Never too early to build contacts, says career head

Mr Anselm Chu (far left) arranged for student Firdaus Iskandar Shah (left), 24, to be mentored by Mr Abdul Halim Kader, the president of community group Taman Bacaan. Mr Firdaus took part in two conventions on extremist ideology and rehabilitating te
Mr Anselm Chu (left) arranged for student Firdaus Iskandar Shah (right), 24, to be mentored by Mr Abdul Halim Kader, the president of community group Taman Bacaan. Mr Firdaus took part in two conventions on extremist ideology and rehabilitating terrorists. ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

Mr Anselm Chu, 48, is a firm believer in the power of networking. That is why he has made it a key part of his work at the newly launched career office of SIM Global Education.

"Networking is a very real thing," he said, adding that there is a misperception that building contacts is important only when one is at the upper tiers of the workforce.

But he has had students who were given interviews and job offers through word-of-mouth recommendations. "It happens at all levels," he said.

Mr Chu, who is also director of international development at SIM, has roped in his personal contacts as mentors to his young charges.

They include veteran human resource practitioner Harold Kwan, 64, who was Mr Chu's lecturer at SIM in the 1990s, as well as Brigadier-General (NS) Ishak Ismail, who was Mr Chu's platoon commander during national service.

"This is one thing I often tell the students at the career office. You cannot be selfish with who you know," he said. "My personal contacts have recommended other people as potential mentors too."

Mr Chu was brought into the institute in November 2013 to revamp its career development initiatives. He spent a year setting up the new career office, and it began operating this January as a pilot before its official launch last month.

Mr Chu, who previously worked in an education consultancy in China, has more than 20 years' experience volunteering with the People's Association Youth Movement. He also pioneered leadership development and career guidance at Raffles Girls' School (Secondary) in 2005.

He said he has always been interested in youth development and education. He added: "The industry is evolving at a fast pace. We need to prepare our students to have solid career skills."


Pearl Lee

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 02, 2015, with the headline 'Never too early to build contacts, says career head'. Print Edition | Subscribe