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Recruitment pathways: from journo to banker

Pic: Danielle (far right) and some of her fellow graduates on their induction day in early 2020

When my Dad recommended I apply for the ANZ Technology Graduate Program, I laughed. Me? I didn’t study anything related to technology or banking – I studied journalism.

 

“Broader life experiences that shape who we are are just as important as “technical skills” when considering recruitment.”

 

One night, spurred on by a moment of confidence, I thought why not just apply and see how I go; after all, what did I have to lose? Not having to submit a resume and instead play a few games was definitely an incentive to apply.

 

Little did I know, this soon-to-be journalism grad was about to be accepted as a technology graduate for ANZ. Here is what I’ve learnt since I joined the program.

 

Don’t discount past experience

 

One of the first things I learnt in applying for – and starting - my graduate position is to not discount past experience as this is ultimately what makes us all unique. Broader life experiences that shape who we are are just as important as “technical skills” when considering recruitment.

 

Before starting my graduate position, I had worked many different jobs - often juggling two at a time. As a teenager I coached and umpired netball before securing my first ‘real’ job at Kmart Australia - where I worked my way up to become a duty manager. I did lots of other things too: working with students with physical and learning difficulties, waitressing at my parent’s café, being

active in sports and at university, and a few internships. These experiences taught me how to be a team player, a leader, how to multi-task, be resilient – the list goes on.

 

These skills have helped me adapt to the corporate world and the agile working model ANZ has adopted in recent years. Don’t disregard any prior experience as this really sets you apart.

 

Numbers don’t define you

 

I am sure we’ve all heard someone say this before, especially when Australian Tertiary Admission Ranks (ATAR) are released after high school, but you are not defined by a number. When I started thinking about what company I wanted to work for, finding an organisation which recognises this was a big plus.

 

ANZ’s recruitment process placed emphasis on having a “growth mindset” - someone who is open to learning and evolving. The questions I was asked during the assessment for my role were focused on getting to know me as a person and the different facets that make me who I am rather than questions about how high my grades were in school or university.

 

Although I have always loved learning and worked hard to get good grades, it was comforting to know my experiences, values and passion for learning helped me get into the program.

Pic: ANZ’s 2020 graduate cohort with CEO Shayne Elliott at their induction in early 2020

 

A finance degree doesn’t make a banker

 

This is something I have learnt since I began working at ANZ. Banks don’t just need people who studied finance or technology - the same way a café doesn’t only need baristas.

 

Coming from a communications background, I was initially hesitant and unsure where I’d find myself in ANZ’s technology division. However, in my first rotation for employee engagement and awareness, I used many of the skills I’d learnt in my degree. My main role was working with stakeholders to ensure employees are informed with accurate information to be able to do their jobs – a lot of which requires good communication.

 

There are of course pure technology roles and many graduates from relevant degrees get involved in the back end work of the mobile app, creating scripts, and conducting journey mapping exercises. But studying something that doesn’t fit the ‘typical’ degree required for a bank can be an advantage.

 

ANZ’s assessment process placed emphasis on a candidate’s alignment to ANZ’s values as well as ensuring cultural fit. Again, the removal of a resume, eliminates the associated biases. You can bring a new perspective and a fresh set of eyes to any team.

 

Be flexible and ready to pivot

 

Once you land a job, continuing to have a ‘growth mindset’ is crucial. In any graduate program, there are usually a number of rotations you complete (ANZ has three six-month rotations) so you need to be open to trying new things.

 

A growth mindset lets you see rotations as opportunities to hone your skills in your field and broaden your skill set to learn more about different areas. Nothing is off-limits if you are keen to learn, ask questions and be willing to pivot if something pops up along the way.

 

As I embark on my next rotation, I am still unsure where I want to head. All I know is that applying for ANZ’s graduate program was one of the best things I’ve ever done. So if you’re thinking of applying but don’t think you’ll fit the mould – you are probably exactly what that company is looking for.

 

Danielle Darbyshire is a Graduate in the Technology department at ANZ

 

This article was originally published on Danielle’s LinkedIn profile

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