One of the many internal projects that I have chosen to get involved in is becoming a Custom Software Development (CSD) Coach for the campus new hires. This is a new initiative that has been launched by the CSD service line to help campus hires navigate through their 9 weeks of training. This is, in essence, an extension of the Buddy Program. As a CSD Coach, I do my best to share the limited knowledge that I have acquired over the past few months with the new blood. Being in this position has got me thinking about my 9 weeks of training and what I would recommend to anyone who has yet to embark on this once in a lifetime trip. There are three tips that I would like to share in an effort to help everyone make the most of their training program. After all, IT consultants are always focusing on optimization and efficiency!
For starters, your interview does not end when Capgemini extends an offer, but rather is a continuous process that happens every day during your tenure at the organization. The truth of the matter, especially as a Consultant, is that if you have one job, you should always be looking to interview for the next one. That doesn’t mean interviewing in the traditional sense, with cover letters and resumes, but rather, embodying a demeanour and sense of professionalism that can be seen as an asset to any engagement. As a result, when working on any project, big or small, always look to make a positive impression on those around you. This especially applies when you are in training, as you are new to the company, and no one knows who you are and of what you are capable. The funny thing is that you might never know that you have impressed people, but it will find a way to pay off. One example: after I completed my training and started my client project, I received an email asking to be a part of a unique team that was tasked to look at some of the recruiting and retention practices for Capgemini NA. Until today, I had no idea who recommended me for this project but it has presented me with many opportunities and has greatly expanded my network. So go ahead, show Capgemini who you are.
Expanding your network – networking – is an extremely important skill to have as a consultant. This is why I always encourage the campus hires to get out there and take advantage of this networking opportunity. Traveling across the globe for training is a unique opportunity and you should relish every minute of it. The sheer number of people from different walks of life in various positions across the organization that you can meet during training is absolutely astounding. Truth be told, not every relationship will last, but the ones that do can prove to be very helpful in shaping a career at Capgemini. From personal experience, a relationship that I built with a Senior Manager allowed me to lead my first internal project.
The first two recommendations primarily focus on soft skills that will be helpful in making new hires successful. The last piece of advice that I try to share with my CSD campus hires is geared towards improving their tangible skill set. Particularly during the 5 weeks in India, campus hires are inundated with a wealth of information on various aspects of their roles within Capgemini. One of the most important things is to not discount any of the material being taught. For instance, when we were being trained on the different terms and methodologies of testing, the content being kind of dry, it was easy to tune it out and not pay attention. Coming back to Canada, I learned that testing was integral to my first client role. Just my luck… Fortunately, I was able to recall some of what I had learned and had kept the slide decks so that I could go back and review. However, it would have been advantageous if I had stayed focused during the classes on testing.
All in all, I guess it just comes down to the fact that you live and learn. However, that’s one of the great things about the CSD Coaching initiative; it provides a channel for me to share my mistakes with the hope that new hires don’t make the same ones. This blog accomplishes the same thing… Hopefully without making any new mistakes along the way!