27/05/2024 03:41 PM
Opinions on topical issues from thought leaders, columnists and editors.

By Dr Faiz Masnan & Dr Nurhidayah Marzuki

Transitioning from the academic to the professional realm presents a formidable challenge for many recent graduates, particularly in the 21st century. Despite their enthusiasm and knowledge, they often encounter significant hurdles that hinder their progress and success post-graduation.

A prevalent obstacle faced by most graduates is their limited practical experience, leaving them unprepared to tackle the demands of real-world employment after years of rigorous study. This lack of hands-on experience not only complicates their efforts to secure coveted positions but also inhibits their ability to thrive in their chosen fields.

The intense competition within the job market poses another significant barrier for young graduates. For instance, in today’s globalised economy, job seekers contend not only with local peers but also with candidates from around the world, amplifying the pressure to differentiate themselves.

Feeling of inadequacy, self-doubt

Consequently, many graduates grapple with feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt as they strive to distinguish themselves amidst the fierce competition. Moreover, the evolving landscape of employment, driven by technological advancements, introduces new roles and skill requirements that may surpass the capabilities of recent graduates.

Compounding these challenges is the prevailing expectation among employers for candidates to possess a specific blend of skills, education and experience. While this requirement is logical from a business standpoint, it perpetuates a cycle of rejection for recent graduates, hindering their ability to acquire the necessary experience to secure desired roles. Additionally, the burden of student loan debt exacerbates the pressure on graduates, often prompting them to prioritise financial stability over pursuing their career aspirations.

The absence of professional networks further compounds the difficulties faced by recent graduates. Unlike experienced professionals who have cultivated extensive networks over time, young graduates often find themselves starting from scratch. Without industry connections, they encounter obstacles in accessing job opportunities and receiving valuable mentorship. Overcoming this barrier necessitates proactive networking efforts, which can be daunting for individuals who are introverted or socially anxious.

Accordingly, recent graduates encounter numerous obstacles as they embark on their professional journeys, ranging from a lack of practical experience and fierce competition to the demand for a diverse skill set and the challenge of building professional networks.

Perseverance, resilience, proactive approach pays

However, with perseverance, resilience, and a proactive approach to skill development and networking, graduates can overcome these hurdles and embark on successful careers.

For instance, they might consider seeking opportunities with smaller, emerging companies before pursuing roles with larger corporations.


Dr Faiz Masnan & Dr Nurhidayah Marzuki are Senior Lecturers at University Malaysia Perlis (UniMAP).

(The views expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not reflect the official policy or position of BERNAMA)