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Graduate Jobs

When you are considering opportunities for after university, you are likely to encounter a plethora of terms. This may raise questions, such as:

  • What’s the difference between a graduate scheme, a graduate job and a graduate internship? 
  • When and where can I find these opportunities?
  • How do I apply? 

This page will help to answer those questions and help you navigate the graduate jobs market. 

Graduate schemes 

A graduate scheme is a structured and time-limited programme. Commonly found in large businesses, public services and charities, but some smaller employers may offer them. They come in all shapes and sizes, but some common traits include: 

  • Work interspersed with training and/or qualifications
  • Early responsibility and an emphasis on leadership
  • Rotation across different departments and/or branches to get a feel for what you like best (rotations can be within a pre-chosen specialism or more varied).
  • Last between 1-3 years. 
  • Early recruitment cycle - start to look in the summer before final year of study (and it’s advisable to research before that) for schemes starting the following summer or autumn.  
  • Deadlines vary, but many are in December or January. Some close early if they have a high number of applications. Most welcome applicants who have graduated in the last 2-3 years.  
  • A multi-stage recruitment process, typically involving an initial written application, psychometric assessments, telephone/video interviews, assessment centres and final interviews. Seek application support so you feel as confident as possible.  
  • Are found across the country, typically in cities but not just in London. Some may be multi-location. 

Graduate jobs

  • Any job that requires a degree! 
  • However, graduate jobs may be in fields that strictly speaking accept other qualifications/routes in, but where a degree may be seen as an advantage.  
  • Unlikely to have a defined programme of training and development, but this doesn’t mean that there aren’t any developmental opportunities. 
  • Apply 1-2 months before being available to work but it is beneficial to research and make connections prior to that.  
  • May also be referred to as ‘Direct entry’ or ‘Entry level’. Just check the detail to see if it is aimed at graduates. Some graduates initially start in non-graduate roles as a stepping stone to gain more experience before progressing. 

Graduate Internships

  • Temporary positions, so ideal if you want more experience before committing long term. 
  • Advertised all year around; apply 1-2 months before being available to work. 
  • Should be paid, but there are exceptions. 
  • You can find a useful summary of the law around this on TARGETjobs. Find out more on our Internships page.  

Where to look for graduate schemes and jobs (not exhaustive) 

Still unsure?

We offer a range of appointments to help you with your career, why not speak to one of our specialist advisers today?

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