Dress smartly, finish your work, build your network, and you’ll be fine.
As graduate schemes open their doors for a new generation of employees, the City is now flooded with fresh-faced grads, all eager to impress. But how to stand out? A few simple steps can go a long way to getting you noticed.
DRESS FOR SUCCESS
It seems trivial but if you want to stand out from the crowd, you must look the part. This doesn’t mean hopping onto the Waterloo & City line in a pinstripe suit and yellow bow tie, but dressing smartly and spending a little money on what you wear to work will show you care about your appearance and reflect well on your attitude. For both men and women, it’s best to err on the side of conservatism. It also pays to know your environment; take into account the dress code of your senior colleagues and clients. Taking pride in your appearance will also help to boost self-confidence.
You’ve made it, but you really haven’t. The foot through the door is just the first step. So while you may be the first of your friends to secure a job in the City, the most impressive thing of all is to remain dignified in your achievements. Within the office, even if you feel you are taking on more responsibility than your title should involve, don’t assume this equals immediate progression. It’s good to make your contribution known and to speak up for yourself, but extra experience is necessary to progress and that’s just something that comes with time.
GET YOUR HEAD DOWN
Get on with the tasks that are asked of you without complaining. Everyone will be asked to do things they don’t want to do. But if you can show you can just get the work done, it will get you noticed and do wonders for your reputation.
Regardless of how friendly you are with your colleagues, the City is ruthless when it comes to pushing for that promotion. Even if it’s not openly spoken about, everyone around you will be looking to impress, so concentrate on your own progression. You may be best friends with the person sitting next to you, but it’s not a nice feeling to see them progress quicker than you because you’ve let your standards slip. Be ruthless and in some cases be selfish. It’s in your own best interests.
START NETWORKING WIDELY
Business is all about contacts. Expanding your network outside your immediate business is great for your reputation within the industry, useful for seeking out potential clients, and a skill that will make you more desirable to future employers. Ultimately, most jobs end up being sales roles, such as partner in a law firm, so building your contacts base from day one will speed up your progression. If you can start new relationships and nurture existing ones, you are adding value to the wider organisation and going that all-important extra mile.
Every day we are on the receiving end of adverts, emails and sales pitches, which combine to create a rather blurred message. The personal relationships that you can help to build will enable you, and the business you represent, to stand out and be heard above the noise.
Logan Naidu is founder and chief executive of Dartmouth Partners, the recruitment consultancy. He began his career at JPMorgan and PwC in corporate finance. www.dartmouthpartners.com
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