Applying For Graduate Jobs: Your Questions Answered

In Career, University by Think Student EditorLeave a Comment

Applying for jobs can feel terrifying, especially as there can be so much uncertainty surrounding it. This is especially true for graduate jobs as there are so many more details to consider. However, it doesn’t have to feel this way!

With a little more knowledge about graduate jobs and how the application system works, applying to graduate jobs can be a lot less terrifying. Now, all you have to worry about is what happens next.

Continue reading to find out more about applying for graduate jobs. This article will answer the main questions that you may have about applying for graduate jobs, including what a graduate job is, how they’re different to graduate schemes and even when you can start applying.

What is a graduate job?

Applying to a graduate job can be incredibly hard to navigate and figure out what you need to do and how. This is especially true as it can be hard to tell exactly what a “graduate job” is and how it differs from any other kind of job.

In the UK, a graduate job is a permanent role where applicants will need to have an honours degree to be able to apply. They are typically targeted at graduates who want to break into a specific career or industry.

Due to this, graduate jobs will often provide training and have clear career progression pathways for graduates that stay in that career for a long time. For example, jobs in teaching, IT and medicine will generally be graduate jobs.

To learn more about what graduate jobs are and what industries these jobs are prevalent in, check out this article by Target Jobs. You can also check out this article by Milkround for even more details about graduate jobs.

Graduate job vs graduate scheme

Coming across the term graduate job can also get confusing when you throw other terms, such as “graduate scheme” into the mix. As “graduate job” and “graduate scheme” sound as if they could be the same thing, it can be hard to know the difference when it comes to applying for one.

A graduate scheme is a programme, where you can be trained in a specific sector as long as you have a degree, usually with a 2:1 grade or above. During a graduate scheme, you will get practical experience in different areas of a business under a structured training programme. These schemes will typically last between 1 and 4 years.

As mentioned above, a graduate job is simply a job where the main prerequisite is that you have completed an undergraduate degree. The difference with this is that unlike a graduate scheme, a graduate job doesn’t particularly come with a training programme and doesn’t have a set duration.

To learn more about graduate schemes, check out this governmental guide.

How many graduate jobs can you apply for?

You may feel eager to increase your chances of getting a graduate job and wonder if applying to as many as possible is the best way to do that. However, you may even be wondering how many you are even allowed to apply to in the first place.

There are no limits on how many graduate jobs you can apply for, meaning that the sky’s the limit. This also means that you can try to apply to as many as possible to try and increase your odds as much as possible.

However, this may end up being slightly counterproductive. This is because you need to make sure that you graduate job applications are of a high quality, which can make you stand out and make you more likely to get picked. Choosing quantity rather than quality can compromise this.

Due to this, it is important that you only apply to the ones that you are truly interested in and can meet the requirements for. To learn more about this, check out this article by Milkround.

When do you start applying for graduate jobs?

You may have heard the saying “the early bird catches the worm” and this couldn’t be more true when it comes to applying for graduate jobs. You should try to apply to graduate jobs as early as possible to ensure that you get them in before the positions close and to give you a better chance against the competition.

As the start of the recruitment cycle will normally be between September and January, you will likely want to send off your applications in the first term of you final year at university. Due to the lengthy application process and the nature of graduate jobs, you will likely then start in the September after you graduate. To learn more about this, check out this guide by Graduate Recruitment Bureau.

However, if this is too soon for you, you can always apply the following year. This is especially if you’re planning to take a gap year between finishing university and starting a job or if you’re not quite sure exactly you want to do after university. In this time, you may want to do work experience or internships to both enhance your CV and to give you an idea for your future career.

If you want to learn more about taking a gap year after university, check out this Think Student article. Click here and here to find helpful Think Student articles that will teach you more about work experience and internships and how they can benefit you.

Can you apply for a graduate job before you have graduated?

If you’re the kind of person who likes to get an early start on things and have everything prepared, waiting until after you graduate to start looking into graduate jobs can feel like you’ve wasted time. As a result, you may wonder if you really can get ahead of the game with your applications and ensure that you’re set up before you even finish your studies.

To put it simply, yes, you can apply for a graduate job before you graduate. This is especially as the application process for such jobs will often take weeks or even months.

However, due to the nature of a graduate job and the prerequisite of you having a degree, you will only truly be able to apply in your final year study. This can allow you to already be prepared for post-university life, even before you have fully completed your degree. To learn more about this, check out this article by Milkround.

How long after graduating can you apply for a graduate job?

As mentioned above, there’s not really any limits on when you can apply for a graduate job. This means that you can apply for a graduate job at any point after you graduate. In fact, you can even start sending off your applications before graduating so that you can finish the application process and hopefully land a job before you even finish your studies.

Many graduate job employers will begin their recruitment in a cycle that aligns with the academic year. As mentioned above, this will generally be between September and January. If you miss this window, you may want to consider just trying again for a graduate job position in the following year.

However, please note that many other employers will still be hiring year-round, so you still have opportunities to get a graduate job even if you wait for a bit longer after graduating. To learn more about this, check out this article by Milkround. If you would like to learn more about the limits surrounding graduate jobs for many years after, check out the following heading.

Can you apply for graduate jobs years after graduating?

Getting a graduate job can be tough and any number of things can delay you being able to get one. Whether this is due to taking time off, such as a long-awaited extended holiday, or your own personal circumstances, such as health issues, or even if you can simply not find the right one for you. This delay may make you wonder if it is even possible to get a graduate job anymore at all.

Officially, there is no set limit on how long after you get your degree you can get a graduate job. This means that yes, as long as you meet the other requirements that the job may have, then you can apply for a graduate job years after graduating.

However, you may be more likely to get a graduate job if it is 3 years or less after you graduate. This is likely due to the knowledge and skills you’d have picked up from university being fresher in your mind.

Despite this, applying for graduate jobs is still most definitely worth it. This is especially as you may find new positions that hadn’t existed in the same way at the time of you graduating.

To learn more about being able to apply long after graduating, check out this guide by Graduate Recruitment Bureau.

How many graduate jobs are there in the UK?

When applying for any job, you may wonder what the chances are of you getting it. Your own CV, qualifications and experience will obviously come into play, especially for a graduate job.

However, another major factor in how easy it can be to apply for a job and get it is how much competition you will have. For graduate jobs, one of the best ways to consider this is to think about how many graduate jobs there are as a whole.

In 2020, there were approximately 30,000 graduate jobs advertised each month in the UK. To put this into context, in the same year, there were 2.3 million graduates looking for jobs. These figures are pretty similar to other years and so it seems safe to assume that there will be similar figures for 2023.

To learn more about this and other information about the difficulties of getting a job as a graduate, check out this article by Think Student.

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