Four Skills That Employers Look For In Asia
Editor - CoolAvenues | April 02,2014 03:34 pm IST
So, you have graduated from your MBA education, and now, you feel that you are ready for great challenges ahead. How can you convey to your future employers that you are the right candidate but not the one sitting next to you?
There are four skills that employers would look for when they are screening for new recruits:
1) Communication skills
Working and interacting with people across functions and departments is a key part of any MBA graduate job in Asia.
In any workplace, you will need to communicate, verbally and in writing, with many types of people. As a result, excellent communication skills are vital to a successful career in Asia, because you will be dealing with people from a range of diverse countries and backgrounds.
Different cultures and work practices will require you to be patience and perseverance. It is very important to listen, observe and to ask for clarification, when you don’t understand something.
You can demonstrate these skills by giving clear and well though-out responses to questions on application forms. When replying to questions during an interview, be concise when giving relevant examples that demonstrate you skills and achievement.
2) Team work and Leadership
Yes, you need both - team work skills and leadership potential. Some will argue that a good leader is not necessary a good team player and vice versa. It is sometime difficult to demonstrate that even though you are a great team player at work, you are also a great leader.
However, business reality requires us to work well in a team, and this is especially true in Asia. Unless you are going to work with machines the entire day, you will need to work with people, and work well. As a result, the ability to work well in a team becomes essential. This is especially true for larger organizations where people work together in local, international, and cross-cultural or remote teams on projects and in their daily work.
On the same note, employers always like leaders. This is because every company needs “drivers”, but not “passengers”. They require drivers to lead changes, but not passengers who only know how to follow procedures. Come to think about it, this is what your MBA education has taught you for the past 12 months right? Teaching you to take lead, in-charge and create transformation changes, don’t they?
Without doubt, language skills are very important. As the business market becomes more international and globalize, organizations are dealing with more cross-border clients and projects. This has consequence for how leading firms do their recruitment - many employers today require all levels of staff to speak and write in good English. In an international workplace, staff needs to be able to communicate with each other, as well as with clients and colleagues from different countries.
It is also beneficial to speak in the local business language if you intend to fly high in Asia. For instance, the ability to speak well in Mandarin while working in China is vital if you want to close your business deals. In fact, I would go beyond to suggest that not only you have to speak the local language, but you have to understand the local culture, religion, and business behaviors.
Many international employers in Asia are looking for candidates who can speak more than three languages, with one of them an Asian language. Some organizations will also offer internal language programmes to help new recruits to settle in. Have you begun to learn your Chinese and spent at least six months in Asia during your school days or previous work? If you have, you are in a great shape.
4) Commercial awareness
Somehow, this skill has been traditionally “ignored” by many candidates.
Commercial awareness is to have an understanding of business reality and know the client’s business and the market they need to operate in. Commercial awareness is the basis of any successful professional experience. Your MBA education might have taught you the Porter’s 5 forces and multiple business models. But if you ignore the business reality and forcefully “insert” your acquired models in a real business scenario, your acquired skills would actually harm your application.
You also need to remember the way that people do business in Asia could be very different from the way they work in America or Europe. You have to pay particular attention to the local customs, values, and traditions and that your future employer could clearly see that you are going to fit in their team well, if you are recruited.
Once you have demonstrated that you share the above four skills that employers are looking for, you have drastically increase your chance to succeed in your job application in Asia.