Five Things We've Learnt from Business Leaders

The best advice always comes from those who've been there and done it. And we heard some excellent words of wisdom at our recent flagship event, Bright Network Women in Leadership.

Melanie Richards, Senior Partner and Vice Chairman at KPMG and Jo Bertram, Regional General Manager at Uber delivered the keynote speeches and shared their top tips for a successful career. Here are some of the highlights.

1. You don't always need a plan

Your friends may have mapped out their career path for the next ten years but you don't have to. It's ok to be without a plan - often the best opportunities come about through good luck and timing. You just need to be ready to grab them with both hands.

With a positive, can do attitude and the ability to adapt quickly to a changing environment, you could find the absence of a grand scheme is actually a real asset in building your career.

2. Take risks

As mentioned above, make the most of opportunities as they arise - playing it safe will only get you so far. Push yourself beyond your comfort zone and you'll see your career take off.

It may seem daunting but trust you instincts. You know your strengths and weaknesses - be confident in yourself. And just remember, it's not always as risky as it seems.

3. Be yourself and stand out

There's no doubt about it, the graduate market is competitive. The best way to make your mark is to simply be yourself. It may sound clichéd but we're all unique and bring something different to the table.

Constantly comparing yourself to your peers can be counterproductive - we're all at different stages in our careers, striving to do different things. Believe you can do anything you want to in life and through hard work, curiosity and networking, you can achieve it.

4. Explore your options

Graduate schemes at big firms can be a brilliant first step in your career. However they're not for everyone. Explore all the options open to you, even those that are a little more off the beaten track and you may be suprised at the variety out there.

There is no one path to success - it's a matter of choosing the right route for you, and this will no doubt change more than once over the course of your career.

5. Practice your handshake

You only get one chance to make a first impression and a strong handshake will always get you off to a good start. It may only last a few seconds but there's an art to the perfect handshake...

  • Greet the person using their first name
  • Make eye contact
  • Use a firm grip, without it being crushing
  • Shake their hand up and down for no more than five seconds 

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