Ayu Shahirah Salem is a digital graduate based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. We spoke to her about her career, what it’s like being a LinkedIn influencer, and how she manages to keep so many plates spinning at one time.
Ayu, can you tell me a fun fact about yourself?
I’m from Miri, a city on the northwest coast of Borneo. It’s considered the birthplace of Malaysia’s oil & gas industry because it’s where they first struck oil. Energy has always been part of my life, and since I was a kid it’s been a dream of mine (and my parents) to join an energy company.
What does a typical working day look like for you?
I live five minutes’ walk from the office, so when I open my window in the morning the first thing I see is the bp building. Once I get to the office, I’ll usually have meetings with other designers to plan our work. I’m a UI/UX designer, and UI/UX stands for user interface and user experience. We’re the ones that make sure the websites and interfaces you look at are easy to use. Once we’ve decided, I spend the rest of the morning working. After lunch, I might have a meeting with one of the committees I’m part of, such as the mental wellbeing champions, or speak to my bp pen-pal, who’s another digital graduate in the US before the “stand-up” meeting, when all the designers, project managers and leads get together. Afterwards I might have a couple of user interviews, which is how we get feedback and test new ideas. Then it’s time for home and finally, dinner.
Outside your day job, you have a huge following on LinkedIn, can you tell me a bit about your LinkedIn journey?
In 2021, I posted my resume on LinkedIn and it went viral. At the time, I only had a few followers but after that people started reaching out to say how surprised they were that a simple resume would help them get a job, and asking me for advice. I started sharing more posts about job hunting, starting your career and networking. Two years later, I have almost 60,000 followers and have even taught about building a personal brand on LinkedIn and starting your career for universities and organisations. It’s been quite a journey.
What’s been the biggest challenge in your career so far?
Keeping up with all the different things I want to do. Along with work and the LinkedIn content I’m studying for a PhD in Machine learning. Sometimes it feels like a lot, but I get a lot of energy from my career and continued learning and bp is really supportive. They make sure I have opportunities to grow and mentors who keep me inspired. Most of all, what gets me through is the sense of fulfilment and purpose I get from giving back to the community. I joined bp during the pandemic. I feel blessed to have had this opportunity, so giving back to the community is important to me. A lot of graduates have so much potential, but they don’t know how to convert that into a job opportunity. Helping them start their career journey is a small thing I can do that has a big impact. If you help people to get a job, it’s not just helping them, it’s their family and everyone they support too. Realising what a positive impact I can have on people’s lives makes it all worth it.
Finally, what’s the one piece of advice you’d give your younger self?
Anything’s possible if you’re open to opportunities. I found joining bp has given me a great environment to build my skills and meet amazing people with all kinds of life experiences. People are always willing to support you and share their expertise, and there’s nothing that can’t be solved by either self-learning or by asking someone.