The Gig Economy’s Rise

The Gig Economy’s Rise

By Monica Shoshatre 

Guest Writer, KOTO Association 

The term “gig” is generally linked with musicians hired for short-term performances or a one-time show, but it has now become the standard in today’s job market. 

Temporary and flexible occupations are widespread in the gig economy, and companies prefer to recruit independent contractors and freelancers over full-time employees. 

“Any economic activity that involves the employment of temporary or freelance employees to accomplish jobs generally in the service sector,” according to the Merriam Webster online definition. 

The Gig Economy  

The gig economy is no longer something we can ignore. “What does it mean to be in the gig economy?” one may ask. 

The gig economy has been expanding for many years. The gig economy is displacing the 9-to-5 employment as a result of technology developments. People are increasingly becoming their own boss. 

The gig economy is here to stay, whether it’s as a source of extra income or a means to make money from a passion. 

The advent of the gig economy has caused us to rethink a lot of our ideas about employment. 

Working part-time and freelancing has long been common, and involvement in the gig economy has grown in popularity as a result of the growth of digital platforms and the Internet, particularly when the Covid-19 pandemic struck and many people were laid off. 

For example; we’ve seen a lot of people decide to become Grab/Uber drivers/riders, including full-time professionals who have left their jobs to pursue freelancing possibilities. The conventional labour has been undergoing significant changes, and the pandemic has hastened the transition to a more digital economy. A traditional 9-5 job is no longer sufficient to maintain today’s tech-dependent society. They make wise decisions that benefit them in the long term because of the booming gig economy. 

Pelan Jana Semula Economy Negara (PENJANA) 

It’s encouraging to learn that the Malaysian government is assisting the gig economy by giving incentives through the Pelan Jana Semula Economy Negara (PENJANA), commonly known as the National Economic Recovery Plan. The three main thrusts of PENJANA are to empower people, drive companies, and boost the economy.  

A salary subsidy programme, social protection for gig economy workers, and PENJANA Kerjaya (a hiring incentive programme) are just a few of the measures included in this programme.  

Income Tax 

While working as a freelancer gives you the freedom to select how you want to work, it does not provide you the option of not paying taxes.The type of return form used to declare income to the Inland Revenue Board of Malaysia (IRBM). is determined by the frequency of jobs. The B Form is used to file taxes on recurring revenue if the freelancing job is registered as a company. 

Finally, every income-generating job, including gig economy work, must be reported to the IRBM. 

Let us all do our share to guarantee that the country prospers. 


Tips for Getting the Most Out of LinkedIn

Tips for Getting the Most Out of LinkedIn

By Monica Shoshatre 

Guess Writer, KOTO Association 

“Are you on LinkedIn?” is a question you’ve undoubtedly been asked a lot, whether or not you’ve begun your professional career. 

LinkedIn is the most popular online social network for business networking in the world. By properly utilising it, you may significantly advance your career. 

LinkedIn, like most social media platforms, has an algorithm that helps sift through its numerous contents and assign prominence to the ones that are relevant for its users to connect with and engage with. Understanding and utilising the platform’s algorithms is required to attain a more organised experience on LinkedIn.  

Therefore, KOTO Association may have some suggestions on how to get the most out of LinkedIn: 

1) Make your profile stand out 

Always ask yourself what do you want to achieve through LinkedIn. A job? Peer relationships or networking? It will be much easier for the proper individuals to contact you if you make it clear what you want.  

To make yourself stand out, use a professional profile photo of your face. Then, give your summary some thought. If a recruiter searches LinkedIn for you, they’ll start with your summary.  

If at all necessary, get recommendations. Sure, references may be forged, but seeing some good feedback on your talents instils confidence in others.  

Don’t be hesitant to seek recommendations from peers, clients, and others – they don’t have to come from your boss. 

2) It’s all about connections!  

People who bring value to your network should be added, while those who do not should be avoided. LinkedIn isn’t like Facebook – you don’t even have to add your parents unless they’re important to your professional life.  

When you meet another professional in your industry whom you like, ask them whether they would mind if you sent them a LinkedIn request. 

There are three types of degree connections in LinkedIn;  

  • 1st-Degree Connections – People you have directly connected with   
  • 2nd-Degree Connections – People connected with your 1st-Degree Connections  
  • 3rd-Degree Connections – People connected with your 2nd-Degree Connections 

It is crucial to note that because LinkedIn feeds their users information based on their “interactions,” it comes as no surprise that first-degree relationships will be critical in improving your LinkedIn experience. 

This implies that if you create a good profile and make direct connections with the appropriate individuals, you may be at the top of the search results for recruiters and other users alike. 

3) Find the best time to post on LinkedIn (Golden hour) – Hint; not Monday! 

The word ‘golden hour,’ as beneficial as it sounds – is just as valuable when used as a mantra when posting on LinkedIn.  

This simply implies that, for greater content reach, it is critical to identify WHEN the majority of your connections are online before posting!  

Users are most active between the hours of 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, according to research.  

You should maintain track of your time so that you can be prepared. Weekends are the worst days, and after working hours is the worst time – including Mondays!  


It’s not difficult to get the most out of LinkedIn; it’s more a matter of self-control. Learning how to utilise LinkedIn efficiently is an essential skill for today’s professional advancement. 

 It’s crucial to note that LinkedIn is only for business, and you shouldn’t use it for the same type of social networking and when you’re on Facebook.

Bored in Quarantine? Here’s 5 Productive Things To Do

Bored in Quarantine? Here’s 5 Productive Things To Do

By Monica Shoshatre 

Guess Writer, KOTO Association  

Quarantine is a novel experience for most of us, and it can have a negative influence on our mental and emotional health. We’ve never known a life when we simply went out to get groceries and couldn’t see family or friends. 

Well, if you are exposed to someone who has the coronavirus, you should wear a mask, keep a safe distance from them, and quarantine yourself. 

Things aren’t totally hopeless, though. There is optimism for the current vaccinations that have been discovered on the horizon, as well as countries who are working harder to flatten the curve. 

Emotional health is an important part of our total well-being as humans. Ask yourself these questions when you’re about to start your day; 

  • What are the three things you want to get done today? Make a list of them. 
  • What are the two things that are making you happy right now? 
  • Who should you contact or text to see how things are going? 

So, how do you pass the time when you’re in quarantine? KOTO Association would like to provide you with some insight into some of the productive activities you may start engaging in while you are under quarantine.  

Let’s get this ball rolling. 

1. Stretch those muscles by practicing Yoga 

It’s natural to feel more anxious than usual during this time. It might be challenging to stay at home and be limited to your environment. Starting the day with yoga offers several advantages, including stress reduction, anxiety relief, improved sleep quality, and increased strength. You can enjoy several online yoga classes directly from your phone. Stream a few YouTube channels, view Instagram reels, or look into some amazing yoga applications. 

2. Are you Working from home? Tidy up your workspace! 

When it comes to productivity, keeping a clean and tidy workstation is important. Clutter frequently creates tension (even if you aren’t aware of it at the time)- and who wants additional stress right now? Taking a few minutes to put away documents and dispose of garbage from the previous day. 

3.Start journaling 

Life may be difficult, especially when you’re quarantined for the coronavirus. There are several advantages to keeping a journal. It helps you organise your thoughts—journals might help us make sense of how we’re feeling. Set and attain your objectives- putting down your objective’s aids in their realisation. Relax and unwind 

Allow yourself to think about yourself. So, grab a book and a pen and go writing! 

4. Get a new book to read 

Reading a new book may help you get out of your brain and into a completely different universe! 

Free eBooks may also be downloaded to your reading device in a variety of methods. Websites like Authorama and Project Gutenberg contain hundreds of public domains works for you to download and enjoy on your tablet, computer, or phone. 

5.Catch up with your friends online 

During this time, many of us miss our families and friends. And just because we have to physically separate ourselves socially doesn’t mean we can’t FaceTime and contact our loved ones! Staying connected is critical for maintaining your connections, and it also improves your mental health by bringing you out of your headspace. 

Don’t stop there… 

Positive thoughts should be fed to you. Allowing the environment around you to overwhelm and depress you is not a good idea. 

To go through this, you’ll need a healthy body and mind. You’ll be able to hit the ground running, physically and figuratively, once the pandemic is over. Use this time wisely, and also, acknowledge the people around us who are working to keep everything as normal as possible. 

Remember not to shut yourself off from the rest of the world. Take care! 


Simple Tips to Ace Interviews

Simple Tips to Ace Interviews

By Izatul Lyana 

Guest Writer, KOTO Association 

Do we need someone to lead us through the interview process?  

Yes, we do! Whether we seek advice or assistance from friends, lecturers, employers, or the internet, we still want guidance, particularly for recent graduates seeking employment. Got you a few tips before and during the interview! I hope it will assist you in your job search in the future. 

5 Tips before and during the interview 

1. Get enough research about the company 

According to Heather Huhman, he mentioned that there are 7 things to research before doing the job interview. To begin, conduct research about the talents and experience that the company requires. Second, become acquainted with the company’s main players and be informed on the company’s current events. Learn about the company’s mission, cultures, and values so we can determine whether or not we are a good fit for the company’s working environment. The next step is to determine who the company’s client is, as well as what product or service the company provides or produces. We can also read reviews of the company on various websites or blogs. Last but not least, finding about the person who will be interviewing you will help you in learning the interviewer’s background and their common interest. 

2. Practice answering frequently asked questions during the interview 

Start preparing for your interview by practice answering commonly asked questions. The most common question that will be asked by the interviewer is tell me about yourself. As we all know, the question seems simple but it’s crucial. Continue to describe yourself, including your strengths, work experience, and talents, rather than just introducing oneself. Other common interview questions include: how did you learn about this position, why should we hire you, what is your weakness, what is your best accomplishment, and so on. They will also present you with a circumstance and ask you to resolve the disagreement or issue. 

3. Understand the task and the role of the position  

Before applying for a job, you should study the job description that the company has published. Learn about the roles and the tasks that will be assigned to you. Recognize your abilities and determine how they relate to the role. Find essential factors such as required expertise, experience, and quality. Make sure that you are fully understanding about the role, your skills and experience will help you to become capable in doing the task. We always want a job that will challenge us, but not to the point where we will fail. Most of the time, a challenging yet achievable goal is a good goal. 

4. Make a list of the questions you want to ask during the interview beforehand. 

You can ask the interviewer a few questions, such as concerning the job scope and requiring the interviewer to explain on the job in precise terms. It will give the impression to the interviewer that you are genuinely interested in the job. Aside from that, you can inquire about how your performance will be evaluated if you are hired. Furthermore, inquiring about specific requirements that the organization seeks for that job will offer you a better grasp of the role, allowing you to determine whether or not the position is a good fit for you. 

5. Associate your skills with your accomplishments 

In terms of this topic, it might also be one of the questions asked during the interview. You may be able to connect it to a recent event. You can explain the situation and context of your accomplishment before relating it to your abilities. Briefly describe how your abilities enabled the event to be a success. How you overcome the challenge also will become one of your skills. After that, Explain the kind of results you achieved. When describing the outcome, if possible do mention the numbers and quantifiable facts. If possible, include numbers and quantitative facts while summarizing the conclusion. You can share facts or a slide about the incident to give your interviewer a positive impression of your accomplishment. 


Soft Skills: How Does It Impact Our Growth?

Soft Skills: How Does It Impact Our Growth?

Soft Skills: How Does It Impact Our Growth? 

Monica Shoshatre 

Guest Writer 

Soft skills are the personality types, behaviours, and interpersonal abilities that we use while interacting with others. They symbolise our ability to work successfully and peacefully with people in the workplace, and as such, they are precisely the sort of talents that employers want. To put it another way, soft skills are not generally linked to certain professions, but rather to our personalities, making them highly adaptable skills. Employers will respect any qualifications you have that indicate a willingness to enhance them, even if they’re less concrete than hard skills. 

The question is, what are the soft skills you need to achieve career growth—and how can you brush them out?  

Let’s find out. 

5 Top Soft Skills You’ll Require For Personal Growth 

1. Communication 

Your capacity to communicate successfully with people is the part of successful workplace communication. You will be more productive and accomplish greater outcomes if you can communicate to people effectively and respectfully while also listening empathetically to what colleagues, customers, or clients have to say. Communication is a highly important talent since it is used every day. It requires verbal, nonverbal, and written abilities, as well as an awareness of active listening. Practice makes perfect, as they say. You may enhance your communication by concentrating on the fundamentals, such as clarifying your message or evaluating how your body language may be affecting your communication skills 

2. Emotional Intelligence 

Emotional intelligence is commonly described as the capability to understand and regulate one’s own emotions as well as the feelings of others. It consists of five essential components: self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social competence. It may not appear to be the most necessary skill for career growth and success, but it is in some situations. So, ask yourself, can you have the ability to empathise with others? Can you establish connection and pleasant interactions with others? Just think of a situation in your workplace where all of your emotions might have worked against you, and think of how would it affect you and your surroundings. This can be your first step in developing self-cautious and awareness to improve your emotional intelligence 

3. Team Player 

Unknowingly, you’ve been working on a soft skill: the ability to work effectively with people. Whether you’re an individual contributor or a people manager, you’ll have to collaborate with others in meetings, brainstorming sessions, and on a variety of cross-functional initiatives. Team harmony requires a positive, can-do attitude when dealing with others, which means you must be able to lead an efficient and inclusive meeting, be open to new ideas, and work respectfully with others. To get to know and operate effectively with each team member you encounter, you must develop this talent inside yourself. 

4. Adaptability 

The capacity to adapt to change and a good attitude toward change goes a long way toward building a successful career, regardless of your profession or field. If you’re uncomfortable with frequent changes on your team or at your firm, jot down your thoughts and feelings rather than addressing them right away. You’ll be able to differentiate real issues from complaints that don’t need to be shared with your team if you write down how you feel and why you feel that way. 

5. Active Listener 

You can pretty much tell when someone is hearing your words but not actively listening to them. Meanwhile, active listeners pay careful attention to meeting speakers, ask clarifying questions, and go back to notes during subsequent conversations. They don’t need things repeated since they already heard them, making active listeners not just courteous colleagues, but also more productive workers. One technique to challenge yourself to be a more active listener is to take minutes during meetings. 

Importance of Soft Skills 

Soft skills are required in almost all interactions with people. You may be negotiating terms contract, presenting your fresh concept to co-workers, networking for a new position, and so on at work. We apply soft skills on a daily basis at work, and honing them will help you earn more business and advance faster in your profession. 

Soft skills as communication are used outside of the job to form social groups and meet suitable partners. You may be discussing the cost of your new home’s makeover or spending the weekend teaching your next-door neighbours’ children. Both professionally and personally, soft skills are helpful. 

Let’s look at some specific examples of how soft skills are important. 

1. Promotion and progress in your career 

Employees with stronger soft skills are more likely to be promoted to management positions than those with more years of experience but lower soft skills. If you want to advance in your profession, you must acquire these abilities since they will set you apart from the competition in interviews and on the job. 

2. Soft skills are required by customers and clients. 

Consumers nowadays have a plethora of options for where to shop, thanks to the internet and smartphones. Because convenience and low costs are easy to come by for many customers, customer service is typically the deciding factor in their decision to utilise a certain company. The capacity to interact with consumers on a human level is so essential to a company’s growth. 

3. Recruiters demands person with good soft skills 

Soft skills are in great demand in the workplace and will continue to be so in the near future. As a result, we know that soft skills cannot be taught, therefore individuals must acquire them via self-learning and improvement to demonstrate to recruiters that they can adapt, despite the fact that this is difficult to automate. 

Above all, a positive mindset is what ties all of these soft skills together. It may sound corny, but thinking that there is a positive outcome in all difficult situations can help you get through the day-to-day of your job while also making others want to engage with you. These soft skills are more difficult to teach, but the reward might be even greater, so make sure you’re assessing and developing your soft skill set. Keep this in mind and try to move forward to ensure a better future! 


The Do’s and Don’ts of Bootstrapping a startup

The Do’s and Don’ts of Bootstrapping a startup

Akinpelu Babatola
Guest Writer

Bootstrapping a startup means launching the startup yourself without any sort of external funding. Usually, you would have to dip your hands into your savings and personal income to do this. This is a challenging thing to do, but an entrepreneur who succeeds at bootstrapping can expect to reap incredible benefits from it.

So how do you ensure you and your startup succeed at bootstrapping? Well, there is no way ensuring 100% success, but here are the Xpress Train’s dos and don’ts of bootstrapping to raise your chances.


  1. Do choose a worthy cofounder: Pick a cofounder that complements you. While they don’t need to have skills similar to yours, they should have something they can add to your startup. This will allow the easy assignment of tasks and responsibilities.
  2. Do cut your overhead expenses: Overhead expenses are the biggest drainers of funds for any business or startup. While bootstrapping, your funds are severely limited, so you should try as much as possible to reduce your overhead costs.
  3. Do limit things to just your team: Outsourcing can be an expensive venture if not adequately managed. As such, you should try to keep tasks within the team as much as possible. This will allow you to save on costs while also building on your team members’ existing skillsets.
  4. Do cut your personal expenses: While you should keep your business and personal lives separate most times, this doesn’t apply when you bootstrap a startup. Your personal funds are what is going into the business. So, you try as much as possible to reduce your personal spending, so you have more money to invest in your startup.
  5. Do sell your services: Angel investors are not the only ways to raise money for a startup. If you have a handy skill and some free time, sell that skill as a service to others. By doing this, you will raise additional funds that you can invest in your startup. No matter how little you make, remember that every cent counts.


  1. Don’t get a loan: Startups fail almost every day. Rather than racking up debt while launching, wait until you start to earn profit from the startup before even considering a loan.
  2. Don’t chase funds with just an idea: Angel investors and venture capitalists are more likely to open up their wallets if you already have something up and running. If you are still at the idea stage, try to build, launch and grow your startup alone, and the investors will come running later on.
  3. Don’t expect instant results: Startups are difficult work. They take years before they break even, and even more time before they begin to yield profits. So take your time, get your hands dirty, and the profits you want to see will undoubtedly come your way.
  4. Don’t give up: As we already mentioned, startups are difficult work. They are not meant for the faint of heart. So prepare yourself for the long journey and don’t give up along the way.