If you are thinking about applying for graduate schemes, before the new academic year gets fully underway is a good time to get prepared. The usual application period for graduate schemes starts in September and ends in December or January. Many employers shortlist on a rolling basis, so it is important to apply early!
On Wednesday 6 September we are running an event to help you get ahead of the game. Find and book on MyFuture.
The event will cover:
- Differences between graduate schemes and graduate jobs
- Where to look for jobs.
- Skills employers are looking for.
- Developing commercial awareness.
- Graduate scheme selection methods.
- What happens in an Assessment centre?
In this blog we’ll also give you some top tips to get yourself prepared.
Graduate scheme versus graduate role and timelines
The most common question we get asked is the difference between a graduate scheme and a graduate role.
Graduate schemes are generally a structured programme within an organisation or business. These tend to be in big commercial organisations or large public sector bodies. The structured schemes are around one to three years long, and each scheme usually recruit a larger number of graduates. Some schemes offer rotations, so that you can experience different job roles or areas within the same company. There is often a lengthy application process with multiple stages.
Standard graduate roles are generally available in small to medium organisations, and they recruit for graduates for a wide variety of job roles and job sectors. The job may not always be explicitly labelled as a new 'graduate role'. Therefore you might need to do a bit of research into typical roles for new graduates in your area of interest. There is not usually a structured programme as with a graduate scheme, but each company may offer different staff development opportunities. They usually only recruit a small number of graduates and the application process may be much shorter, sometimes only an application and an interview stage.
As graduate schemes generally have long application processes, recruitment starts early. Some applications are open over a year in advance of start date (which usually are summer or early autumn the following year). Most schemes will open applications in the Autumn and close around December/January.
Because of the shorter application process, you will find few graduate roles advertised that current students can apply for in the Autumn. Instead these are advertised in the Spring. We usually advise students to start looking for these jobs three months before they are available to start, as these organisations usually ask for an immediate start. As these organisations only recruit when they need graduates, be aware that they may not recruit every year and they may recruit at different points in the year, even after you graduate.
Job search help
So with these timelines in mind, you might be thinking about starting your graduate job search now. We have a range of resources to help you work out the best strategy to keep informed about job postings.
Now is also a great time to get your application skills up to scratch. We always recommend tailoring your application to every single job you go for. Although applications may not be open just yet, you can still brush up on top tips for impactful applications and you can get your draft CV ready to go that you can tweak as you apply for each job.
But I don’t know what I want to do?!
This is really common and you are not alone. It might be helpful to re-frame your thinking to, 'I haven't figured this out yet, but I will.'
What is important is to do something about it and start exploring the options that are out there.
We have a range of resources that can help you to do exactly that. Go to Get Started: Career options
Final thoughts for your final year
It’s also totally normal to still not have a clue what you want to do next. We are here to support you as much as we can with figuring this out. And we’re here every step of the way to support you with your applications, from that initial CV submission, to psychometric tests and interviews.
Don't forget to sign up for our Get Ahead of the Game events. Find and book on MyFuture.