Former Apple Employee Sam Sung Has Some Sage Advice For Setting Yourself Apart in Business

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Sam Sung made headlines back in 2012 when his Apple business card went viral on the internet. People simply found it hilarious that an Apple employee could bear the name of the company’s biggest competitor.
Putting his fame to good use, Sung decided to put his last business card up for auction on eBay, with all proceeds going to charity. The card was recently sold to the highest bidder at $2,653. The money will be going to The Children’s Wish Foundation, an organization that focuses on helping children with serious illnesses.
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Currently, Sam Sung works marketing and operations at Holloway Shulz & Partners. He also is an advisor and mentor at The Graduate Advocate, a company that offers graduates-to-be and new graduates free advice on networking, resume writing, and business strategies.
I recently had the pleasure of catching up with Sam Sung over email. Here, we discuss what truly matters in succeeding in business and how millennials can set themselves apart in this tough job market.
In your Linkedin profile, you state that you care about reputation more than revenue. Care you elaborate?

The industry I’m in is typically known for being very competitive and driven only by commissions. I like to do good business at a good price and treat people well. I do my best to follow up with candidates, especially if we’re not moving forward with them. Full disclosure is a good policy too. I also turn away business if requested to discriminate on age, gender, ethnicity, etc etc. some businesses out there think they can get away with it if they partner with a 3rd party recruitment firm. That shit does not fly with me.

After your stint with Apple, you went on to work at Holloway Schulz & Partners. Tell us a little bit about what you do over there.

Essentially I’m a recruiter – or headhunter as some people call it. This involves partnering with companies who are searching for specific talents or skills in the market but can’t find them or require some extra manpower. We also work with people who are currently in positions who are passively searching for new opportunities.

What made you want to auction off your last card for charity? Where did your passion for philanthropy come from?

The idea came into my head after the card fell out of a book I was reading. My dad was the one who inspired me; he used to sponsor local soccer teams so they could buy their uniforms and during the recession he partnered with our local MP to arrange complimentary meals to struggling families on Christmas day.

You graduated with a BA in marketing, how useful was your college experience for you when it came to applying it to real life situations?

My degree definitely gave me a solid foundation and I’m very grateful for the Scottish education system. I also had some wonderfully patient professors considering I was a bit of a hothead [still am to be fair].

Does this mean you believe college is mandatory for young aspiring entrepreneurs?

Definitely not – and especially not in this day and age where teenagers are starting profitable companies from their computer at home. If you are lucky enough to have access to college and higher education then I endorse it completely but I also appreciate that there are so many individuals doing amazing thing out there who don’t have a college background.

As an advisor to young graduates, what are the biggest things they commonly don’t get when it comes to business or entrepreneurship?

I do my best to share what I can do new graduates, even though I was one only a few years ago. Some challenges I’ve noticed a lot of graduates don’t get is:

Most degrees mean fuck all. It’s your work experience or network that counts.

Ideas mean fuck all too unless you can execute them.

Your network is your net worth. Invest in your relationships early and work hard to maintain them.

What are some things newly graduates can do to set themselves apart in this tough job market?

Handwrite someone a note. Ask to exchange ideas about a company or industry. Make sure you have a LinkedIn profile with a professional picture [no fuckin’ selfies] so that when you’re looked up, you look legit.

Handwritten notes have an 80% response rate and can turn cold calls into lukewarm calls.

What about for the ones currently in college, but haven’t graduated? What do you think they should be doing as they discover their true passions in life and what they want to do as a career?

To those currently in college, don’t expect to immediately walk into a career after uni – it takes time and investing in your network.

If you have Facebook, everyone’s will always doing better than you. Chill out and don’t let it affect your self-esteem too much.

What are your long terms goals? Do you want to start your own company at some point in your life?

Long term goals? Become an industry touch point for professionals and businesses. To play a part in growing businesses in Canada and lowering the unemployment rate. I recruit for business development, sales and marketing positions in BC. My thought process is if I help companies source the strong revenue generators for their company, they company will grow and continue to hire. Thus, by helping companies drive revenue, more jobs will be created.

I’d like to be in a position one day where I can spend 1/3 of my salary, save 1/3 and donate 1/3.

My own company? Absolutely. Will it be called Sam Sung Inc? Probably not.

Follow Sam Sung on Twitter @ayesamsung and Linkedin.
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