Home Blog Graduates and Interns February 2021 How the Telstra Graduate Program has set me up for career success

How the Telstra Graduate Program has set me up for career success

by Liam Bone

Commercial Specialist

Securing a place in a graduate program is a source of anxiety for many final year university students. Though it’s not the end of the world if you don’t get a place, they do offer undeniable benefits to people who participate in them.
I went through the Telstra Graduate Program and it’s had so many positive knock-on effects for me in terms of my career and capabilities. 

Here are three of the reasons I’d encourage anyone contemplating applying for a graduate program to just go for it.
You form relationships and connections
At Telstra, graduates rotate through several teams to see how we work in different disciplines. The networks and relationships I built during these rotations were critical. I didn't realise until I had left the program how important these were, for two key reasons:
  1. They helped me to understand the business better. Having been across sales, loyalty and strategy gave me in-depth insight into the Consumer and Small Business function, which in turn helps me in my current job here.
  2. The people I met across all three rotations have helped me in numerous ways, both practically, in the job I do now, and by mentoring me.
Though you could form these connections without a grad program, you generally won’t get that same opportunity of people taking their time out to help you, mentor you, and letting you experiment and understand the business.
You learn how to learn
Learning is something that happens constantly in full-time roles. More specifically, the grad program teaches you how to balance skill improvement with real work.

Before I got my first full-time job, I didn’t have much experience in the commercial area at all. In a way, I’ve had to learn everything from the ground up. Understanding how a company works from my time on the graduate program meant that I knew what I could prioritise, and who I could turn to if I needed support when picking up a new skill.

As far as my upskilling goes, the three most important things I’m working on building up at the moment are:
  1. My excel skills - ranging from simple shortcuts to building complicated cost models.
  2. My leadership skills - I’m trying to implement leadership skills in a variety of ways, with the help of my mentor.
  3. My commercial skills - it’s extremely important to learn how to think about and approach commercial problems. I now have a structure to the way I break them down and I'm always considering the commercial implications of certain issues. This adds significant value to any discussions I’m involved in.
You get more chances to show your work, which often leads to a full-time role
Notably, while building relationships might sound like it’s all about regular catch-ups and being friends with everyone, it’s actually more about how you portray yourself as a worker and team player.

You need to show your team you work hard, work well with others and are passionate about what you do. These things are hard to get across in an interview unless you have definitive experience in a field (which many graduates don’t!).

After building relationships and skills on the grad program, you have a strong understanding of the kind of work you want to do and where you fit in on the team. From the team’s perspective, they now know exactly what you can contribute and the benefits of bringing you on board permanently.

For me, the relationships I built on my second rotation were critically important because they knew how I worked, what I had delivered, and what I wanted to achieve. This worked in my favour when it came time to decide whether to offer me a job.

The things I picked up from the Telstra Graduate Program have already had a positive impact on my career and they have helped me through so many scenarios. If you’re thinking about whether it’s worth applying, I’d encourage you to have a go – I know without doubt that over the next few years, the foundation I developed from the Telstra Graduate Program is only going to help me to grow my career.  

Applications for the Telstra Graduate Program open on Tuesday March 16. You can find out more info here. 
Next My first month at Telstra: life as a graduate in Singapore
Explore our jobs
Share via