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Graduate jobs: A quick guide

GradJobsQuickGuide

What would you like to do when your course ends? Most students aim for a graduate job, a graduate scheme or further study.

What are graduate schemes?

Graduate schemes are often advertised by many different names such as “Graduate Development Framework” and “Management Training Programme”.

They are offered by larger organisations such as multinational companies and government departments. They typically last two years during which you spend time in a variety of departments working in different roles. This makes them a great way to learn about what you like and don’t like so that you can make choices about your future career.

Before you apply, it’s important to think about what kind of organisation and what kind of scheme might suit you.

How do I get into a graduate scheme?

The recruitment process usually involves an application form, psychometric tests, two or three interviews and other tasks, often in the form of an assessment centre. Most (but not all) schemes require a 1st or 2:1, some work experience and a strong extracurricular record. For many schemes your degree does not need to be related to the employer’s business (though in others, such as engineering, it’s often essential).

When do I apply?

Recruitment usually starts one year before the scheme begins (e.g. applications open in summer 2013 for schemes starting in summer 2014). They then close at a time specified by the employer (It’s important to keep your eye on closing dates). Sometimes schemes close a few months after opening, although some employers have on-going recruitment (no closing date).

What are my chances?

Although exact figures are not available, it has anecdotally been suggested that less than 10% of students in the UK join graduate schemes. With so many applications it’s very important that you get a good degree result, gain experience and use the support the Careers & Employability Service provides to become proficient in the recruitment process. It may also be wise to spread your bets by having some types of jobs in mind as a back up plan.

What is a graduate job?

A graduate job is simply a job that requires a degree (though there is a more complex definition of a “graduate job” used for collating official statistics).

It differs from a graduate scheme in that there is usually no rotation between departments. You would be employed to do a specific job and after some basic training you would start work straight away.

Before you apply to jobs, it’s important to think about what kind of organisation and what kind of role might suit you.

What are my chances?

Although exact figures are not available, it is clear that there are more graduate jobs than there are graduate scheme places. Entry requirements are often lower too. Although many employers request a 2:1, many do not.

For many graduate jobs your degree does not need to be related to the employer’s business (though this may not be the case for specific industries like IT).

How do I find graduate jobs?

All sizes of companies offer graduate jobs, including many small and medium sized companies (SMEs).

Although some roles are clearly identified as graduate jobs (e.g. “Graduate Advisor”, “Graduate Consultant”) many will not be (e.g. “Advisor”, “Junior Consultant”), so when you see a role that might be interesting it’s always a good idea to look at the job advert to see whether you meet the employer’s requirements.

Read our guide to finding jobs for more tips.

When do I apply?

Employers can recruit at any time, sometimes many months before and sometimes just a few weeks before they need someone to start. It’s always a good idea to start early

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