Build Real Relationships. Advice For New Grads
Originally Published: SFU, Human Resources Students’ Association
Build Real Relationships. Career Advice For New Grads
Vivian Fung has come a long way since her days as a student at Simon Fraser University. Having graduated with an accounting concentration, received her CHRP designation, and worked with companies like Ernest & Young, her diversely extensive background definitely makes her stand-out amongst others in her field. Now, as a Senior Consultant at Vancouver based recruiting firm Goldbeck Recruiting, Vivian uses her years of skills and knowledge to help businesses in finding outstanding candidates, primarily in the field of Sales, Marketing, and Human Resources.
Many of us still in school now have a particular ‘field’ or ‘industry’ in mind that we want to establish ourselves in, whether that be in tech, marketing, or finance, and we work hard throughout the short years of our undergraduate studies specializing in that one designation through co-op terms, volunteer placements, and more. While there is nothing wrong with knowing where you want to end up and working hard to get there, Vivian’s diverse career path up to now will perhaps make you stress a little less about finding that life-long niche.
Don’t network just to get a job; network to build real relationships.
After working for several years as a professional accountant at E&Y, Fung decided that she wanted a career change. And so the planning and research began. To ensure her own success, Fung was aware of what her next steps were, and planned an exit point to lay out what skills and expectations she had. “It’s important to be clear, not vague, on your goals,” for your own sake and so other people know what you want. The switch to HR took up to 9 months for her, but the amount of networking, planning, and research she did during that time definitely paid off as she has since gained several achievements, from being recognized as the Top National Scorer for BC HRMA’s CHRP Practice Assessment in 2012, to her proven record with top clients at Goldbeck now.
We highlight 3 helpful tips Vivian has for students wanting to stand out, and for those who are unsure of what to expect post-grad.
1. Take advantage of informational interviews.
During her 9 month transition from tax accounting to HR, Vivian did several informational interviews with professionals in the HR field to learn and gain perspective on what a day at work was like for them, what tips they have, and what skills she needed to get her foot in the door. Always be prepared and know what questions you want to ask. This is a great research method, which at the same time helps you expand your network. However…
2. Don’t network just to get a job; network to build real relationships.
The point of informational interviews is not to get a job, but rather to learn more about the company and establish a relationship with the person you’re speaking with. That goes with any networking opportunity you come across. As someone who has spoken at both large and small scale events, Vivian says that nothing bothers her more than people who are apparent about wanting something from you. “Don’t expect a job.” Network to build a genuine relationship with the person first; ask them what they do, and at most, exchange contact information to stay in touch.
3. Be mindful of what drives you, but don’t over-think what guides you.
More often than not, your interests, what you study in school and circle of family and friends make up most of who you are; the people and things you associate with do moderately define you as an individual, but they don’t always have to. “Just because you choose a concentration, doesn’t mean you can’t work in another field.” You don’t need to cut meaningful relationships because someone is not exactly like you or who you want to be. The key is to be mindful, and not over think. Having a diverse network and set of skills can do no wrong to you.