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Media, Journalism, and Publishing
Incredibull On Social Media
Joanne Ho-Lee is part of the team that curates the content and sets the tone of Red Bull Malaysia’s online presence. The gradmalaysia team caught up with her for a quick interview at a fancy café as she walked us through the pathway that led her to arrive at this point in her career.
Tell us a bit about where you started.
I majored in Digital Media and graduated from Multimedia University (MMU). When I was in university, Facebook wasn’t even in existence yet. There is a vast difference between what we know of social media nowadays and what it was back in the day. Prior to even entering my major, I was already designing websites commercially, so I thought Digital Media would be a natural extension to sharpen my skills.
So where are you currently working right now?
I am engaged by Red Bull Media House to handle the social media accounts for the Malaysian market. We are the forefront of everything digital. Because of the nature of my work, I work independently and have adopted a nomadic career lifestyle. I’m not required to be in the office except when there are meetings to attend. Most of the communication is done via emails and on the occasional video call. It works in my favor that my entire job revolves around social media and my work progress can be tracked digitally through a dashboard. Many of my friends hate me for this! I can travel anywhere in the world at any given time, as long as I am able to get the job done. It allows me the freedom and flexibility to engage in other projects.
What does a social media specialist do?
As a social media specialist, my job isn’t as simple as just handling Facebook pages. I carry the responsibility to grow the channel and to sustain and increase our engagement levels by the day, week and month. The number of shares is very important to us because it translates to the number of people who are actually proud of what we do. We see it as our fans taking a sense of ownership on what Red Bull does.
What are the key skills or attitude required to soar as a social media specialist?
You need to have video editing skills! It’s no longer only about writing well. You need to be able to craft and package your content in an interesting and appealing manner. Traditionally, you could drop a link, add a visual and post it up to get heaps of views, but in today’s digital world, that’s not going to take you anywhere unless you back it up with money. You need to learn to balance your priorities. Another necessary requirement lies in acknowledging your weaknesses and being humble enough to learn on the job. Keeping an open mind to keep learning things is pivotal for any job, not just mine!
What are the best and worst bits about your job?
The best bit is the fact that I get to be on Facebook all the time because I’m constantly ‘researching’. I’m also on Instagram a lot – to follow up on the latest trends and to stay updated with what other brands are doing.The worst bit about my job is that I’m always on Facebook! It’s so easy to get lost in the world of memes and kittens! Therefore it’s very important to stay focused to meet my objectives. After all, it is my job.
To be honest, being on my phone all the time isn’t a good thing either. It’s getting more and more socially unacceptable by the day. However, the urge to track the progress of a recently updated post is commonly too great to ignore. It’s so difficult to detach and disengage myself from work because I get notifications on my phone all the time!
What advice would you give to graduates who are about to step into the working world?
Making connections is key, but that’s just helping you to get the foot in the door. You need to back it up with hard work and genuine effort. You should go out and meet more people – be sure to make genuine connections. You never know who you would meet that might lead you to better career opportunities.
Don’t limit yourselves to traditional jobs as the world is progressing at a really quick pace with artificial intelligence and technology. You have to update your knowledge consistently to stay relevant and keep up when new roles are created. Take my job for an example – there was no such thing as a social media ‘anything’ when I graduated.
On Air. Online. On Point.
Jaideep Patel checks the pulse of the radio industry with CEO of Astro Radio Datuk Jake Abdullah.
Meeting Datuk Jake in person is an experience in itself. After all, the man stands at six feet tall and is seemingly built entirely of muscle. This hulking figure has been a mainstay of the local radio industry for over 20 years, having started off as Jakeman, the DJ who has grown to become a household name in Malaysia.
Datuk Jake’s larger-than-life persona extends beyond the realm of radio. This family man and father of three also happens to be a social media celebrity amongst Malaysian fitness enthusiasts with close to 22,000 followers on his Instagram account @jakeabdullah.
Talk to us about your relentless work ethic.
People always ask me what my secrets are, but the plain and simple answer is this: I don’t give up. I will keep getting up each time I fall down. It’s as simple as that. I just work hard. This tenacity has been built in me by my mother, who used to tell me ‘Don’t let anybody tell you you’re not good enough.’
I also live my life by my simple ‘do five good deeds a day’ philosophy. I’ve developed this habit within myself, and I have trained my staff to follow this as well. I just recently instilled this within my daughter, who I told to take six months off from university. She took the time to become a waitress, learning how to take orders and clean tables. It has developed her character, as it has mine.
How has radio changed over the last 20 years?
The fundamental difference, as I see it, is that radio has moved from being just a platform to a content provider and aggregator. It is agnostic of any one platform. For instance, most of our listenership today comes from mobile devices. Some of the things we do aren’t even radio-centric. For a network of radio stations, we actually create more video content than audio content. When we first started off, we had one videographer. Now our digital team consists of 64 people!
A recent example would be LiteFM’s Steve & Shaz’s Hoarders which gathered over two million views. It’s all about telling a good story. When it comes to that bit, radio hasn’t changed at all. But it is a whole lot more than what it was, thanks to things like tech disruption and social media. This also means it can reach out to even more people, which is a testament to how powerful radio still is as a medium. Moving forward, our ethos is that we want people to ‘watch radio’.
What kind of people are right for being on-air?
I’m glad you asked this because I still train people to this day! First and foremost, you need to be able to tell a story. You need to be articulate. I always tell my on-air talents to be themselves: if you speak one way when you’re on-air, and then speak another way when you’re off-air, then you are detached. Don’t try to be someone you are not.
The good news is that no one is born a storyteller. You learn from your life experiences. In my case, my years as an announcer has helped me with public speaking, which is a skill I employ when I give guest lectures at universities. The bottomline is this: you must be a great storyteller. That is the only prerequisite for a job in radio. You must know how to seek out the exciting bits and filter out the boring stuff to keep the listeners and viewers engaged 24-7.
Do you think Malaysian graduates are prepared for the radio industry?
I would look for someone who brings value to the table, by being able to think differently from the way I do. I believe this comes down to education: a more holistic form of education with greater emphasis on social skills and interaction.
What I would also like to see happen more frequently in the near future is companies taking in more interns from an earlier stage of their tertiary education – perhaps from the first year onwards – to give them real-life working experience. I started off in this industry as an announcer some 21 years ago. Similarly, about half of my current staff today have worked their way up from junior positions.
What would be your final words of advice to gradmalaysia.com readers?
Work with something you are passionate about. When you do work that you enjoy, you are fulfilled. I love fitness, I love music, I love entertainment. I have always pursued things that I like doing. I’ve been doing this for 21 years and I wouldn’t change any of it for the world.
On top of that, the thing that I believe people get wrong sometimes is the concept of time management, which is an oxymoron. ‘Time management’ doesn’t exist. You can only manage yourself, so just do that and you will start seeing positive outcomes in your life.
Life On The Job: Make-up Artist
Summer Chew, a make-up artist tells gradmalaysia.com readers what it's like to be in her shoes!
What will I do?
The job scopes out there are plenty – depending on what piques your interest. You may be a make-up artist for high fashion magazines, fashion runways, TV, movies or music videos, for brides, red carpet events, celebrities’ personal make-up artist or teaching make-up at schools. You may even be a YouTuber!
Is it for me?
First and foremost, you need to be interested in art. Basic skills especially knowledge in colour and face proportion are very important. It is okay if you are not good at drawing on a piece of paper but keep practising and you’ll get there.
Secondly, you would need to learn the type of products you will be using for specific clients. Think of yourself as a chemist understanding his apparatus to prevent a mishap. This is very important because this is someone’s face you are handling.
Thirdly, interpersonal skills are important as a make-up artist. It is important to be able to comfortably interact with them face to face. Pun intended. Having good people skills is a bonus after assuring them with a portfolio, will keep clients coming back.
So, here are some questions you can ask yourself if this job is for you!
- Are you passionate in art or just make-up specifically?
- Are you comfortable with strangers?
- Are you comfortable with spontaneity?
- Are you good with being under time pressure?
- Are you a team player?
What is the most enjoyable part of the job?
After all the back and forth communication during the planning stage, you would have a clear vision of the look the client wishes to create with you. However, there will be inevitable pop up challenges that would require improvisations to be made at the eleventh hour. These new improvisations – that no eyes have ever seen before – are fresh ideas from the top of your mind at that given moment.
It is the excitement during this journey that is the most enjoyable part of the job. The thrill of seeing your hard work on video, photo or a magazine for the first time or seeing the look of awe on a bride’s beautiful face during her wedding. The thrill of working together with a team to bring an abstract idea into concrete reality is my favourite part of what I do. It is really fulfilling in bringing out the best in people through beauty.
Who will employ me?
Your clients would include those in the media industry, like Astro and magazines like Vogue. Cosmetic brands like Bobby Brown, Nars, Inglot are always looking for make-up artists.
You have a sea of potential clients from all walks of life, some of which would include: fashion designers for their runways, singers, celebrities, or regular people attending red carpet events or exclusive functions.
How much will I earn?
Based on my research, the lowest can be at US$24,000 to as high as US$100,000 per year or higher with the overseas market included.
You can do freelancing as well but always start with a company to save up first. Once you have a steady stream of clients, only then should you consider coming out to do freelancing as a permanent job.
How can I specialise in this line of work?
Academically, once you decide what industry you wish to work for, you should start looking for courses that cater to the kind of skill you want to specialise in.
For the movie industry, you can look in SFX skills that specialises in character building like Captain Jack Sparrow or monsters like Teen Wolf, Harry Potter or Lady Gaga’s alien looks.
For the fashion industry, you can look into make-up that caters specifically to photo shoots and runways. You’ll also be learning history of make-ups from the oldies to the millennium.
For the bridal industry, it specialises more on the natural look. The products you are taught to use could be different depending on the schools. Air brushing is also one of the skills that is very popular now. Hair service should be included as it is the norm here in Malaysia to be provided together.
What advice do you have for graduates?
It’s a job that is always changing in trend yet it is an oxymoron delight; where it is always different with the seasons, but always comes back in a circle with a modern twist.
Life On The Job: Graphic Designer
Kelly Loh, a graphic designer tells gradmalaysia.com readers what it's like to be in her shoes!
How were your university days?
I've always been fascinated about art and design so naturally choosing a design course was the right step forward to achieve my future goals as a designer. Therefore, I took a design course that I felt was perfect for me, which was further backed by a national scholarship.
How did you choose your career?
Design is my passion. I have had a love for art since I was a kid and am able to express myself better through design. To be able to choose a career that I love means a great deal to me. Like Steve Jobs once said, 'Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.'
What's your role at work?
As a graphic designer at Worthy Media, I create visuals to communicate a specific message. I am given a brief, which states a problem to solve, or a specific outcome that needs to be achieved. I will then collect information and analyse it to figure out the best solution that can be executed visually.
Share some of the more fascinating bits of your job.
I love the challenges I get every day! There is always something new daily and I always believe knowledge is power. At Worthy Media, I am given the responsibility to make sure that every artwork that is released are aesthetically pleasing and functional.
What are the essential skills required to do your job?
I believe one of the most important skills to have is the ability to speak, live and breathe Adobe or at least have basic knowledge on Illustrator, Photoshop & InDesign. You also need people skills - the ability to communicate with clients is very important as well. Lastly, you need talent to be able to instinctively exercise good judgement on visual communication elements such as shape, scale, colour, typography, etc.
Any future plans?
I plan to gain as much experience and knowledge in my field and grab any opportunity available for me. I will continue learning through seminars and talks, and maybe one day, I will obtain my Master's degree. Bagging a few awards would be great too.
What advice would you share with graduates?
You need to be passionate about your work. Love what you do and do what you love. Being a graphic designer isn't just about drawing and making things look beautiful. There's a lot of thinking and brainstorming behind it. Don't be afraid to fail, take it as a learning opportunity to gain maturity as a designer.
Life On The Job: Event & Sales Manager
Edmund Tan, an event and sales manager at Worthy Media, tells gradmalaysia.com readers what it's like to be in his shoes!
What did you do at university?
I majored in Computer Studies. Back then, I really loved computers, tech and of course PC assembling. One of the modules, Project Management, influenced me a lot, because it inculcated problem-solving skills which come in really handy when I handle projects or events today.
Why did you choose a career in your field?
I enjoy challenges and being in sales and events excites me every day. One of the major attractions of joining this field is the people – I enjoy meeting our fans and listening to their feedback motivates me. Not to mention, I enjoy working with a core team of people who are amazing and make things work at Worthy Media.
What do you do in your job?
At Worthy Media, I plan, secure and execute roadshows in conjunction with events, talks, runs, at colleges, universities, office buildings and shopping malls. These involve sourcing for events strategically, negotiating win-win scenarios with event organisers, preparing sponsorship items, planning and organising for promoters and marketing collaterals, and most importantly, generate sales!
What do you like most about your job?
Aside from being the first-liner to our customers and the satisfaction of contributing to an ambitious and growing company, actually there are many other things that I like about my job, including the casual-wear environment (with plenty of bean bags), colleagues (young and awesome), monthly team outings (eg ice skating, movies, karaoke, etc) where we have fun and bond together and a cosy workplace where everyone cares for one another.
What skills do you consider to be essential for your job?
- Communication skills
- Organisation skills
- An energetic and ‘can-do’ attitude.
What are your future plans?
My future plans will be to:
- Increase Worthy Media’s roadshow frequency and sales by multiples.
- Lead the roadshow sales team to greater heights.
- Continually improve and be the best in my field.
My advice to students who are considering a sales/events role to keep in mind:
- Do or do not, there is no try.
- Nothing is impossible.
- Keep a healthy and balanced lifestyle, as work is a marathon, not a sprint.
Self-branding: Building Marketability!
How do you create your own personal brand? Keith Lai from Taylor’s Education group talks to Joanna Mary on the key principles that graduates should follow to build a good brand for themselves.
What is self-branding?
It is how you portray yourself. It is how you market yourself. It is how others remember you.
As aptly described by Keith Lai, Strategic Recruiter for Taylor’s Education Group, ‘self-branding allows others to associate you with the appropriate adjectives, ie, intelligent, larger-than-life, well read, etc. In other words, your self-brand becomes your reputation.’
How you carry yourself when you walk into an interview is important as first impressions always counts. From your handshake to the way you answer the questions and complete the tasks give, Keith pointed out that each step carves your ‘brand’ in the mind of the interviewer. Through your actions, recruiters can immediately gauge if you are serious about the position and if you are a good fit to their present team.
Are you beginning to see the importance of marketing yourself correctly but you have no clue what to do next? Here is a summary of a few points to keep in mind when creating a brand for yourself.
A good brand is not built overnight. Think of some of your favourite brands; Coca Cola, Guess, Nike, etc. It took these companies time, money, lots of planning and ideation before they created household names for themselves. The very same principles apply to you as well – branding takes time and effort!
Keith suggested that as an individual, you need to reflect on your aims and goals: ‘What defines you as an individual?’, ‘What makes you perform your best?’ People often have varying personalities: some are extroverts, quick thinkers on their feet and excellent team players; others, maybe not so much. You need first understand which end of the spectrum you stand in, and then, cleverly position yourself to showcase your best abilities.
The different roles you take on come together to create an image which portrays your brand.
Many students fail to see the importance of building their credentials outside of the classroom. Instead of remaining solely focused on your grades, you need to also be involved in extra-curricular activities. For example, if you hold a leadership role in a student body or perhaps you have participated in an inter-college business competition, it would be safe to assume that you have some exposure to the working environment, and you potentially have built up on your communication, research or leadership skills.
The different roles you take on come together to create an image which portrays your brand. Students who go above and beyond their call of duty stand out from the rest, and they are the ones who get hired. If you dream of working for top employers, start thinking like you are already working for them. Go into an interview sounding intelligent – read on the latest industry trends and equip yourself with market knowledge – this will help you make an irresistible impression!
Based on his experience in recruitment, Keith shared that the tenets of good branding hinge on reliability and truthfulness. You need to be consistent in the picture that you paint of yourself, ie, what you say during an interview must also be reflected on your résumé. In addition, you must also be careful of how you present yourself. Do not use the term ‘love volunteering’ when you have had only ONE experience under your belt – it does not justify the use of the word ‘love’, and it comes across as you selling yourself too high (which can be a turn off for some recruiters).
Forget about big talks and over impressions, instead, let your experiences do the talking while you focus on showcasing your talents and skills. The most important is to head to the interview prepared to answer any questions thrown at you. You must be able to explain about the long gaps in-between jobs, or on why you decided to take an interim year off. Throughout the interview, the assessor will be trying to gauge how reliable are you as a person, and by confidently addressing these questions (or any other) will paint you in a positive light.
Give those selfies and food picture uploads a break, but instead, use social media as a job-hunting tool. The face of communication has changed since the rise of social media and employers are keeping their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts updated to stay relevant and to reach out to the right crowd.
‘Social media, in a way, has made job search easier as employers can now directly target the candidates they prefer,’ said Keith. He went on to explain that in Malaysia, there is plenty of room for online growth as the market is still in the early stages and companies are beginning to invest more on these platforms which is beneficial to both job seekers and recruiters, citing the Taylor’s Career Page as an example of the type of online tools available.
On the other hand, Keith cautioned against those who ‘spam apply’ to jobs without taking the time to understand what is required of the position. Simply applying for a position does nothing to showcase that you are the best fit for the job, and without that element, recruiters will quickly lose interest in your application. Instead of being ‘click-happy’, Keith advised graduates to read and carefully understand the position, apply only if the job interests you, and tailor your application to showcase how your skills match what the employer wants.
Still need help?
You can get additional help and expert advice:
- at your university’s career centre
- through visiting career fairs
- by attending career related workshops
- from your mentor, family, friends or relatives
- by directly engaging employers and gaining feedback.