[Blog] Career Advice from BX Friends

Career Advice from Ms. Kazue Sasaki, Career Service Director at Hitotsubashi ICS

We are thankful for Ms. Kazue Sasaki, Career Service Director at Hitotsubashi ICS, who sent us a short video message addressing fresh graduates facing an unprecedented job hunting landscape in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Watch her video via the link below or read through our summary of her advice!

Watch it on YouTube or Tencent.

Advice #1: Analyze the Fragility and Opportunities of Different Industries

Despite the fact that some industries and companies have been hit hard by the pandemic, others see this time as an opportunity to grow their business and are continuing to recruit new staff.

Advice #2: Reassess Your Short-Term Career Plan

Once you have mapped out the risks and opportunities of different industries and companies, you may need to reassess your short-term career plan and expand the scope of your target job in terms of industry, company, or position.  Be flexible and pragmatic in your approach to finding your first job during the COVID-19 crisis.

Advice #3: Stick to Your Career Aspiration but be Flexible

Instead of limiting yourself to an “ideal position” in a specific company, consider other opportunities that may come your way.  You do not need to give up on your career aspirations but these unprecedented times demand a degree of flexibility.  Networking is especially important now – use your network at your school and the Bai Xian community to connect with people from various industries all over the world.

Advice #4: Be Comfortable with a Certain Level of Ambiguity

There are many unknowns at the moment and the best you can do is to draw assumptions and consider multiple scenarios and options.  Try to be at ease with a certain level of uncertainty.

The Best Career Advice No One (but Angela) Tells You

At a recent Coffee Time session, Ms. Angela Cheung (Managing Director of APV, and Communication and Development Committee member of BXAI) shared with us some unconventional yet practical career advice that gave us new perspectives on how to find and sustain a purposeful career.  Check out the recording of the session or our summary below to learn more!

Watch it on YouTube or Tencent.

Advice #1: To be Successful, Just Exhibit These Three (or Even Two!) Traits

According to bestselling author, Neil Gaiman, we only need to develop these three traits to be successful in our work: (1) deliver good work, (2) deliver on time, and (3) be likeable.  And the best part is, we don’t even need all three – two out of three is good enough!

If your work is not amazing but you deliver it on time and you are a real pleasure to be around, you’ll probably get hired again.  If you miss a deadline, but deliver great work and are likeable, you’ll also probably get hired again.  “The good news is, you don’t have to be amazing at everything,” said Angela, adding that another important component she would add to the mix is providing a positive experience to our clients.

Advice #2: Don’t Think Out of the Box Until You Understand What the Box is!

“To break the rules, you have to understand the rules.”

Through her “180-degree rule” illustration, Angela explained that to effectively venture “outside the box”, we must first understand the boundaries and rules (such as brand guidelines and office etiquette) of the business, brand, or company.

Advice #3: Don’t Expect Your Boss to Care About You

“There’s no career godmother who comes in and gives you a job that has purpose.”

Angela emphasized the need to take responsibility for our own career.  At the most basic level, our jobs are just simple business transactions: we are given a salary for services that we deliver.  Instead of expecting the company or our boss to offer us purpose and a career path, we have to take it upon ourselves to create value.  If I want to earn more, what more can I offer?  If I want more purpose, what purpose can I glean from this job?  How can I steer my career path during my time at this company?

Advice #4: One Plus One Equals Three

In his book, The Power of Twos, Joshua Wolf Shenk uses examples of numerous famous duos to shatter the myth of the lone genius and highlight how one-to-one partnerships drive creative success.

Angela spoke about how and why two partners, often contrasting in personality or skill set, balance each other out to attain success, and stressed the importance of finding the right partner.

“Bai Xian is a great place to look for collaborative partners, and to start finding out who you like working with, and who does or doesn’t bring out the best in you.”

Just as our speakers Angela and Treena advised us at the presentation workshop to “let your network work for you,” we encourage you to join the BXAI LinkedIn group here so that you may connect with our network of scholars, alumni, and friends across cohorts, fields of study, and industries.  See you online!