Debbie Messemer, managing partner at KPMG San Francisco
Courtesy of KPMG
By Debbie Messemer
February 26, 2015

MPW Insider is an online community where the biggest names in business and beyond answer timely career and leadership questions. Today’s answer for: What is one piece of advice all millennials should take before entering the workforce? is written by Debbie Messemer, managing partner at KPMG San Francisco.

Establish yourself as a team player.

When I evaluate job candidates entering the workforce, one of the most important considerations is whether they will be a good fit in our firm. Teamwork and collaboration are essential to moving the organization forward, so in addition to technical skills I look for people who will work effectively on a team. This requires thinking beyond specific assignments and looking for additional ways to contribute to the organization’s overall success.

Here are three ways to build your personal brand as a team player within a company:

Become a company ambassador. Learn as much as you can about your company and its product. Then, find ways to share your knowledge. We recently had an employee offer her business card to two executives on a train discussing a particular issue. She let them know that our firm could help. When she arrived at her desk, she had an email from one of the executives asking for a meeting. Always take advantage of ways to expand your company’s brand.

Stay informed. Every day I read the Wall Street Journal and watch the morning financial news on CNBC. I’m looking for news about clients, trends, and issues that could impact/benefit our clients. Staying current can help you identify a fresh approach or new opportunity for your organization. It’s equally important to follow your company in the news. What is being announced publicly? What are analyst’s saying? Staying up to date on the issues puts you in a better position to contribute.

Relationships matter. People generally don’t buy services, they buy trusted relationships. In fact, some of my strongest relationships are those that were made during my first days at KPMG, people today who hold key positions in our firm or prominent jobs within business. Widen (and cultivate) your circle of relationships and maintain them. This will require some effort, but the dividends aside from the friendships are worth it. You will be able to share ideas about how to move the organization forward and learn of any issues or challenges. Building relationships is absolutely critical to succeeding in business, plus you get to meet so many wonderful people.

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