As a student you want to make the most out of your university time but also graduate with a good grade in the end. However, if you’re in your final year another thing you should be considering is, what you’re going to do after graduation. So, if you’re considering graduate schemes for 2020, now’s the time to start applying.
Graduate Schemes VS Graduate Jobs
Grad schemes are one of the most popular career routes for graduates as they’re ideal if you’re looking for a programme with structure. They offer on-the-job training and clear progression over time. Moreover, graduate schemes can open up endless opportunities for career development and allow you to try out different aspects of the business and decide where you fit best.
The major difference between grad jobs and graduate schemes is mainly that graduate jobs have usually less structure. In addition, wages tend to be less competitive than graduate scheme salaries. It is also important to note that progression within the company may be more dependent on individual strengths and weaknesses, rather than following a set plan.
Despite the obvious advantages of a graduate scheme there are also certain drawbacks. For example, depending on the industry or job, they may be incredibly competitive and as a result their application process can be long and particularly rigorous. Consequently, getting proactive is crucial. That will help you make sure there is enough time ahead to tailor every application down to each company’s requirements.
So, when do you actually need to start applying?
The best thing you can do to set yourself in good stead among this competition is to start applying as soon as possible, so that you leave yourself enough time to perfect each of your applications. It is worth emphasising that close dates vary and depend on each industry or company. Unfortunately, there is not a set rule for all grad schemes and some close as early as November, meaning you really need to be on it if you don’t want to miss out. It is also worth noting that some graduate programmes may close earlier, if they receive too many applications.
However, January and February still set very popular months for most application deadlines. That’s why November and December are a great time for graduate applications. A lot of students may get distracted from the goal by the lure of the holiday period so make sure you avoid falling into this trap and beat the competition.
Top tips for preparing to apply for grad schemes
Tailor your CV – You’ll need a bespoke CV and cover letter for each one you apply for and, if your application progresses further, you’ll undertake psychometric testing and attend assessment centres and interviews. Make sure you have enough time ahead to proofread and review your answers!
Research, research and research – A lot of students go through their final year without realising that application deadlines are passing – don’t be one of them. Do your research now, and you’ll thank yourself for it when you come to graduate!
Know the ways to apply to graduate schemes – You can find grad schemes on a wide number of different platforms, so be sure to explore your options and see what’s out there.
Quality, not quantity – This is key and will help you narrow down your search in the earlier stages. So, once you’ve found your desired roles you can focus on those applications and ensure there are no mistakes.
Job Fairs – Attending a job fair is the ideal opportunity for you to start making connections and to make those all-important first impressions during your final year. They offer the perfect opportunity for you to discover current and upcoming graduate schemes and apprenticeship vacancies with employers.
Compare and contrast – Know what employers want! Always double check minimum degree requirements, what degree disciplines are required as well as skills or experience before you start applying.
The most important thing when it comes to searching for jobs is to be proactive and have a strategy in place to save you wasting valuable time. So, check out the latest graduate vacancies on Zoek and start applying today!
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