What I've Learned Being on a Graduate Scheme

So I've been in my new job for around six months now. I can't quite believe how long ago September was!!!! I was fresh faced and ready to start being an adult. Whilst I'm missing the months off I got at uni and I could do with an extended nap most afternoons, I really am loving where I am and what I'm doing! 

I'm on the graduate programme at Hiscox, a high end insurance company, and I work in product development. When I started, my role was completely new and so I've had to sort of improvise and go with my instincts. My boss has wholly encouraged this attitude and really wants me to make the role my own. And really, this is giving me a truly unique start to my career in business. But it has been exceptionally hard in part. My role sort of sits on it's own, so I don't actually have a team that I belong to. So whilst I have met loads of people in the business, and I do sit with the most lovely team, I don't feel I have a home really. This hasn't stopped me though!

Coming into a business as part of their graduate programme is also quite daunting, as there's high expectations of you and what you'll achieve in your time on the programme. I've been there 6 months now, so what have I really learnt about being a grad? 

I was quite nervous when I first started my new job. There was that silent pressure that I had to prove myself and prove to my boss that he'd made the right decision in hiring me. But once I had been there a few weeks those nerves started to melt away, and I'm growing in confidence day by day. I wish I hadn't been quite so nervous at the start, I think I'd have been able to put myself out there a bit more, but everyone gets nervous. And those nerves help keep me focused and keep me ambitious. 

You definitely need to be pro active. I really underestimated the importance of having the attitude where you just put yourself out there and chase the opportunities yourself, and this is something I'm still learning to do. But once you start doing it it becomes so much easier. I started by speaking to people outside of the projects I was working directly on. Asking lots of questions and just getting my voice heard. To do this you've just got to be brave and put yourself out there. In the company I work for, this is really encouraged and everyone responds well to those who are pro active. Some of the grads are excellent at this, so I try to spend time with them and learn from what they do. 

You also need to be ready to receive feedback as a graduate. I hadn't expected to get quite so much feedback just for doing my job. I've learned that the thing that can be more important than the feedback you receive, both good and bad, is how you respond to that feedback. I'm much better at responding to slightly bad feedback than I am to good feedback. Bad feedback gives you something to fix or improve on. Good feedback makes me blush and I struggle to accept that I'm doing well. 

Most of all the biggest thing I've learned is to be yourself. I was hired because they thought I was a good fit for the company and for the role. There are going to be ups and there are going to be downs, but don't let yourself get lost in that. It's okay to be confident and be you, so just go for it! And hopefully, the rest should fall naturally into place! I'm sure I'll keep learning and growing in my career, this is just the start. And so far, it's been a pretty great start overall.

Are you in a new graduate role? Are you going to be starting one soon?


  1. Well done on starting your graduate job! It always takes a while for the nerves to calm down a bit but it will all be worth it. Good luck!