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One Step Closer: Here’s How 2 M’sians Started An Initiative To Help Struggling Jobseekers For Free


One Step Closer 2
Source: Provided to WOB

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These girls deserve all the praise for helping struggling Malaysians out there!

The Bendera Putih campaign was definitely a success as it saw Malaysians coming together to help others who are in need of desperate help. Be it financial aid or food baskets, Malaysians were ready to help in whatever way they could and the concept of #KitaJagaKita was a priority.

Sharifah Hani Yasmin and Lysha Teh were deeply concerned with the campaign and decided to help struggling unemployed Malaysians by creating One Stop Closer. With the belief that everyone deserves full and productive employment, One Step Closer is an employability initiative aiming to assist and empower urgent jobseekers.

“We are working to tackle unemployment in Malaysia by connecting jobseekers to a network of HR professionals wanting to give back and make a positive impact in the community.”

White flags on LinkedIn!

Speaking to WORLD OF BUZZ, Sharifah said she not only saw Malaysians with white flags outside their homes but she also saw images of white flags on Malaysian jobseekers’ profiles on LinkedIn to highlight their desperate need for a job. It then struck her how badly impacted these jobseekers were by this pandemic, with hiring freezes and retrenchments across the board.

As a youth mentor and resume reviewer, Sharifah realized that she could help jobseekers and thus posted an offer of assistance in the form of an initiative now known as, One Step Closer.

Sharifah One Step Closer

Sharifah hani yasmin

On the other hand, experienced HR professional, Lysha Teh noticed a surge in requests in the past year from friends reaching out to help them find employment. One of the requests was from a fitness trainer whose income was badly affected as gyms have been closed since the start of the MCO.

“It saddened me to know that she is now forced to give up what she loves to do most (coaching), just so she could earn a living.”

As she was thinking about how she could help these people, she got in touch with Sharifah and together they brainstormed how to change the lives of Malaysian job seekers while utilising their strengths.

“With the knowledge that there are more than 700k unemployed Malaysians due to the pandemic and after identifying the existing networks that we had, we thought of connecting the two groups on a more personal level and benefiting the wider community.”

Free resume review!

Lysha Teh

Lysha teh

The first step to securing employment is the strength of someone’s professional profile. This sparked the pair’s first initiative: a CV review for urgent job seekers to improve their employability. While there are existing review services provided out there, many career coaches charge a fee ranging from RM100+ to RM1,000+ which makes it inaccessible to many. Sharifah and Lysha wanted to make their initiative accessible to individuals from every background and break down barriers to unemployment, so they committed to conducting this service for free.

How are Malaysians responding to the initiative?

Initially, they were not expecting many resumes to be reviewed as their initiative started out with just a post on social media and four mentors committing to the cause. However, the responses have been overwhelming from both jobseekers and mentors as within less than a month of their launch, they have received almost 300 resumes requesting for a review. Applicants come from a range of backgrounds including those who are unemployed or underemployed retrenched professionals to unemployed fresh graduates struggling to get noticed in the sea of applicants.

“We also received many applications from women wishing to come back to the workforce due to their family’s financial strain in light of the pandemic implications.”

One Step Closer

A look at one step closer’s website

The team behind One Step Closer has successfully completed the first batch of CV reviews and provided employability guidance for 100 jobseekers. They have also heard back from a few who have secured interviews immediately after submitting their updated CV and they are currently in the midst of reviewing the second batch of resumes for another 100 Malaysians.

“We actually received sign-ups at double the capacity we had, hence we had to waitlist approximately 50% of the applicants if they have an existing job as we are currently prioritising urgent job seekers.”

Since their launch, close to 20 professionals have stepped forward to help their effort despite all of them having full-time and rather demanding jobs. Yet, these dedicated volunteers are still offering their time, energy and expertise at no cost.

The diverse background of volunteer mentors consists of not only HR professionals but also individuals from legal to engineering to FMCG backgrounds at senior levels and of all ages wishing to give back. “Although we’re still at an early stage of establishing One Step Closer, their dedication inspires us to build a better and bigger platform so we can make a difference for more Malaysians,” they said.

Interview Process

Image for illustration purposes only

“We are hoping to reduce the unemployment rate in Malaysia, one individual at a time.”

Right now, their focus is on reviewing jobseekers’ professional profiles and providing them career advice as it is the most crucial element of a job search. They aim to impact at least 1,000 job seekers by the end of this year. To do so, they need more HR professionals to join them as mentors and share their expertise.

Aside from the resume review, job seekers also desire skills training, mock interviews and job matching which they have in their future pipelines once they scale up and strengthen their platform.

“We welcome partnerships from various organisations and companies whether they would like us to advertise their jobs or to provide us with industry experts.”

If you’re interested in One Step Closer as a job seeker or as a mentor, make sure to register at their website. If you can’t volunteer at the moment, do spread the word to help other struggling jobseekers!


Also read: Report: Unemployed Fresh Graduates In Malaysia Increased By 22.5% In 2020

My Post 2021 07 30T142321.567

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