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Get Your Applications In: Words of Wisdom from Last Year’s Canadian CEO for One Month

Young woman at work

Students, young adults, recent grads– have you applied to Adecco’s 2016 CEO for One Month opportunity yet? This highly-coveted experience could grant you a paid summer internship shadowing Adecco’s North American CEO, Bob Crouch. You’ll get to see how a Global 500 company is run from the inside, undertake real-world business assignments, meet other brilliant young candidates, and learn directly from Adecco’s senior leadership. And the good news is that there’s still time to get your applications in by the April 15th deadline!

To help with your submission, we sat down with last year’s Canadian ambassador Terry Zhang to discuss what he’s taken away from his experience and share his successful application advice. Take it away, Terry…

Why you should apply

CEO for One Month has led to so much for me. To this day, I talk about my experience on my resume and LinkedIn profile. I even secured a summer internship from it. It was a gift that keeps on giving.

Seeing how a Fortune 500 runs on the inside at age 19 was pretty wild. Not just seeing it, but being able to talk to presidents, vice presidents, and executives! This really helped me to form my own goals and visions for my future career. It made me want to start my own company.

“There’s a difference between being a boss and being a leader.”

The experience made me realize that being a leader isn’t at all how it’s portrayed on television shows like House of Cards or Suits. I learned that leadership is about working with the people around you, not telling them what to do.

I’ve also applied what I learned to my personal leadership style since I’ve been back. The experience taught me a lot about my soft skills and how to use those effectively in the workplace. It armed me with the ability to talk to people from different walks of life. I can now communicate effectively with people who need guidance as well as those who are much more experienced and accomplished. That is invaluable when you’re just starting out. In fact, I’m applying those very skills during the student elections I’m currently running in.

Simply put, being an effective leader will take you further in life. No matter what you chose to do with your life—whatever level or industry—having leaderships skills and being able to talk to your co-workers respectfully will take you far and let you get things done! You’ll be able to get people on your side because they’ll want to be.

The CEO for One Month experience wasn’t only about serious business learning. There was a fair bit of fun and goofing around as well—making videos, participating in icebreaker challenges and having down time with accomplished young people from across North America. Leadership is a balancing act.

Along with leadership guidance, I also got to talk to top candidates from across the region and hear about their individual experiences— their lives, their leadership approaches, what helped them rise to the top and brought them to the competition. We all learned from one another.

The Submission

Terry’s exciting and invaluable journey started with his application. Below are his insider tips for all you CEO for One Month hopefuls—both for the application process and beyond:

Do research Adecco. Find out what they’re looking for and how they work. Learn their culture, values and mission. If you’re going to help run the company, you’re going to want to know as much as you can.

Do make your application representative of who you are. Include your passions, causes, and the activities you like to do. Do bring up examples from your real life. Talk about achievements and experiences you’ve had at school or elsewhere and how they’ll serve you to be a great representative for Canada. This includes your involvement in university, conferences, extra-curricular activities and sports.

Do make sure to mention opportunities you’ve had to communicate with people. For example, I spoke about getting to represent my school at an engineering conference. Show similarities between the opportunities you’ve had and the CEO for One Month experience—especially ones from outside the classroom.

Do be professional. That means dressing the part. Leave the sweatpants, jeans, and running shoes for when you’re not in front of business personnel.

Do use your social media to promote yourself! Showcase your supporters and cheerleaders. And let your followers track your application process through your LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and blog. Be constantly engaged with your audience and show off your passion for this experience.

Do clean up your social media before applying! Take anything out that doesn’t represent who you are as a person and professional. You can still have fun online but always keep it appropriate and considerate.

Do not read off a script or rely on stock business verbiage. Bring out your own personality and reflect who you are in real life. Be authentic and try your best to seem natural. Speak from the heart.

Do close the books and get out there. Talk to people. Get involved in university life. It’s an asset everybody should have. The skills you learn will take you miles beyond what you learn in university.

Do not focus on “winning”. Go into this eager for what you’ll get to learn. You’ll embark on a journey that will be so useful for your life! Soak it up. This was the advice my parents gave me, and it really worked.

“Leadership is something you can step into and nurture.”

Remember you don’t need to see yourself as a leader to apply. Leadership is something you can step into and nurture. If you’re able to understand other people’s perspectives, you’re already on your way to becoming a better team member and leader.

Good luck to all the future leaders out there! Applications are open until April 15th and can be accessed here.

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