Show you have the skills for an Aon graduate job

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Aon seems to place a huge emphasis upon building the professional skills of its graduate employees – and the clarity with which it describes its Launch development programme and the amount of detail on its website devoted to training is quite striking.

While the emphasis is on potential rather than already having all the expertise you need, Aon’s recruiters will likely want to hire students who will blossom under its professional skills training, meaning that your potential and aptitude for learning the skills may be a factor in their hiring decisions.

So if you are interested in a job with training programmes that develop professional skills – such as client handling, project management, presentation/communication and teamwork – it is a good idea to demonstrate that you have the potential to develop these when working at Aon. You can do this in your CV and covering letter or while answering interview questions.

Aon skill one: presentation/communication

Here’s what Aon has said it will help you with:

  • ‘The skills to present effectively, engagingly and professionally to internal and external audiences.’
  • ‘The development of advanced communication skills, which lie at the heart of everything we do.’

Example of what you might say to demonstrate that you already have some experience of these skills (if you were on the committee of your university’s business society, for example):

‘The [university] Business Society runs talks programmes designed to build links with local business groups and another set of programmes aimed at local schools, encouraging discussion of enterprise. As a chair of the group’s external talks programme, I organise and brief speakers and speak to the two types of audience who have different needs. What I learned from presenting to both is that a good presentation needs to be prepared and broken down into a series of initial headline points.’

TIP: this example tells a story about how the writer has learned through acquiring a skill, and how they can adapt it.

Aon skill two: project management

Here’s what Aon has said it will help you with:

  • ‘The development of project management skills – you will be involved in running and managing projects that will actively add value to Aon.’

A ‘project’ is a task or piece of work that has a definite beginning and end. Being project manager essentially involves ensuring that the project happens: that it achieves its aim, by the deadline set and within budget. There are lots of ways in which students could have managed projects – in fact, some of these you might not have even realised were projects:

  • organising an event for a student society or organising a team to represent your society at freshers’ fairs and the like
  • devising a marketing strategy to acquire more members
  • organising a social event at your college, eg a ball
  • editing an edition of a student newspaper
  • being producer, director or having another position of responsibility in amateur dramatics
  • setting up an activity to fundraise for a charity
  • taking the lead on a group project as part of your course

Example of what you might say to demonstrate you possess the potential to project manage (if you had a similar position):

‘I am responsible for fundraising in a society devoted to encouraging people to donate blood. I led a project team to organise a vampire-themed bake sale event for Halloween. To begin with, I clarified the goals of the project, set a budget for ingredients and other costs and set a target for us to meet. I ensured that the purchasers of ingredients were aware of budget limitations. I liaised with the Student Union over having a stall on Halloween. Calling upon volunteers, I organised a team of bakers and a rota for people to run the stall. I briefed the team on health and safety and food preparation requirements. The event raised £200 for our society.’

TIP: the key here is to write about how you handled a project from beginning to end, how you broke it down, recognised its aims and added something worthwhile.

Aon skill three: teamworking

Here’s what Aon has said it will help you with:

  • ‘The building of effective teamworking skills through practical development and real-life experiences.’

Example of what you might say to demonstrate you already possess this skill and have the potential to develop it further:

‘In my work experience at a care home my main responsibilities involved supporting individuals in need but teamwork was very important. There were times when the client didn’t need my help so I would enquire whether my colleagues needed any. I also had to develop good team communication skills to ensure we met client needs consistently: that could be through making accurate notes, face to face discussion or in team meetings where I was encouraged to say if there were things about the team that could work better.’

Tip: this shows a range of team skills in action and awareness from the candidate of the reasons for those skills. You don’t need to have done work experience in what could be considered a high-powered environment to acquire good team skills.

Aon: other skills required

Aon also promises to develop a number of other skills:

  • Client management – requiring you to ‘bring together many other skills such as communication, time management and project management.’ Giving examples of going the extra mile for a customer or managing clients’ expectations would be good.
  • Business knowledge – in the context of Aon’s training this encompasses technical knowledge (of the industry, regulations and compliance, and how risk management/risk consulting, insurance and reinsurance works). It would be highly advantageous to show your knowledge of these and, of course, knowledge of Aon, its competitors and what’s happening in the economy.
  • Relationship-building – again, giving examples of networking or working with others is key to showing that you will make the most of your ‘connector’ (a kind of mentor) and the support networks available to you at Aon.

Finally – if Aon is going to invest in you it will need to know that you have the skills to be a good learner. If you can, there is no harm in giving an example to show that you are a quick learner.

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