeners and observant, can objectively assess situations and problems, are able to make decisions rationally and logically, have the ability to self-reflect and self-motivate, and essentially think for themselves.


No matter what position you may be filling, chances are you will have to work with others to get the job done. Team dynamics are important to most organisations, and having the flexibility, maturity and open-mindedness to relate to – and work effectively with – your counterparts in a company is a huge advantage. That doesn’t mean mindlessly conforming to what everyone else is doing; in fact, the most sought-after team players are those who are exceptional in their own right, and are able to elevate the performance of the entire team by being exactly who they are. You know, like the Avengers.

While the best way to find out exactly what an employer is looking for is to communicate directly with them, job seekers are rarely given the opportunity to do this. KABEL, the new human-centric job-matching app, attempts to change this by providing job seekers a platform to chat directly with hirers, on top of other powerful, people-focused features. Try it out now here, and here’s to finding your (job) match made in heaven.

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