Graduate scheme or graduate job – or just confused?

We’ve  had a busy few weeks in Careers and Placements running our careers fairs,  and responding to a wide variety of questions.

One thing has stood out – some of you are feeling slightly panicked at the thought of grad scheme applications, and worried about missing out on the opportunities on offer right now or being left behind in the task of securing a graduate position.

If you are interested in a graduate scheme,  a placement or internship with one of the major recruiters, now is the time to be doing your research and making applications. The recruitment process for many large organisations has started, and the earlier you apply the better, for what is often a long recruitment process that runs right through into Spring before job offers are made.  We have lots of help and support available check our website or come and have a talk to find out how we can help.

But what do you do if you don’t  want to join a grad scheme – or if you don’t really understand what a grad scheme is in the first place? The first thing to do is to understand what we are talking about!

Download Finding Graduate Vacancies for a good overview of who does what when, and how you might fit into the graduate recruitment picture.  You can find a good explanation of the difference in  grad schemes versus grad job.

When advertised, graduate SCHEMES look like this:

  • Systems Engineering Graduate Scheme (Summer 2018)
  • Graduate Leadership Development Programme
  • Change Delivery Graduate Programme
  • Ofcam Graduate Pathways

You can pick up free copies of graduate employer directories in Careers and Placements – these list all the major employers who run grad schemes.

When advertised, graduate JOBS look like this:

  • Graduate Data Analyst
  • Client Relationship Manager
  • Sustainability Consultant (Immediate start)
  • Media Analyst

You can see that these vacancies often don’t use the word “Graduate” in the job title, but both where they are advertised and the job description will help you to work out they are graduate level positions.

Another thing to look out for is the suggested start date – unlike grad schemes these employers are not recruiting far in advance. They need someone to start work reasonably quickly following the recruitment process.  If it’s only November of your final year, there is no point in applying to live vacancies – the employer will be seeking to fill a live vacancy reasonably quickly – they won’t be prepared to wait 8+ months until you have graduated.

The jobs that will be suitable for you to apply to will be advertised from around  Easter onwards if you are an undergraduate finishing in June, or early summer if you are a taught postgraduate.

These jobs seem harder to find – where are they advertised?

Graduate level jobs are advertised in lots of different places all year round – the usual graduate vacancy sites  listed on our Graduate Vacancies Information sheet are a good starting point. For more specific information about finding jobs in different job sectors use the Job Sector pages

Our job hunting toolkit is another useful resource to help you understand more about everything job search related.  And of course you can come and talk to us anytime if you have more questions.

Mandy Simmons, Information & Engagement Officer, Careers and Placements