Three career tips for new grads or anyone wanting to excel at work

As the days get longer and the summer inches closer, many young adults brace themselves for one of the most bittersweet times of their lives – graduation! It's a time of celebration, but it's also time to start thinking about the next chapter, or what some like to call, real life.

So, with graduation and first jobs just around the corner for many, we've put together a list of career tips by Kerry Peacock, Executive Vice-President and longtime TD employee. Peacock often speaks about career development and how to use performance feedback on the job to strengthen your career.

Here are three tips for new grads, or anyone wanting to spend a little time planning their career growth this summer:

  1. Gain Sponsorship: Just as athletes are backed by a particular company, you should seek out sponsorship in your work place. This is about someone who will put their brand behind your brand to say "this is a person you want on your team." Who makes a good sponsor? Someone who's brand is trusted and has value. How do you get sponsorship? Simple – do your work exceptionally well and surround yourself with the right people. If you can, look or volunteer for opportunities to work with this person in order to earn their sponsorship.
  2. Ignore the job requirements (sort of): It's not uncommon to be discouraged by job requirements when applying for a new position, especially in the early stages of your career. You should never let that fact that you don’t have every single one of the requirements under your belt stop you from going for a job that you want, and more importantly, that you think you'll be good at. Worst case scenario? You don’t get the job and you apply for the next one. It's about redefining what you label as failure, and calling it a learning opportunity. Not getting the job the first time signals that you are ambitious and may be an opportunity to get valuable feedback and build relationships so you get it the next time.  
  3. Show, don't tell (on being strategic): If you've ever been given feedback to "be more strategic", you may have left the room feeling slightly confused or bewildered. Strategy is often just a fancy word for plan. In any work setting, it's important to demonstrate that you're planning ahead and thinking about what's coming down the road. Equally as important is that you're making sure people around you understand your thinking by walking them through your thought process. That way, your team is more easily able to get on board with the journey you are on so everybody succeeds. Remember, planning isn't enough—you need to show others how you've done the thinking.

Check out the video for Kerry's full speech with even more career tips and thoughts on defining success and ambition.