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Tuesday, 17th of November 2009

Love the job you have...

Graduate campaigns for 2010 intake have kicked off. The economic news in the Times sounds more positive than it has done for a while. The percentage of people who think that next year will be more promising has risen from a quarter to over a third. Obviously the shops are hoping to see some evidence of confidence in their tills in the lead up to Christmas which could then, along with some strong January sales, lead to an increase in confidence in the markets at the start of 2010 shoring up the recruitment market and the graduate market in particular.

So, if there are more opportunities than there were last year, will there be enough? The chances are that there will not as not only will this year's cohort of graduates be looking but the ones who have completed their Masters, returned from travelling or are still looking for their first 'proper' job.

If you haven't landed your dream job yet, take a second look at the one you have landed. I met a graduate earlier in the year who took a role as a marketing administrator with a company with a strong track record in events as this was her dream role. Last week she wrote to tell me she would be moving into an events role next year - and she's learned a lot in the meantime. How did she get the marketing assistant role out of 400 (yes, 400!) applications? She told the interviewers that she didn't mind what she did, she was prepared to work hard, learn and turn her hand to anything for the opportunity to progress. What can be learned from this?

What opportunities might there be in your organisation to move out of customer service for example? Can you apply for the graduate training scheme there? It might be an idea to approach your manager to ask about learning and development options. You could consider asking them to mentor you (most will be flattered by this and will want to help in some way). Ask them how they have made the progress they have in their career. Go to HR and say you'd like to find out about opportunities to develop within the business. Learn as much as you can about your company. Get to know people in other areas of the organisation and network as you might have done at university.

In your role, treat each day as an opportunity to prove yourself for the next role. Be the best you can be and do the best you possibly can each day. Every job can be interesting if you treat it as a challenge (speaking as someone who has done most dull jobs out there including wiring nuts and bolts on a wire for plating and unwiring them again an hour later and working in the little visited department of a large department store) and think about what you can get out of it. Making a good situation out of one which is not ideal and finding a solution to a problem are exactly the sorts of qualities that employers are looking for so if you can demonstrate your capacity in this area it will be great evidence for future interviews and opportunities. In your team, put yourself forward for anything going to prove your interest and enthusiasm - it won't go unnoticed. If there really are no progression opportunities in the company you are working for now, despite all your best efforts, it'll mean great ammunition to use in a future role. At the very least they'll give you an amazing reference!




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