Nurturing skilful communicators

Gaviota Rajendhiran Nair is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in the School of Arts and Social Sciences, Monash University Malaysia. She shares her thoughts:

"When people think of doing a Bachelor of Arts, vast job opportunities and future careers are not always the first things that come to mind. I must admit, at the beginning of my degree as a Communications major, I was unsure of career opportunities. However, as time progressed, I realised how wrong I was.

"I took up an internship at an online platform offering food & beverage catering services from different restaurants. As an intern in the Operations Department, I was in charge of customer service, updating the backend of the company’s website with regards to our customers’ orders, and tending to various ad-hoc operational duties to ensure smooth operations.

"This was my first time dealing with customers and there was always an array of enquiries that came fast.

"My ability to deal with this went a lot smoother than I expected. I believe my degree had helped fine-tune my communication skills. Presentations and classroom debates developed my ability to speak eloquently and confidently in front of groups and also enabled me think on my feet.

"The same concept applies to written communication. All those essays written for my Communication units were useful in developing my writing skills in response to customer enquiries and feedback.

"A big part of my confidence in both oral and written communications has been because of my lecturers. They were approachable and provided feedback on how to improve my writing without encroaching into my personal style.

"Attention to detail is very important, more so when you need to meet customers’ needs. Dealing with our customers’ orders is always important, especially when they made changes.

"After learning to pay close attention to everything I write for our essays, I’ve become proficient in looking at the finer details. This helped ensure all customer orders for the day were noted correctly.

"There was also a range of ad-hoc duties I was tasked with. One was to find new restaurant partners we could work with in the future. Imaginably, this is time-consuming.

"Similarly, as a communications undergraduate, there are endless journals to read, and it sounds intimidating, especially with deadlines.

"However, you eventually learn to read quickly and scan through articles to pick out important points. This helped me in skimming through a number of restaurants and picking out details.

Individually, these abilities may not appear much. But together, they shape you as a person with the expertise to deliver business outcomes employers would look for in new hires.

"Having a good set of written and verbal communication skills is important, because not only are you able to send your message across in an understandable and professional manner, you also present yourself in a manner that allows others to take you seriously. Being able to pay attention to small details could make all the difference in a project.

"Lastly, learning how to skim through large articles saves time. Coupled with the ability to work efficiently in a team – thanks to the group assignments that taught me how to work with different people, you now have a wide variety of career opportunities that need people like you.

"Monash University helped push me out of my comfort zone and the communications degree has equipped me with the skill-set and incorporated within me a sense of responsibility, determination and confidence to take on any challenge thrown at me and still come up on top."