Building a network today for the future of work tomorrow

Discover why building a strong network will help you prepare for the workforce of tomorrow

Two men shaking hands in office block

Building a network today for the future of work tomorrow

The saying “no man is an island” is appropriate for many of us in the working industry. For any business, one will always need to make a collective effort in a bid to achieve professional success. For many individuals who have succeeded in their career, it is largely contributed to the strong networking channels they have created over time.

Success in a job or a career is largely attributed to the pool of information or ideas you have garnered over the years. When networks have been created, it fosters a trade of ideas to sustain long-term relationships and mutual trust.

Alena Salakhova

Case study: Alena Salakhova, Managing Director of Singapore and Hong Kong

With over 13 years of experience in recruitment, Alena moved from her home country, Russia, to San Francisco and to Singapore. She has a Masters Degree in Law and Public Relations, a PhD in Sociology and is a certified professional trainer and SHL Assessor. She was also a member of The Haague International Model United Nations for many years and took part in global UN conferences mostly with a focus on Human Rights.

Currently, she is the chairman for APSCo in Singapore and our internal regional lead for our Diversity & Inclusion committee. Outside of work she is the Head Director of the Russian Theatre Club “Balagan”.

One can only wonder how Alena does it all in such a short span of time, and at such a young age. Here are her key tips to success below, along with how SThree has supported her:

1) Be bold to make a career switch

“I began with Public Relations – a job that was very process driven, and not many companies can understand the investments needed or value it can bring so it was tough for me. I then did a job interview with another company, still within marketing and felt the same way on the job. I was then proposed with a role in recruitment, and went through 8 rounds of interviews, where I found the people and business strategy interesting before I decided to kickstart my career in recruitment which was when I got the job.”

SThree is also an advocate for growing ‘game-changers’ who can be bold to take that leap of faith, and push your boundaries to explore your niche. It is a place for you to build your legacy with sufficient resources provided to build your foundations, that can set you up for success. This will be the future of work as trends continue to shift and evolve, rendering certain skills and specialisations redundant. One must continue to be agile and be adaptable to change to keep up with growing competition.


2) Dare to explore and travel

“Travelling and moving abroad built my level of courage to do something different. I always say this but I highly encourage anyone to either move internally from one function to another within a business, or explore overseas opportunities. You’d be surprise to know that doing the same job in different circumstances pushes your learning curve and the returns can be enormous. The experience does help you to develop your agility – the more agile you are, the more successful you can become and this is critical when you are trying to find a new job.”

SThree adopts a hybrid-working framework where our employees are allowed to work from anywhere in the world, whilst still being connected with your home office. With over 40 offices across the globe, there are limitless opportunities for you to get connected with counterparts in different regions, learn best practices, take networking to greater heights, and even visit headquarters of businesses that you might be working alongside with on their hiring journey.

This will also be the future of work where the idea of an ‘office’ will shift. With the evolution of the office, spaces are designed to increase collaboration and connection. Companies that want to continue to grow quickly will realise the value in continuing face-to-face interactions in the office — at least for a few days a week. This means implementing the right technology, engagement plans and flexibility to continue in a hybrid arrangement.


3) Invest in your learning, and in others

“While many tend to only think about the value for money in a career or a job, you should also think about value in the knowledge you can gain. People who decide on applying for MBAs network and make long-lasting connections, rather than just the education. I am still in contact with my professional network I’ve built and it has always been valuable.”

The connections you make in recruitment are endless – from colleagues you can network with across the globe, to partners that you might get in touch with to support them in their hiring strategy, along with job seekers who are in need of career guidance and support. The fulfilment and relationships you make with people will expand beyond your imagination and this is all part of your job in which you can also make a career out of.

The future of work is here and one will need to be proactive and independent in seeking help, training, and development. Be accountable for your own growth, and learn to help others who are walking on the same journey with you.


4) Make full use of your professional and personal time

“Outside of my professional achievements, I graduated from the theatre school named “Soul” in Russia after 7 years of study. I was asked to join the Russian Theatre Club “Balagan” in 2019 as a Director, where I am currently responsible for auditions among the Russian speaking community, training the team on basic drama acting, and taking part in performances like “The Pit” by Kuprin in November 2019 and February 2020 in the National Library, “War's Unwomanly Face” by Svetlana Alexievich in May 2021, “The Hateful Eight” which was an original script written by me in November 2021.”

SThree also provides you the flexibility to plan your work schedules to chart your own growth. Each individual have their own way of working and we want to provide this flexibility to our employees to allow them to perform at their best performing capacity that they can achieve.

Growing her team in SThree Singapore and Hong Kong, we have reached over 40 headcount with two well-known brands, Huxley and Real Life Sciences that supercharge growth in Banking, Financial Services, Technology, Pharmaceuticals and Life Sciences. Her ability to fast-track her career all within a short span of time and at a young age to lead the Singapore and Hong Kong team is impressive, but it comes with a lot of determination, strong will, dedication and commitment to the grind.


5) Get mentorship, and grow to mentor others

With a passion for mentorship, Alena has also been heavily involved in mentorship programmes with the SMU Institute of Innovation & Entrepreneurship IEE, mentoring aspiring entrepreneurs and sharing more about attracting talent and retaining talent for start-ups.

She conducted one-on-one consultations with SMU BIG incubatees who had the exclusive opportunity to ask questions about her career journey, business strategy, key decisions, and next steps. Collaborating and partnering with the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) for 'Singapore Investment Clinic', she also shared top insights on what Singapore's talent landscape in sectors like life sciences and tech is looking like, changing perceptions towards contract employment, and benefits every employer can reap today.

“Apart from professional mentorship, I was also involved in the bilingual school for kids to educate them with Drama and we had two performance back to 2018 and 2020.”

In SThree, we have mentorship programmes and ‘buddy programmes’ that will allow our junior recruiters to learn and pick up best practices from our senior leadership team. Apart from this, we also provide world-class training and development programmes that will equip you with the right skills at any point of your career, whether you are a senior in the business, or a rookie in recruitment.


6) Be the puppet-master of your career today

You need to be the puppet-master and be in control to build your own professional brand. Having the right mindset is key, and an ample amount of confidence. There is a fine line between having confidence and being overly-confident in your capabilities. Be open to share the value you can bring to your team and to others.”

If you are inspired by Alena’s successes and her career journey, and looking to become a talent that is ready for the future of work, reach out to us today for a chat to find out more about our people, why our recruiters love what they do, as well as job opportunities available here with us!

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