We have decided to present you with an insight into the types of behaviours/approaches to work that can make or break your appraisal. By doing so, we invite you to avoid the common errors that people make.
Different departments will expect you to use your initiative in different ways and to differing extents. When one of us first joined corporate, we were told that sometimes we asked too many questions – especially in respect of issues that, had we thought about it long enough, we could have at least partially resolved ourselves. Bear this in mind! Sometimes it is better to just have a go, explain what you have based your approach on and anything you were unsure of, and then produce a second draft based on the feedback you receive. Obviously, don’t spend days potentially going off on the wrong tangent, but ensure you have had a good think about the work before asking a lot of questions.
Always keep people up to date and when you have a deadline approaching (especially if it seems that you will have no additional capacity available). Informing the associates you are working with in good time gives them the opportunity to staff other people on the relevant matter(s) if necessary.
The associates you work for will not usually know what else you are working on for other people and it can be difficult for you to work out how long certain tasks are going to take. Knowing when to say no can be difficult, especially when deadlines are not particularly clear and your supervisor does not know whether or not he will need you for anything in the short-term, so communication with all parties involved can be key.
Attention to detail
Pretty much everyone receives constructive criticism relating to attention to detail at some point during their training contract. It does not just refer to spelling and grammar. It could be formatting issues, inconsistencies, getting signature blocks wrong (or missing out necessary signature blocks), getting cross-references incorrect (or not checking that automatic cross-references have updated correctly when amending a document), using defined terms incorrectly etc. Poor attention to detail could also involve copying the wrong people into emails or forgetting to copy in someone. Proofread the “To:” and “cc:” boxes before sending an email (and the subject line!) with the same degree of care as you would the main body of text. On that note, proofread everything you send out at least twice.