Sharing from former Director of Careers & Placement (CEDARS, HKU) | Ms. Jaime Fung
I had the privilege of working as the Director of Careers and Placement at HKU CEDARS (Centre of Development and Resources for Students) for almost ten years from 2013 to 2023. During my tenure, our mission was to empower students and graduates in building their personalized career journeys, enriching their skills and experiences, enabling them to contribute to their organizations and the community, and bringing about meaningful impacts.
In an ever-changing job market, students and graduates face unique challenges, particularly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. As the former Director of Careers and Placement at CEDARS, I leveraged my extensive experience as Human Resources Director and a corporate/executive coach, and spearheaded many initiatives to support students and graduates in thriving amidst uncertainty, and navigating the employment market and workplace during the COVID-19 era and beyond.
Partnerships That Open Doors:
During these unprecedented times, I recognized the importance of forging strategic partnerships with employers who were adapting to the new normal. I led the team to seek out employers and organizations that provided remote work opportunities, virtual internships, and flexible employment arrangements. We also collaborated in organizing career and networking events, and ensured that our students and graduates had access to valuable industry insights and employment options that aligned with the changing dynamics of the job market. In addition, we also worked closely with faculties and departments within the University to offer tailored career- related skills training to their students to enhance their professional success.
Adapting to a Virtual Environment:
The COVID-19 pandemic necessitated a shift to remote work and virtual interactions. Understanding the significance of adapting to this new reality, I led the transformation of our career development programs and services into a virtual format. Through innovative online platforms, webinars, and virtual career fairs, we provided students and graduates with the tools and resources to excel in a digital work environment. By embracing technology, we empowered them to overcome the challenges posed by the pandemic and thrive in a virtual workplace.
Building Resilience and Adaptability:
The COVID-19 era highlighted the importance of resilience and adaptability in the face of adversity. Drawing on my background as a corporate/executive coach, I introduced individual coaching services and new workshops focused on developing these essential skills as well as facilitating students to have better career planning. We provided guidance on remote work best practices, effective communication in virtual settings, and strategies for effective job searching and managing emotional stress during challenging times. By equipping students and graduates with these skills, we ensured their readiness to navigate the uncertainties and tackle the unique demands of the employment market during and after the pandemic.
Celebrating Resilient Success Stories:
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, our students and graduates demonstrated remarkable resilience and adaptability in the face of unprecedented challenges. We celebrated their success stories, highlighting individuals who secured satisfying employment opprtunities, launched innovative ventures, and gained impressive experience from participating our career exploration events. These stories served as inspiration and motivation for others, showcasing the strength and determination of our student community.
Quantifying the Impact:
The impact of our efforts to support students and graduates during the COVID-19 era was not only evident in their success stories but also backed by concrete data. We tracked employment rates, surveyed employers about the preparedness of our graduates, and gathered feedback from students on their satisfaction with our virtual career development programs and support services. These quantitative measurements provided tangible evidence of the positive impact we made in preparing individuals for the employment market and workplace during challenging times.
I am immensely proud of the support that we had provided to students and graduates during the COVID-19 era, facilitating them to navigate the employment market and workplace successfully. As we move forward into a post-COVID-19 world, all of us should embrace the experience gained during this challenging period. Together, we can overcome any obstacles that come our way. Although I had retired from this role in June this year, I am confident that students and graduates will continue to be supported and guided to thrive in the employment market and achieve professional aspirations.