Bavani Periasamy, President, Malaysian Association of Professional Speakers

“Upskilling seems like a big word, but it basically means doing everything to keep yourself ahead in the game.” Bavani Periasamy, President, Malaysian Association of Professional Speakers

Bavani Periasamy is a speaker, coach and gratitude advocate who loves working with the youth and young adults to enrich their lives and to believe in themselves and their dreams.

Bavani has been featured in Astro Vizhuthugal, Bernama, BFM, MinnalFM on women empowerment, power of belief and personal mastery. Last year, she also received Perdana Awards under the category of Special Achievement for Personal Development (Self-Development Excellence). In the last 5 years, she has worked a lot with unemployed graduates, helping them to brand themselves online using LinkedIn and also done workshops and coaching sessions to help them work on their goals and dreams.

In an exclusive interaction with SCIKEY, Ms Bavani speaks about why as a candidate it is essential to be yourself in an interview, the 6 step process by Napoleon Hill and how taking a break can be useful if you prepare yourself for a comeback and keep yourself updated all the time.

How should a job seeker adopt storytelling in an online space while seeking the right employer?

Storytelling to many students is something that begins with ‘once upon a time’. In reality, storytelling is the method that descriptively uses words to explain things that sound more human. For example, a general resume would highlight qualities like a team player, enthusiastic etc. because the candidate believes that is what the HR is looking to hire. However, storytelling is basically how you use this description to explain things about yourself. In an interview, it is important to be expressive about oneself the way they want to be remembered and not from the standpoint of the kind of candidate the HR is looking for. It is also important to remember that the HR too, is a human. So, use simple words to speak about yourself and your achievements.

Since your passion has eternally been in the area of learning and development, what are some areas you have been focusing on to train the youth? What are a few innovative training strategies you have been implementing how has it benefited them?

With youth there are two things that I am following passionately. One, is to build their brand on LinkedIn, and the second one is to believe in their dreams. Most of the youth these days feel negated when they see others achieving their goals on social media, but not them. What they don’t realize is that all of this is just camouflaging who they are in real. Social media is a crucial factor that adds to the stress for millennials. In Malaysia, unemployment seems to be at an all-time high. Though not all Malaysian graduates, but many that are unemployed. The youth that I come in contact feel dejected that management students have procured jobs for themselves. This is when I suggest them to stop feeling negative and to increase their belief in themselves. I use Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich methodology that involves 6 steps in how you can create your action plan to reach your goals. I am helping them build a mindset that helps them reach their goal. It all depends on the kind of dialogue you are having with yourself.

Here is the 6 steps approach Bhavani shared with us:

1.What do you want?: Fix in your mind the exact results you desire. It is not sufficient merely to say; I want a job. You must specify the result you want to achieve.

2.What are you giving? What can you offer?: Determine exactly what you intend to give in return for the results you desire. (There is no such reality as something for nothing)

3.Believe in your dreams/results: Know in your mind that this is possible. Be positive that you will achieve the things you want to because you are capable of it.

4.Make a plan: Create a definite plan on what you will need to go to get the results you want. Action is required. Example: I will spend 30 mins a day to check out job opportunities. I will spend time to learn about the organization before crafting out a personalized cover letter.

5.Write it down: Write out a clear, concise statement of the results that you want and what you will do to achieve it. Understand the reason you need to write it down. This is a way on how you learn and memorize. Just hearing and reading is not as effective as writing it out. When you write, you also give yourself a visual reminder of what you want.

6.Read it out aloud: Read your written statement aloud, twice daily, once just before sleeping at night, and once after arising in the morning. As you read, see and feel and believe you got the results you wanted.

This is the one thing that has been helpful while guiding students. It only works when you build the discipline to see yourself through it. When you know right in the beginning, what you want is the start of everything.

Your thoughts on the importance of upskilling reskilling oneself, especially individuals who have been on a break from work for some reasons.

Digitalization is now a reality whether we are prepared for it or not. So, we have to buck up to fit into this new age. If you are a person that prefers the traditional way of working, you may be left behind in this technology era. If at times you feel overwhelmed, find 10-15 minutes in a day just for yourself. Spend that same amount of time to be updated with the current affairs. It could just be a small task like reading the newspaper. Technology has come up with so many ways to remain updated through podcasts, TEDX platforms, news channels etc.

Upskilling seems like a big word, but it basically means doing everything to keep yourself ahead in the game. The challenge is when someone takes a break and is trying to get back to a rhythm. However, if you have been keeping yourself updated by reading, they will be surprised to see the response from the HR. Being well read and knowing what is happening in the industry and updated with latest technolgy will keep them prepared and ready for job better than only starting to read up just before interview.

It is when you decide to take a break that you must choose to come back better. If someone has taken a break for maternity, it is crucial to ask yourself, what kind of role model are you trying to be for your child? When I was growing up, I looked up at my mother. She was a working woman who set the example that I can go to her if I need knowledge because she had it. So as a mother, you choose if you want to look demotivated or you want to be inspiring for the child that’s looking up to you.

Since you have been training the youth, what are the key factors that managers should consider while hiring them, considering their business goals?

I believe that the most important thing is that if a candidate is not fit for a job, then it is best to let them in the politest way possible. Let them know that they may possess the skills and knowledge but not what the company is looking for. I am emphasizing this because candidates begin to feel that the rejection is because they lack certain qualities within them. I’ve seen a common theme right now since a lot of companies are going into digitalization. This is the reason that engineers are being offered jobs in the digitalization department and not in the engineering faculty. The digitalization team needs the expertise of the engineers now. So, one cannot only stick to the field they studied. Feedbacks, too, are crucial for people in their growth. The way they receive feedback is what can make or break a case.


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