Forget What You “Know”

(Written by Tonia Gibeault, Director – Human Resources for ACUITY, A Mutual Insurance Company)

Life is about choices. For example, one can choose to “know,” or one can choose to know. While attending college in pursuit of a degree in business management, I knew I would eventually establish a career in a business or corporate setting. I also “knew” I would never work for an insurance company, nor in the sales or marketing fields. Ironically, however, my first “real job” out of college was as a marketing analyst for my current employer—an industry-leading and award-winning insurance company—over 13 years ago.

I have spent the last decade of my career in ACUITY’s human resources department. During this time, I have had the pleasure of interacting with a myriad of students, many who “know” and a few who know. For the few who know, this attribute is a distinct competitive advantage when talking to employers about job opportunities. So, how do you gain this advantage?

#1 – Forget what you “know” by keeping an open mind. If you’re a math major, do you “know” you must become a math teacher or work with numbers all day, or do you know that some of ACUITY’s brightest and most talented software developers earned their degrees in mathematics? If you’re an accounting or finance major, do you know you have transferrable skills conducive to a successful career in underwriting? If you’re a history major, do you know you can come very close to rewriting history for many victims as a claims adjuster, positively impacting their lives forever?

I estimate that 95%—likely more—of the employees hired at ACUITY never envisioned working in the insurance industry, simply because they didn’t know about the variety of dynamic and rewarding opportunities. Keep an open mind and know there are incredible opportunities outside the commonly known career paths in your field of study.

#2 – Forget what you “know” by doing your research. Many students have their hearts set on one position with one or two companies because they “know” these as their only options. When an acquaintance informed me about the marketing analyst position, I immediately dismissed the opportunity because I “knew” I didn’t want to be employed in sales or marketing (nor did I want to work for an insurance company, as you may recall). Thankfully, enough information was shared with me to spark an interest. At this juncture, I transitioned from “knowing” I would never work in the insurance industry to knowing it was a possibility. Extensive research on ACUITY and speaking with someone already in the position solidified my interest. I knew this was a great opportunity to leave my job and begin a career.

Your Career Services team hosts several events throughout the year—including widely-attended career fairs—to broaden the informational and job opportunities available to you. Use these convenient events to educate yourself. Research positions and companies. Know which are best for you.

The return on investment from keeping an open mind and conducting research is substantial. Forget what you “know,” and learn what you need to know.

To learn about ACUITY’s entry-level job opportunities, visit https://www.acuity.com/acuityweb/careers/mainpage.xhtml

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