A big attraction of a Graduate job is the grandeur (yeah I used the word grandeur, so what?) surrounding choosing your own projects. Regularly experiencing new clients and constantly learning new skills – sounds great! And it’s true, this is certainly is a brilliant part and definitely keeps the working life fresh.
However. There is a giant, fuck off caveat that no-one tells you, but is written at the bottom of your contract, in white, in –1 font. The truth is, some projects are crap, and it’s part of your job to find the good ones.
So how do you do that? You network. You network your freaking butt off.
Imagine you’ve just started. Induction’s over. Monday is here. Some people will rock up and begin gloating that they’re getting paid to drink coffee, whilst they wait for HR to allocate them a role.
Others will rock up Monday, looking sharp as hell, switched on and start working the intranet (#skype). Researching their fields, sending targeted emails and setting up meetings.
One of those will find that ruby of a role working on “implementing SmartCity initiatives, collaborating with global pioneer’s in Singapore”, the other will be put on a “legacy system database migration”, probably in Slough… Two roles, two very different experiences. All because someone took their eye off the goal.
Your first few weeks are instrumental. They present an opportunity to research the company from the inside letting you understand what makes it tick, whilst your not exceedingly busy. You can put your name out to all the right places and leverage the spare time and capacity you have to put your fingers in lots of pies. Because lets be honest, you want to be busy and you want to be busy doing something you’re interested in.
How do you do it though? Virtual networking is tricky, and even harder when you’re fresh to a company, unassigned and the clock is ticking. Luckily for you we’ve put our experience into 5 simple steps to help you find the graduate role you want.
5 Simple Steps
Here’s my 5 top tips to help ensure you find your own Singapore Smart Cities role. Thank me later.
- Ignore the HR scheduling crew– For all their talk and false care, these people have staffing targets, which really do not factor you in. They’re not there to help you, they’re there to not get yelled at by their own boss because they’ve a host of unassigned roles.
- Research – Find your niche, then contact the expert (See Step 3 for How To). Aim for a face to face – but know about the scene so you can credibly talk about it. Be prepared to do the side of desk, extra-curricular input to get your name in the hat. You can’t win the lottery if you don’t play!
- Start the conversation yourself– An email from some random at 10am Monday won’t do shit on its own. Send the mail, “introduction spiel, great to chat” (3 lines tops). Then instant message them on your intranet, skype, slack, whatever works. Start the conversation yourself. Don’t be needy, but be persistent. It’s your career and you need to steer it.
- LinkedIn is not your pal– Great for external searches, but limited for internal. Instead use the people you know, ask questions, hassle (again be persistent, not annoying!) and genuinely engage with the people around you to set up a powerful network. Hell I once took a picture of someone’s table-place name care when they went to the toilet so I could email them the day after to follow up our semi-drunken chat. Cue real-life connections.
- Give and Get–Help others out, put their name out there and use your network for them. People won’t forget support you’ve given them, then you can cash the tacit IOU when you need it.
There’s loads more you can do, but the truth of it is;
- Do not waste your time– This ain’t summer camp
- Follow up on everything– It might have been Wednesday night wine chat, but now it’s getting to Singapore chat.
- Maintain your connections– Everything ends, except HR targets.
The assertive and persistent will carve out the career they want.
On graduate schemes nothing is handed to you, the assertive and persistent find what’s out there and carve out the career they want, not what’s handed to them. Enjoy your coffee when you’re in happy in your position with your goal clearly in progress, not while HR is assigning your butt to some hole that Starbucks even avoids.
For more tips and advice on networking or role research leave us a comment or subscribe.