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14 Mar 2012
By Brie Macklin
Mar
14
2012

What advice would you give to a recent graduate?

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  1. Gwynn Compton (Telstra Employee) says:

    My advice would be three fold:
    1 – Be open for new opportunities.
    My degree was a BA in History and Political Science. My first job post-graduating was as a bank teller. It was completely left field, but it gave me a foot in the door for the bank’s graduate program, especially in terms of building up some financial sector experience. I followed this up by picking the Business Banking graduate placement, assessing and approving loans, trying to sell banking products to SMEs and so on. Again this was to build on a skill set to compliment what I’d done in my degree – lots of research and writing. Eventually this led me to where I am now, but if I went back and told my graduate self this, I’d have been skeptical.

    2 – Be patient. One of the most common sentiments graduates encounter is the perception that we think we know everything and the best way to meet this is to be patient and learn. Don’t presume you know everything or that your fresh set of eyes will see the answer everyone else has missed. One of the key lessons from my graduate program was that sometimes you can’t solve an issue. We were given a project that nobody had solved in six years, and we didn’t solve it either. What was important though was what we took from it about always learning, collaborating and accepting setbacks.

    3 – Be ambitious. While it’s important to show you can be patient, it’s equally as important to demonstrate you have a hunger to grow. Look for new opportunities to add to your skill set. Avoid getting pigeon holed. As much as I loved my graduate role in business banking, to some extent it was an exercise in getting bums on seats as the advancement prospects were very narrow. So whenever the opportunity presented itself, I put my hand up to work on side projects, especially those that gave me a wider profile in the business. Within 14 months it paid off, and I moved into communications – a field that matched my degree far more than assessing loans did. Though in saying that, all that financial knowledge I built up over those first two years has proved invaluable since.

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