It’s no secret that many Malaysians are both underpaid AND underemployed*. You really have to stand out to secure the best jobs in Malaysia: the ones offering high salaries, great benefits, and (if you’re lucky,) work-life balance.
*Underemployed = ‘workers who are highly skilled but working in low-paying or low-skill jobs and part-time workers who would prefer to be full-time’ (Investopedia)
Wait, you say. I thought RMxxxx salary is the best I can get, as someone working in x industry.
No, your salary could be *much* higher. That’s because…
The best jobs in Malaysia exist in most, if not all industries
Browse through MalaysianPayGap on Instagram and see how much someone in your industry could be making.
No, seriously, spend some time looking through. It’s hard to find the motivation to increase your salary unless you realise you are underpaid. People earning RM7k and above salaries by mid-to-late 20s is not uncommon.
As mentioned, the competition to get these jobs is tight. You’ll need a combination of luck and skills to get them, but it may be a worthwhile endeavour especially if you’re not feeling appreciated or fulfilled in your current role.
(Yes, some people might get these jobs via connections. Focus on what you can control, or even better beat them at their own game.)
Here’s what you can do. You don’t have to do all, but the more, the better.
#1 – Update your CV / Resume
Obviously you have to update your CV / resume. What’s the difference? Here:
When was the last time you updated your CV and/or resume? If it’s been a while, do this first.
Yes, update your resume even if you are happy with your workplace and only ‘passively’ looking for a new job. Best case scenario, headhunters will reach out with a better offer. Why deny yourself this possibility?
Updating your resume will also make you realise how far you’ve gotten – you’ll have gained lots of experience and skills since you worked there. Bring this up in your next performance review, to negotiate for a higher salary increase.
Here are some resources for DIY resume writing:
- 5 resume tips to keep in mind (and mistakes to avoid!)
- 300+ Action Verbs, Power Words & Synonyms for Your Resume
#2 – Hire Resume Writing /Editing Service
Even if you prefer DIY resume writing, it’s not a bad idea to hire a professional resume writer or editor to review your resume, so that it’s the best version it can be.
You can book affordable resume writing/editing service from Fiverr. Just type in ‘resume writing’ or ‘resume editing’ and you’ll find a lot of options.
Note: This may not be a dealbreaker for some companies, but the higher the role you’re applying for, the more it matters. Make sure your CV uses the right version of English, ie use British English if you’re applying to UK/Malaysian companies, and American English if you are applying to American companies
#3 – Polish your LinkedIn profile
Kind of self-explanatory – LinkedIn is where you go to
brag post about work-related stuff. You can find lots of resources on Youtube.
There are lots of recruiters on LinkedIn, so don’t skip this! I personally know a few people who got better job offers, thanks to LinkedIn.
#4 – Reach out to Headhunters in your Industry
Aside from #1-3, there’s nothing wrong with being proactive. Reach out to headhunters in your industry and put yourself on their radar. Their job is to find talent for companies (usually big ones), so make their job easier.
Resumewriter.my, a resume writing service provider published a great list of headhunters in Malaysia, sorted by industry and complete with contact details.
P/s – DO NOT just email with your CV and say you want a new job, that’s rude.
#5 – Book Job Interview Coaching Service
When you have opportunities lined up – either via recruiters or via your own job search – you’ll probably need to go through an interview process. Nothing wrong with practicing the interview ahead of time.
Even better, do a practice session with a professional. You can book affordable job interview practice sessions from Fiverr. Type in ‘job interview’ or ‘interview coaching’ and you’ll find a lot of options.
#6 – Follow Career Coaches
There are lots of career coaches across different social media platforms. Many of them offer free content and paid coaching services.
Note: Experience > certification, but certification matters too. In the world of professional coaching, certification from International Coaching Federation carries weight. One person I know of who carries the title (as she stated on her website) is Professional Career Coach Mei Phing.
Look through her Instagram and you can find how she successfully helped people find the best jobs in Malaysia (and beyond).
#7 – Create an online portfolio to compile/show your work
Writers, designers, coders, photographers, artists, professionals across all industries – do you have an online portfolio? If no, you might want to make one. It’s a great tool to show (not tell) how good you are at what you do.
There are free and paid options for creating an online portfolio.
[FREE option] Use social media as online portfolio
- Use Instagram (Business account) to display your design/photo/ art work
- Use Facebook Page to share links/ pictures of your work
- Use Twitter to share unique insights you have on your industry
[FREE option] Use specific platforms as online portfolio
- Use Github if you’re a coder
- Use Flickr if you’re a photographer
- Use DeviantArt if you’re an artist
- Use Canva’s Free Online Portfolio Maker (paid option available)
- And more
[PAID option] Your own website
You don’t *have* to have a website, but it is true that not many people have one, so you’ll stand out.
I have a HUGE bias for Wordpress (dotorg not dotcom) so that’s my recommendation. You can sign up for Wordpress Hosting from website providers like Bluehost or Exabytes. The price varies depending on range of services and length but allocate around ~RM1000 or so for ~3 years service.
Otherwise, you can also pay around RM50 or so per month for website builders like Wix and Squarespace.
Again, you don’t *have* to have a website. Start with free options – what you put in your online portfolio matters more than where it is.
Ready to search for the best jobs in Malaysia for yourself?
As mentioned in my 3 Ways to Get High Salary in Malaysia, Regardless of Your Background article, job hopping is the best way to get a significant salary increase, but salary is not everything. Doing #1-7 on the other hand can help you find jobs that give you fulfilment as well as compensation.
All the best in your search to find the best jobs in Malaysia. And for those of you who have found your dream jobs, would love to hear how you found them. Share your tips and experiences in the comments section below!