THE GRADUATE CEO


Graduates sometimes get a bad press. It’s hard to get it right. Read some essential advice from Prospect's Sara Bacon.

How to start at the bottom – Essential advice from Prospect’s Sara Bacon

Graduates sometimes get a bad press.  It’s hard to get it right.  You’re hired because of your confidence in your ability.  You’re given the job because you’re the cream of the crop and the agency only hires the very best, right? Yet, trying to live up to this expectation can land you in hot water.

Who do you think you are?

Recently, some of our clients have commented on the level of self-assuredness they are encountering whilst selecting and managing entry level talent for their organisation.  One Director of a well-known PR agency said he was questioned by a grad on what hours he worked as he noticed he “swanned in at around 10 and seemed to leave at about 3”. On another occasion, we were told about a grad who didn’t want to work inside during hot weather.  

Whilst graduates need to understand what appropriate behaviour looks like, agencies need to shoulder some responsibility for creating this state of affairs.   They claim to hire the best talent, they claim to do the best award-wining work and to have the best clients, so naturally if you are hired, you are going to think you are the best right?  Right. But the hard work starts from the moment the job offer is accepted and at that point, there’s no room for egos.  Whilst having confidence and energy is definitely a character of our industry, swaggering into a job as if the world owes you a living is not the way to impress and convince a potential boss of your keenness.  Modesty and decorum still go a long way and putting in the hours and the hard graft is, from the day a grad starts their new role, the only way they are going to succeed.

So, how do you get it right?  

Don’t forget you are starting out.  You may represent the future of the PR industry but in these early days you are at the bottom of the pile and in order to succeed you have to really shine.  Learn how to manage upwards, but not by overcompensating in terms of your confidence.  Do anything that is expected of you and show hunger and willing.  Show some humility.  Stand-out candidates and employees aren’t selective about the clients they work on – they understand that they have to earn the right to work on the ‘cooler stuff’ or the account with the most kudos, by proving their worth first.  Most of all, by demonstrating the right attitude you may well go far. Managing your eagerness to run the company may be the key factor that makes it happen.

In the words of Steve Jobs Stay Hungry Stay Foolish”  

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