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This way up

Published on Friday, 17 Oct 2014

Building on the success of the inaugural event in March, today's second Classified Post Career Forum will again be inviting students and graduates to benefit from career advice from top professionals while helping them to meet with a wide range of Hong Kong's premier employers.

The forum will also be giving those attending another chance to "Shadow a CEO". Earlier this year, 13 students were able to track three bosses at major organisations throughout their working day.

This time around, four new top-level executives will be sharing the view from the top of the career pyramid with those who make it through the selection process.

One of them is Con Constandis, managing director of Pernod Ricard Asia Travel Retail. He says that with the benefit of hindsight, he now knows what he would have focused on if given this sort of opportunity at the start of his career. "If I were shadowing a CEO, I would carefully observe their interactions with all levels of people, internally and externally, to see how CEOs adapt to different situations.

"The good ones adapt or modify their approach, but they don't change fundamentally. Their core values, honesty and integrity are what give people confidence to trust their leadership.

"I realise that while I had different motivating factors and priorities at various stages of my career, I only had one fundamental passion that guided me. I think it would be interesting to understand successful peoples' passion and how it affected their behaviour and mindset during their career."

Another highlight of the Career forum will be the CEO Sharing Conference. Here, business leaders will discuss the sort of qualities it takes to climb the ladder within an organisation.

Next is the Leadership Forum. Among the speakers are Virginia Choi, executive council member of the Hong Kong Institute of Human Resource Management, and Dennis Ho, vice-president of the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants (HKICPA).

Ho is happy for the HKICPA to once again participate in the forum. "HKICPA has been a supporter of this forum since its inauguration and has found it a great platform to reach out to a wide audience of students," he says. "The potential of an accounting career is vast and it is one of the few professions that can lead to an engaging and fruitful career in terms of working in all sorts of industries and sectors in interesting places around the world."

In the afternoon Talent Talk session, Belle Chhoa, assistant director of corporate affairs at Hang Lung Properties, and Andy Ma, deputy general manager of human resources at Hong Kong Airlines, will discuss their own companies' management trainee programmes.

The three-year Hong Kong Airlines programme aims to prepare management trainees for a mid-level management position. In their first two years, through a process of rotation, the trainees gain the technical and soft skills they will require. In their third year, they are sent to one of the company's major outstations to assume the role of an assistant to the station manager.

"One of the unique elements of our programme that sets it apart is our project-based learning structure," Ma explains. "Each management trainee will be assigned a project that enables him or her to learn from the planning stage through to execution. It is very likely that the project will be cross-departmental, which means it will be challenging to work on for someone who is not experienced."

Given that the first contact employers usually have with job applicants is through a letter or email accompanied by a CV, the forum's CV Doctors should provide invaluable advice to those attending.

During the day, professional consultants will give one-on-one CV-enhancing advice on honing and polishing that résumé until it positively shines.

The forum also offers those attending the opportunity to talk directly to representatives of the whole spectrum of the city's top companies, from banks and environmental engineers to telecoms and property firms.

Electricity supplier CLP will have a booth at the event. HR director Connie Lam values the face-to-face meetings the forum makes possible.

"It offers potential hires the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of CLP through direct communication," she says. "Our graduate trainees and young engineers will be happy to share their experience with graduates at the forum.

"It also offers us a platform to understand more about graduates' career expectations and they have the chance to learn about our corporate culture, as well as career prospects in the power industry. The information exchange will help graduates make career choices that fit their aspirations and facilitate CLP in identifying graduates with a passion for engineering."

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