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Graduate Schemes: Preparing to Apply and Where to Start!

Careers AdviceGraduate Jobs

Whether it’s a grad job, further study, taking a gap year, or rocking back and forth questioning the security of your future – it can be a daunting task deciding what you want your next step to be. The dreaded “so, what’s your plan after university?” haunts us all. However, a graduate scheme is one option that is becoming more popular and more accessible for post-graduate students across the UK.

What is a graduate scheme?

A graduate recruitment scheme can be defined as a programme that allows recent graduates to experience their chosen industry hands-on, with on-the-job training and an opportunity to get your foot in the door through meeting important people in the field of work. A bonus is a salary that reflects a full-time job, rather than that of an internship or work experience, and a chance to remain an employee of the company after the scheme is completed.

Scope out your options and ask for help!

The first step when considering applying for graduate schemes is working out the route you’re interested in. Obviously, some relevance to the university course you study/studied helps, but it’s so important that it’s an area you find yourself passionate about and enraptured by – you’re most likely going to be in this for the long run! Universities across the UK are required to offer support regarding career prospects. Whether this is through their website, in 1-2-1’s or weekly drop-ins at your careers service, they are available to you to discuss your options and gain a second opinion on what routes seem viable and suited to you. Careers advisors are here to help you find your path with confidence.

a group of people talking at a table

What do you want from them, and what do they want from you?

Once you have a brief idea of the area of work you are interested in, it’s a good idea to study their job descriptions closely. Look on job-hunting websites, whether that be your university’s job board, consultancies like GRB, or at a careers fair, you need to ask yourself some questions. What are they looking for? What experience and qualities do they require? And do you embody these qualities? Writing things down can always put things into perspective; write down the keywords from their requirements, and next to it, jot down what you have achieved and done that shows evidence for this – allowing you to see where gaps may exist in your repertoire. Remember that things like clubs and societies show a lot more skills than just that you have a hobby and can socialise!

It’s never too late to build on your CV

If there is a significant difference between the qualities the company is asking for and the qualities which you feel you display, you still have time to do something about it! Employers sift through thousands of CVs every day, you must exhibit something unique and fresh, despite how hard it seems nowadays to truly stand out. If applying at the start of the academic year, do not fret, you have time to sprinkle some magic onto your application. For example, volunteering roles are available year-round at a variety of organisations. Or instead, show your independence and creativity by starting a blog or give writing for a website or magazine a go – you can even write for GRB! It’s never too late to add a little extra something to your CV and persuade your possible future employer that you’re the perfect candidate!

volunteer with children

Just do it!

After sending off your application, you may receive an invitation for a telephone, skype, or in-person interview, assessment centers, or instructions to complete a psychometric test. Remember: when you've been applying for jobs, make sure you answer the phone to any numbers you don't know - you never know if that may be the one! All in all, the apprehensive feeling the application process stirs up is just excitement in disguise… A whole new path of success lays before you, and all you can do is try. Putting yourself out there and applying is the first step to finding yourself with the career you always hoped for. If turned down, accept the rejection with open arms and see it as a sign to expand on some of your skills and experiences – you never know what could happen and you might just be accepted into the job of your dreams.

Enjoy this blog? Why not read Don’t have a Grad Scheme? Don’t Panic! or So, You’ve Finished University… Now What?

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