Job applications

Cover letters, CV's and job interviews

Job applications

Applying for a job online is becoming more popular in Malaysia and also more successful than using the postal way. If you are applying for a job in an international company, or your Malay skills are insufficient, write the CV in English, but do not choose any other language.

There is no usually accepted format for CV’s in Malaysia. The employers expect in general the same CV which you are probably used to from your home country.

The most important section of a Malaysian application is the CV which is sometimes extended by a cover letter. The main rule for both components is to be succinct and objective. It is common in Malaysia to attach a photo.

Malaysian CV's

When writing a Malaysian CV try to avoid using too many details and do not exaggerate when it comes to your qualifications. The length of the CV should be 1 page at best but must not exceed 2 pages.

Leave out elementary education and marital status and focus on demonstrating the skills and qualifications that are required for the position. Present the stages of your education and the acquisition of skills in a reverse chronological order starting with the most recent.

The order of the information included is not determined and depends on the position you are applying for. A suggestion of subjects to be included is presented in the following:

  • Personal details - Includes forename and surname, date of birth and contact data
  • Education
  • Professional experience - Includes the name of the company, period of employment and position.
  • Further qualification - Includes advanced training and skill enhancement
  • Language and computer skills - Includes the level of proficiency
  • Further information - Includes exchange programmes, volunteer work and further information related to the position

Cover letter

The cover letter should include your personal motivation for the desired position and present your qualifications and skills in a professional tone. You can also include examples of how you work on your Malay language skills and connect your professional stages with experiences and achievements. Always remember to keep the cover letter concise and avoid exaggeration.

Job interviews in Malaysia

To prepare for an interview make sure you know the technical terms of your sector in English or, if necessary, in Malay, as well as some details on the company you are applying for. Also be prepared to practically demonstrate your skills and experiences.

Print your CV and your cover letter and bring it with you to the interview along with certificates and other supporting documents. Bring both a copy and the original form papers.

Do not come in late for the interview! Unpunctuality is seen as a very bad habit, so calculate enough time to be there early. Better too early! Although Malaysians tend to have quite a relaxed attitude to time, it is the employer who is allowed to be late and not the potential employee. Also, as Malaysia is a culturally mixed country, you never know who your interviewer is going to be and which attitude he will have to details like punctuality.

The job interview plays an important role in the Malaysian application process. You will probably know most of the general rules from your home country, (e.g. showing a positive attitude to your last employer, avoiding simple yes/no answers) and they also apply to Malaysian job interviews.

Courtesy plays a decisive role in Malaysian professional but also social life. Keep that in mind during the interview. The Malaysian business culture is also very hierarchical so you should treat the employer with great respect.

Further reading

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