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Graduate Jobs and Schemes – What Are They and Why Should You Do One?

22 Oct 2020

Graduate jobs are a great option for students after graduation. After years of being guided through education it is suddenly time for you to go and put into practice what you have been working towards for nearly your whole life to date.

Do you go straight into work? Take a gap year? Complete a masters? Whilst there are many options available to you, in this blog we will explore graduate jobs, and see if they are suitable for you.

What Is A Graduate Job?

As the name suggests, graduate jobs are roles specifically designed for students who have recently graduated from university. People without a degree normally aren’t able to apply for these positions as a BA or BSc is part of the entry requirements.

Graduate jobs are available in a huge variety of different sectors, for example some popular ones are;
Project Management

Just to name a few.

Some graduate jobs are simply normal jobs, designed for people with degrees, whereas some are known as ‘Graduate Schemes’, which we will get onto later. The choice of what you do is up to you. A standard graduate job could be your way to start working straight away, securing a job and putting education firmly behind you.

What Is A Graduate Scheme?

A graduate scheme comes under the umbrella term of a graduate job. They are schemes/programmes that typically vary from 1 to 3 years and can often lead to permanent employment upon completion. During the scheme, the business is aiming to make you ready for the world of work, so will incorporate a mixture of training and working on real life projects.

Many of the larger organisations may also enrol you onto courses to earn qualifications, such as getting an ACA qualification which is “one of the most advanced learning and professional development programmes available”, or a CMI qualification. These are highly valued qualification in the world of work and can give your career a huge boost.

These schemes typically start in September, although some can start at any point in the year.

Which Graduate Job Should You Go For?

The choice of what graduate job you go for is completely up to you. Just because you have a degree in one subject doesn’t mean you aren’t able to apply for a job in a completely different sector. That being said, some businesses will want graduates with specific degrees, but this will be specified in the job description.

Be sure to have a look at what roles are available as well what businesses you can work for. Some graduate jobs come with great benefits too, from company cars to travel opportunities. We also can’t forget to mention getting your foot in the door at large organisations.

When To Apply For Graduate Jobs?

Like any job, applying early is beneficial. Not only is it a relief to know your application is submitted, but it also reduces your chances of missing out on deadlines. The usual application window for graduate schemes is September to January; this may be earlier than you think so don’t let this catch you out.

Many graduate roles require a CV and Cover Letter, which should be catered to each individual role you are applying for. They may also ask for more details, such as situational questions to learn more about you. Leaving you application until the last minute can mean your CV, Cover Letter and responses are of poor quality, or even worse, you underestimate the time it takes to apply, and you miss out.

If you are keen to secure a graduate job, keeping up to date with what jobs are currently live is a great idea. Once a week, search for graduate roles to see what is new and make note of closing dates. You could even register here for job alerts and to our newsletter to keep up to date.

Planning For A Graduate Job

Even if you are a first- or second-year student, it is never too early to begin thinking about a graduate job. You can plan ahead if you still have several years until graduation. By planning ahead, you can give yourself a head start in terms of learning the relevant skills and gaining experience for that role.

Many businesses hire for their graduate roles in annual cycles, so you could look at the job descriptions now so you can land yourself a job, internship or placement that will teach you the skills and experience to make you a star candidate for that future role.

If you are lucky, you could get an internship/placement at the same organisation you would like to land the graduate role with, and they may offer you a role for when you graduate without needing to go through the application process.

Are Graduate Jobs Worth It?

Absolutely! Graduate jobs are a great opportunity for recent graduates to secure some employment and enter the world of work. It can be a great way to get your foot in the door of your dream business, or simply a way to kickstart your career.

One great benefit is that it is still possible to get a graduate job, particularity a graduate scheme, even if you don’t have any relevant experience. Although having experience can help get a job in most scenarios, when hiring for graduate roles businesses are usually looking at your potential as a professional.

If you have the opportunity to secure a graduate job, then you should definitely put in the effort to get one. But don’t worry if you don’t want to take this route. You can still apply for normal jobs if you’re a graduate, you are not tied into a graduate job just because they have the word “graduate” in then, they world is your oyster.

How To Apply For Graduate Jobs

You will need to apply online for most graduate jobs. They will usually require you to submit your CV and a Cover Letter for that role, so make sure they are high quality. Watch this short video on how to make a standout cover letter.

Part of the application process will probably require you to attend interview, either in person or more than likely a video interview so they can get to know more about you.

Popular with large organisations, you may need to attend an [online] assessment centre. Here, your skills will be put to the test, as the recruiter will further evaluate how well you are likely to perform in the role. This many include situational tests, numerical/written tests as well as working on a project as part of a group. This is your time to shine, so try find out what you will be doing beforehand so you can practice. Assessment Day has some great resources, free and to buy, to practice for these tests.

Search for graduate jobs here

Looking to gain experience to help land a future job check out internships and placements here and don’t overlook part time jobs, available here

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