Stand Out! (8 Tips for interns and graduates)
1. Dress for success: People that dress well for work carry themselves with a certain confidence and have this “I’m ready for anything” type of vibe. It’s noticeable, and I tend to see that they bring that some energy to their work. Dressing well doesn’t mean buying expensive and flash work clothes. Dress appropriately (according to your workplace guidelines) and wear things that make you feel good. When you look good, you feel good, you do good! In addition to this, how you dress creates a perception of you and a lot of the time that’s all people have because it will take you a while before you can really start to make valuable contributions to your team. Start on the right note, by dressing for success.
2. Become an SME: Become a subject matter expert with regards to your role and the area you work within / are responsible for. When you become a mini expert in something, you become the go to person, which reflects that you are trusted and have a reputation for knowing your stuff. It’s also a great thing for you, in terms of developing a deep understanding and being able to communicate that information to others. People in your team notice when you’re the one always being called/emailed about particular issues. Becoming a subject matter expert takes time, but here are some tips:
· Ask lots of questions, especially of the people who did your role before you. (as I mentioned in a previous post, take full advantage of your newbie status)
· Take advantage of online training modules: Most companies have online training modules on a variety of things topics. Sign up to those and complete them when you have time during your day, you can select the modules relevant to you.
· Networking and shadowing: meeting with other people within your area, who aren’t necessarily in your team can be really good in terms of offering a different perspective/knowledge your team may not have. For example, I used to support several trading desks, so I made the effort to shadow a few of the traders once a week when I first started.
· Once you’re confident, share your knowledge with the team. Present to them, train up some of your colleagues on your area of expertise, and if you can, create a beginner guide to make it easier it easier for the next person.
3. Be known for something specific: This is closely linked to the above but this time, more skill specific. Are you really good at fancy PowerPoints, or an Excel pro? Are you a good communicator and can present well? Whatever it is, make sure people know! This becomes really useful, especially when trying to get projects outside of your day to day work, for example, the current placement intern in my team can code in five languages, so my manager has got her to build macros and automate some of our reports, which she is presenting to our global head. I’m known for training people to a high standard, so whenever a new person joins my team, they sit with me for a few weeks and I take them through everything.
4. Have a positive attitude: Not every day is going to be fun or exciting. Some days will be long and stressful, but your ability to remain positive and upbeat will really stand out and help increase the team morale.
5. Diversity networks/company initiatives: In the same way that universities have societies, most companies have networks (same concept). Some are sports related, others more diversity orientated (e.g. Women’s network, Black professionals, Asian professionals, LGBT, Disability networks and more). Some of these networks may be firm wide or organised according to regions/divisions. Try and get involved with some of these networks and advocate for them in your team. Many of these networks do several events throughout the year but not everyone will know about them, so be the one to raise awareness and get your team involved. For example one of the new graduates in my team had someone from the LGBT network come to our team meeting and present to us which was really insightful. I would say get involved in networks you are genuinely passionate about, not just because you want to look good.
6. Commercial awareness: Commercial awareness is a skill you would’ve demonstrated throughout the application process but it doesn’t stop there. Demonstrating that you are fully aware of what is happening in your industry and how it may affect your company /department shows that you’re a broad thinker and have a genuine interest. You can demonstrate this by sharing the links to relevant articles with your team and briefly talk about new industry developments in your team meeting etc.
7. Create your own projects: If you identify something that could be done better or that your team currently doesn’t do, but you think they should make it into a project for yourself. It will show that you think outside of the box, take initiative and you’re proactive.
8. Be excellent and work hard: Be excellent at what you do. Deliver everything to the best of your abilities and to a high standard. Don’t be afraid to get stuck into issues which are unfamiliar to you, this is where you’ll learn the most.