Trinity alum and influential community figure Bill Cowan AM returned to Trinity for a fireside chat on 15 March to share information from his new book, which can help young jobseekers navigate today’s complex world of employability.
Bill Cowan is a notable character within the Trinity College community, having grown up on the College grounds when his father Ronald William Trafford Cowan was Warden from 1946. He then joined Trinity as a resident in 1963 and was elected Senior Student in 1966. Bill returned in the 1980s to join the Trinity Finance Committee and played a role in establishing Trinity’s Foundation Studies program, which helped transform the College into a world-class education institution.
Outside of the College, Bill has worked in London and New York with corporations such as IBM, McKinsey & Company and Merrill Lynch. However, he discovered his passion for career transition management back in Australia when he directed and aided the corporatisation of Davidson & Associates – a company providing career transition services for senior executives in Australia and abroad.
Bill says he enjoys helping people be the best they can be in their careers, and also jokes that ‘people need a lot of help’.
As such, Bill has recently released a book titled Building a Winning Career, which was the topic of his discussion with Trinity students in last week’s fireside chat. The chat was received by students as inspiring, as it helped them develop an understanding of the complexities of securing stable employment after university, which is an increasingly big issue for young adults.
Bill noted this in the chat, saying: ‘In my time, I was offered three jobs before I left the College … now it is different’. He continued with an example from his book of a Trinity student he knew who applied for 500 jobs and did not get one. One of Bill’s key takeaways from this example is that ‘you can’t just be smart’ and stresses the importance of projecting your character as it has been shaped by your professional experiences, and finding the right connections to express this to.
Through his book, Bill hopes to help people, including members of the Trinity College community, by sharing the professional knowledge he has gained over numerous decades in the professional sphere.
‘The book is 380-odd pages, so it’s not an easy read,’ he says, but adds that he has included all the information needed to establish a successful career, regardless of whether you want to seek employment or want to know if a job is right for you once you get it.
Bill explains that he has divided the book into 10 chapters that step through the full career transition process. This includes how to stand out to employers, succeed in an interview and seek career advice from those in your circle and beyond, and the importance of building a network.
Armed with this information, Bill feels that readers will be equipped to build a winning career.
By Jemma Wilson