Career Development Trip to Standard Charter Bank with Jason Tan Strongerhead

It’s been with great pleasure to meet one of my ex-student, Anna Lim, from Curtin yesterday. I’m really proud to learn that she has been progressing really well in her career path.

We had the privilege to get Anna Lim to share with some career tips with Curtin Ad391 students who will be graduating in the next few months.

From the Meet & Greet session, here are some of the Strongerhead ways to get yourself career ready.

How to get your career started:
To get it started, first of all, you must get your foot into a company (unless you are starting your own biz).

She was like most fresh graduates back in the 2009, without any working experience. What made matter worst hunting for jobs during recession. That didn’t deter her from knocking on doors and making ‘cold calls’ in her job hunt. To a great extend, she even offered her service for FREE. Finally, she got herself an internship role with Chanel working on marketing data and analysis for 5 months.

Her drive and determination was further rewarded when American Express came knocking.

What did she do correctly to land herself a job?

1) Know what you want
– You need to know what do you want to do for your career. Be in Marketing? Sales? Advertising?
– Have a wish list of companies that you would like them to be part of your resume

2) Be flexible
– Anna very much wanted to be in Advertising, and wrote into Ogilvy, without knowing she actually enjoys doing marketing and sales for the banking industry for than anything else. But she wouldn’t have realised her calling if she had not been flexible enough to explore her career possibilities.

3) Be thick skin
– Never fear of rejections.
– Dare to pick up the line and call any companies (including big MNCs) that you wish to join.
– Dare to ask for the HR, or even the CEO’s contact.

4) Don’t stop till you get enough
– You be rejected many times over but do not stop. Someone will finally say “YES”. It’s just a matter of time.

5) Know how to sell yourself
– If you are not able to describe how you can value add to the company, the battle is LOST.

6) Do your homework before the interview
– Understand the company that you are applying for, the product and service you will be selling or marketing, the name of the marketing programs, etc. You be surprised how these knowledge can impress your employers.

Once you got your foot into a company, what’s next?

1) Be business minded
– It’s only when you know what it takes to generate revenue, you could then better value add. This is where a lot of what you learn in school comes into play. Ie: the need to understand insights, analyse data to uncover insights and opportunities, competitor analysis, SWOT analysis, positioning strategies, and many more (PS to all my students: all the skills you have learned in Ad340 and Ad391, please do not throw them away). The outcome of these skills will help you SELL MORE EFFECTIVELY.

2) Practice good listening skills
– Face it, we are all problem solver. The bigger the problem that you can solve, the more value you can add to the biz. And all problems would surface itself if you listen hard enough.

3) Observe and learn through osmosis
– Pick the best guys in your trade, and learn from them. If they are not going to teach you in person, model every of their moves and pick up all their skills through observation. You will grow faster this way.

4) Take responsibility
– Never blame anyone except yourself. Take responsibility. This way, you would be in control of all outcomes, and you tend to steer it to more positive ones, as no one would prefer negative ones if you have control over your outcome.

5) BALANCE your hard and soft skills
– Horn your skills and be really good at it. But at the same time, do not neglect your soft skills such as people management skills, network, relationship building. At the end of the day, it is people you be dealing with. Your career is make or break by people, not just skills.

6) Strive to be the best of your field
– Dare to be the best of your field. Only the best gets paid well. Average performance gets only average pay.

With all that, I hope you can start your career engine soon.

Taken on 20 Sept 2012, 11.30am at Marina Bay Financial Centre, Tower 3, with Anna Lim, Assistant Marketing Manager