Graduating from your OT degree can be both exciting and terrifying in equal measures. Moving onto the next stage of practising as a qualified OT and taking your first steps on the career ladder can be daunting. In this week’s blog, COT’s Education Intern, Anna Welsh, talks about how you can build networks to support you in the early stages of your career.
As a recent graduate myself, I have learnt that once you graduate, you leave behind the comfort of education. You will then start to settle into becoming an autonomous practitioner in charge of your own learning. As well as being an exciting experience, it can also be quite daunting but with the right support you can build your confidence. One of the things which I missed the most after graduating was being around my peers and learning from each other. It is important to maintain networks when you graduate in order to gain support and it also gives you a feeling of comfort, knowing that there are people with experience who you can learn from. My advice would be to get as involved as you can with your professional body. Get involved with your regional group and meet occupational therapists in your area. If you are interested in a particular area of your profession, join a specialist section and of course come to the Annual Conference, a great networking event. Remember that social media is one of the best ways to communicate and most people use it every day. So join in with occupational therapy activity on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, to name a few, and get involved!
If you are a new graduate yourself, or if you still remember what it was like to be taking those first steps and you want to help support others who are beginning their careers now, you might want to consider joining your Regional Committee to influence the work that your regional group does with students and new graduates. The role of Careers Promotion Lead could help you encourage a new generation to begin their OT journey.
Careers Promotion Lead
Do you love being an OT? Do you enjoy answering the question, “What is an OT?” Then the role of Careers Promotion Lead on your BAOT regional committee is the one for you.
At the British Association and College of Occupational Therapists, we’re interested in sharing with future generations of occupational therapists just what makes this profession so unique, rewarding, and one that makes us stand out from the crowd of allied health professionals.
If you enjoy presenting to students and young people and are great at setting up contacts and networks to help deliver presentations at local events, then this is a great opportunity for you to join the committee and share your passion for the profession. Or if you’d like to improve your public speaking skills then this is great practice and the audience is always attentive.
There are plenty of situations where good public speaking skills can help you advance your career and create job opportunities. This role is a great way to learn skills which will help you stay calm and collected when answering interview questions, teach a group, or speak to a senior manager about the role your department plays in your organisation.
The opportunities for professional growth are endless with the role of Careers Promotion Lead. So why not join your regional committee and start building your networks today?