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​​​​How a resourcefulness mindset helped Patrick Tan achieve ambitious goals (and disrupt the resume writing services market in Malaysia!)


Not many students can put in their own resume that they helped 18,000 of their fellow students get jobs. UTP Chemical Engineering graduate Patrick Tan Peng Jun did.

Patrick had initially sought out connections on LinkedIn to get feedback for his own resume and learned valuable tips on how to create an effective one. He had an epiphany: since his fellow students were struggling with the same challenge and couldn’t afford professional writing workshops, why not start an affordable resume writing service for them?

Patrick-Tan-web-1.jpgWith the support of the UTP Technopreneurship Office, he got RM2000 in funding and started his resume writing business under the name Dr Resume. Thanks to an aggressive publicity campaign – “I basically plastered posters wherever there was available space” - an impressive 60 participants attended the first class. Elated, Patrick was all prepared to hold the second class the following weekend but then the pandemic locked down all physical activities. 

First mover advantage

He was in the process of refunding the fees when a PhD student asked him to consider doing it online instead. After giving it some thought, he went ahead. “During that time, online sharing was not yet hyped in Malaysia. I would say, I am the first few coaches in Malaysia who used online sharing.” 

For his first class, only three participants signed up. Undeterred, he saw the experience as proof of his professionalism and used it as material to post on LinkedIn. “I know I need to sell myself after conducting every workshop or else no one will know about me.”

That was how DR Resume Services started. With the combination of LinkedIn connections and traditional email direct to university offices, he gradually built up his personal branding - and attendance in his online classes began to increase. 

Within a few months, he went from doing three workshops a month to five - all of them sold out. Before long, other universities started approaching him. Eventually he had over 50 universities and educational establishments as his customers with over 15,000 participants. He was even able to raise his prices. 

“Basically I disrupted the resume writing services market with an affordable price of only RM30. I saw a gap in the market because professionals cannot charge that low,” he points out. 

For his achievements, he was selected as one of LinkedIn’s Top 70 personalities and was even named as one of the most successul people in Malaysia by Britishpedia!

A resourcefulness mindset

The drive to find a solution against all odds has been second nature to Patrick since his school days. When he wanted to follow his sister to attend university but his parents could only afford to pay for his foundation year at university, he managed to get a scholarship from the Penang State Government to cover the rest. 

Patrick-Tan-web-3.jpgRecognising that he was at a disadvantage, he pushed himself at UTP to practise speaking and presenting in English. “Coming from a Chinese school, frankly speaking, we don’t speak much English except for the annual oral English test. When I got into UTP as a foundation student, I struggled so much because everyone was speaking in English.”

“One good thing about UTP is they have a lot of presentations, which I hated at first,” he confesses ruefully. “In UTP, we have a lot of event management opportunities where you get to speak to students during orientation, host events, etc. I made the most of that time to learn how to communicate effectively. Ten years ago, if you ask me to stand in front of a big group of people and speak in English, I will say no. But now, no issue.” 

Strategic approach

Patrick-Tan-web-2.jpgTo prepare for his entry into working life, Patrick developed a four-year strategy. Knowing that his scholarship required him to be bonded to a Penang company for 5 years, he set his target on getting an internship in Intel, one of the top multinational corporations in Penang. 

Part of his strategy was applying for a job in a Penang semiconductor company in his first year. With this “voluntary” internship, he felt it would strengthen his profile to gain an advantage when he applied for his actual internship in third year.

Once that was out of the way, he used the second year to join a student exchange programme to Austria. He reasons, “Every year, UTP students have a four-month semester break. I could have gone for a part time job to earn some extra money, but I didn’t think it would add any value to my resume. So in second year, I spent my semester with this exchange programme to widen my global perspective and at the same time fulfil my dream of travelling to Europe.”

Patrick’s strategy helped him successfully secure his third year internship at Intel. In fact, he was offered a job there even before graduation. Within the first year, he was selected to be part of a team to transfer technology from Arizona's Technology Development team to Penang. This assignment of course comes with added opportunities to explore the Grand Canyon there and all things American.

As for DR Resume Services, which is now a fully registered company, it remains a passion project that he works on when he has the bandwidth. “One thing I sacrifice during the whole Dr Resume journey is my time on social media. I don’t use Instagram, Facebook, Tiktok or YouTube. I only generate LinkedIn posts. After working, I will go home, do some sports and then open my laptop to generate content and do preparation.” 

Patrick-Tan-web-4.jpgWhen asked why he is so passionate about Dr Resume, he replies, “When people text me and tell me they got a job, the feeling is so satisfactory. Among my 18K participants, 80-90% of them secured a job within two months and I really feel I am helping them.” 

For Patrick, achieving your goals is all about making do with what you have. As he posted on LinkedIn, "Everyone is unique and special in their own way. Know your key value and don’t compare. Look at everything as an opportunity, learn from them and what can you do from those learnings.”

What’s next for our indomitable Patrick? Grinning, he says, “I am waiting for someone to invite me to do a Ted Talk.” 

Published: 21 March 2022​​