9 tips to start and succeed in your graduate programme

How to achieve succes in your graduate programme

Graduateships has over the years talked with many previous and current graduates as well as recruiters. We are sharing this accumulated knowledge, bringing insights from graduates, recruiters and other good people from Vestas, Nykredit, Novo Nordisk and Grundfos, to mention a few. Hopefully, they can improve your time in your graduate programme or similar talent program.

The essential points that we found you should follow in order to improve your chances of a successful time as a recent graduate are:


  1. “Speak your mind” – Ivana, Grundfos graduate

There are no stupid questions. Do not pretend that you know everything from the beginning because it is almost impossible. Try to be yourself and don’t be afraid of giving your own opinion. In that way your co-workers will get to know the real you from the beginning. Everyone has their own weaknesses and it is not a shame. As Ivana from Grundfos mentioned “here are no stupid questions, because in order to maximize learning, you need to ask all the questions”.


  1. Be ambitious

Entering a new company is inseparable with gaining a knowledge about many new things. Emil Dyrvig from Templafy suggested to self-educate yourself about the company and products or services that they offer before the start of your work. “It will benefit you to learn the history, the market, customer demographics and main clients.” In result you will gain more confidence and you can make a good first impression. Ditte, Demant recruiter, as well mentions the importance of ambition, but adds the humble touch to it as key too.


  1. “Look outside the school box”

Perhaps you learnt a lot of theories during your studies but sometimes they might just not fit. The environment changes all the time and it will not fit you at all times. It is you who have to find yourself in the new reality. Think outside the box as Ivana from Grundfos suggests.


  1. Be open-minded

When you enter the new company for the first time, engage with your new co-workers. Try to get to know them and as simple as it sounds, be nice to everyone. It might be beneficial in the future because you will create a friendly environmental around you and make your network more extensive. Many companies, for example Vestas have different social activities that the employees might join.


  1. Don’t judge too fast

You might think that this job it’s just not right for you, but you have spent only a relatively short amount of time there. If you are employed in a graduate program, you will be able to try all of the different departments and maybe you will love it during your last rotation. Many of the graduates from our interviews experience working on different positions and had better and less great experiences from rotation to rotation.


  1. Be a team player

Several recruiters highlight the importance of working successfully in a team of people, for example Ashless from TDC and Nikita from PA Consulting. It is as well important in your goal to achieve an extensive network, where successful projects and assignments conducted in teams can ensure that.


  1. Everything takes time

Not everything will be perfect from the very beginning. You have to adapt yourself first and get to know the structure of the company. The important thing is also to try to get introductions to key people in the company as Ivana suggested in the interview. It might take plenty of time but when you start to be familiar with it, then you will start to feel like you are in your natural habitat.


  1. Be flexible and take charge of your own development

The main point of a graduate program is to get to know the company and try yourself on different positions. Sometimes you might have a different perception about your tasks and be unsatisfied with it. However, do it well and try to complete them successfully. Your leaders can see that you have a desire to do anything that they give you. In that way you can build the trust and loyalty. Here, Ivana as well notes that you are behind the wheel of your development, so by combining creation of trust between your leaders and your own ambition, you achieve the highest learning. This was as well a point for Danfoss postgraduate Kasper Poulsen, who emphasized eagerness to learn as a key characteristic of a successful graduate program.


  1. Prove yourself – and more than they ask you – Fabrizio, Vestas graduate

Do extra when you have energy surplus. Be proactive and try to think how you can help without being asked. Find a balance between your tasks and try to be involved in different projects. Fabrizio mentions it as proving you can swim by yourself. After you have learned you need to work more independently and show your value. It’s time for you to shine.


Morten Bovien who is director of consulting services at CGI also mentions, in your application you should be able to give something more than just good school performance.


As a start, following these tips can help you to become a successful graduate.

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