CEO Series

At 20, She Built A Platform For M’sian Students To Get Work Experience That Actually Matters

  • WeCruited is a recruitment platform that connects tertiary students in the Klang Valley with employers to help them find real working experiences while still studying.
  • Founded in July 2017, the platform aims to help students experience working in industries relating to their fields of study, and allows them to discover what they would like to do upon graduating.
  • The platform requires both students and employers to register through their Facebook page, and employers are charged only based on successful hires.

In an increasingly competitive job landscape were basically most of the people on the market come with degrees or more, one valuable thing to add on your resume is work experience.

In search of said experience, many college and university students now devote more hours to part-time jobs and internships in between studying just to get an early taste of their future industry and hopefully get a leg up when applying for full-time jobs.

But 20-year-old Diana Woon thinks that for students, there’s more to work experience than just getting part-time jobs, which is why she came out with her own take on the recruitment platform.

With the initial aim of helping tertiary students find opportunities to learn and acquire valuable working experience, Diana founded WeCruited in July 2017 while still in her midst of her Business Studies degree at INTI International College Subang.

“I wanted it to be a platform for college and university students to find part-time jobs so that they could pick up different skills outside of class and become more employable,” she said.

“After running WeCruited for a few months, we realised that part-time jobs were not sufficient to bridge the gap between tertiary institutions and the workplace.”

“Hence, we expanded the platform to facilitate internships as well.”

Currently, WeCruited is operated by Diana and co-founder Adrina Adam, and connects tertiary students with startups, SMEs, and other enterprises such as BEAM, Offpeak, and Carousell and coordinates internship and mentoring programs that benefit both parties.

Diana Woon (left) and Adrina Adam (right) / Image Credit: WeCruited

Students will be able to enter and experience vital real-world work scenarios and get equipped with a better understanding of their respective industries, while employers will be given the opportunity to unearth new and exciting talent to potentially add to their staff force.

According to Diana, the part-time internships were designed and introduced to help employers reduce hiring costs and allow them to recruit interns all year long. WeCruited only charges for successful hires.

Students also benefit from this arrangement, and can undertake multiple internships within a year to discover what they like, rather than being constrained to a single compulsory internship as part of their course requirements.

All of this works through WeCruited’s Facebook page, where students and employers can create profiles through the messenger and get connected to each other almost instantly.

Recruitment is done from the Messenger on WeCruited’s Facebook page / Image Credit: WeCruited

“In the past seven months, we have collaborated with over 50 employers from SMEs and startups and have connected them with more than 150 students who are keen to take up the various roles available at these companies,” Diana said.

Starting Young

According to Diana, her entrepreneurial journey began when she was 13 years old.

“It started off when I sold one of my gaming accounts for RM1,200 to a gamer from Penang,” she explained. “I remember my parents were so afraid I was going to be scammed until the money came into the bank account.”

Eventually, Diana was introduced to Carousell, where she started selling new and pre-owned clothing pieces. She became so successful that she ended up on Carousell’s list of top-sellers and was invited for an interview at the age of 17.

This was followed by a marketing internship at a distribution company nearby her home. It was during this two-month stint that she decided to pursue marketing as a major in college.

Another part-time job followed, this time as a retail assistant at a fashion boutique.

“This was where my communication skills improved the most, because as an 18-year-old student, I had to learn to approach our customers and sell them our products every day,” Diana said. “Later on, our company moved into manufacturing our own fashion pieces, so we hired a fashion designer and moved into an office.”

From then on, Diana worked as a marketing intern and designed the e-commerce website while simultaneously handling the company’s digital marketing. After five months on the job, Diana finally decided to begin her own venture.

Learning The Ropes

Image Credit: WeCruited

Along her entrepreneurial journey, Diana has gone through a number of important learning experiences, including coming in as second runner-up at Sunway iLabs Start-It Challenge in 2016.

“In the beginning, there was a lot of self-doubt and stress because I tried to do everything while balancing school,” she said. “I also did not have any experience starting and running a business nor did I have a wide network of professional connections.”

“Even now, I find it difficult to manage my attention as it seems like there’s so much that needs to be done.”

From these experiences, Diana has learned how to keep an open mind and seek advice.

“I do this by meeting people from business networking events and reaching out for help on LinkedIn.”

She also has advice for young aspiring entrepreneurs looking to make a mark for themselves.

“You know how you tend to try on clothes before you buy them? It’s the same when starting your own business or joining a company,” she said. “

“Think five or ten years ahead, and start building your resume with jobs that provided you with the skills required.”

Feature Image Credit: WeCruited

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