Kirsty Wilmot - Kick-start your grad scheme
Nine weeks of my first placement have flown by. I’m really enjoying it; learning lots and getting involved as much as possible. The one thing that seems to crop up every single day – in one way or another – is how important and beneficial it is to go above and beyond your job description to really kick-start your career. I have therefore created a list of tips and suggestions about how you can get stuck in, add value to the business and boost your own personal development.
- LinkedIn: not only is this a great tool for solidifying professional connections you have already made, it also allows you to find people in your office who you would like to introduce yourself to. Using LinkedIn allowed me to identify people in my business area whose jobs sounded really interesting to me. Off the back of this, I was able to arrange meetings with them to find out more about their daily activities, career paths and tips.
- Extracurricular: whether (like me) it’s offering support to your office’s Wellbeing Champion and creating a monthly newsletter to circulate, or (unlike me) becoming an indispensable member of the office football team, get involved in something at work outside of your normal role. This will help you expand your network of contacts, build relationships and embed yourself in the business’ culture.
- Be perceptive: thinking logically will allow you to look further ahead than the task in hand and anticipate what needs to be done before you’re asked to do it. If you do this, people will recognise your efficiency and proactiveness and so will give you more responsibility and opportunities. Thinking ahead like this has enabled me to drive progress in projects I have been working on.
- Create your own opportunities: take the initiative to ask to go to meetings, dial into calls and sit with other teams that you think will give you a useful insight – don’t wait for an invitation which may not come. By adopting a proactive attitude, I have had the chance to see various other parts of the business which I wouldn’t have had an insight into otherwise. This has enabled me to better understand the position of my business area within the company and thus ensure every decision I make adds value to the business.
- Notepad: don’t be caught out without some paper and a pen – you never know when you’ll need to capture some key information. I often make a few notes during discussions with people and I almost always end up referring to them afterwards.
- Learn your ABCs: the sooner you debunk the acronym jargon that you’ll inevitably come across in any new company, the more fully you will understand what everyone is actually talking about. I have made a list of acronyms which I add to every time I come across one I’m not familiar with. This has definitely helped me get my head around them quicker.
- Tip share: ask the people you meet and work with what their tips are; what they wish they’d known when they were starting out etc. – lessons learned don’t always have to be your own! Through doing this, I have picked up some great tips and been exposed to other people’s ways of looking at things. This has taught me to think creatively and approach obstacles from different angles in order to find a solution.
This list is by no means exhaustive – build on, edit and tailor it as you go through your placements to make it your own. However, if there is one top tip you take from this blog entry, it should be this: go the extra mile in your placements because you will get out what you put in.