Am I too old for graduate schemes?

If you graduated a while ago, but are interested in getting a place on a graduate scheme, you may be wondering “Am I too old for graduate schemes?”

In this post, we will help you to make informed decisions about your career and reassure you if you are concerned about your age.

Am I too old for graduate schemes? The short answer.  

In short, no. Whilst most candidates on a graduate scheme will be in their early 20s, you can complete your degree at any stage of your life. Therefore, if you were a mature student you’ll be eligible to apply for graduate schemes.

Mature graduates with relevant qualifications can offer valuable experience gained from working in different fields.

After all, it would be age discrimination if you were denied a place on a graduate scheme due to your age. Age discrimination is illegal in the UK. Furthermore, many companies are actively trying to increase the diversity of their graduate hires.

Am I too old for graduate schemes? A more detailed answer 

If you graduated several years ago, and have a few years of experience under your belt, some companies may encourage you to look at positions for experienced hires.  

This is because graduate schemes are designed for candidates with little or no work experience. 

Graduate schemes are highly structured training programs, often with rotational placements. 

Many recent graduates who aren’t quite sure of what they want to do after university benefit from gaining varied experience. 

However, this does not mean you cannot apply for a graduate scheme if you already have years of experience. 

Start by researching the companies that you are interested in applying to. 

You may find that some graduate schemes require candidates to have graduated within a certain timeframe such as 12 months. 

If this information isn’t on the website and you’d like to be sure if you are eligible before sending your application, don’t hesitate to contact the graduate recruitment team.

Assess your reasons for wanting to do a graduate scheme if you already have years of experience. 

Some people consider joining a graduate scheme if they are changing their career into a new field that they do not have experience in. 

A graduate scheme in the new field that you are interested in can help you to get your foot in the door. 

However, just because you are changing your career, it doesn’t necessarily mean you need to get an entry-level position. 

This is because you will have gained a range of transferable skills. You will be able to demonstrate your aptitude to learn quickly on the job.

Graduate scheme vs graduate job: Which one is best for you? 

too old for graduate schemes

A graduate scheme is a highly structured, full-time training programme that is designed for graduates with little or no work experience. 

They generally last for 1-4 years and some times require candidates to take formal qualifications or rotate around different areas of the business. 

On successful completion of a graduate, scheme candidates may be encouraged to apply for a permanent job at the company. Or the candidate might decide to find a job at another company.

Graduate jobs, on the other hand, are less structured and open for candidates who have a degree. You can apply for graduate jobs at any age or stage of your life, so long as you meet the entry requirements. 

Some inspiration 

Here’s a story by Becca Hulton, who successfully secured a place on a graduate scheme at Deloitte.

Becca had graduated 4 years before securing her place on the graduate scheme.

Andrew Jones, a graduate of the Open University was successful in landing a graduate job at Network Rail on the Engineering programme.

Andrew had 8 years of experience prior to taking on this graduate role.

If you still think you are too old for a graduate scheme, think again.

What to do if you are unsure of what to do 

Get in touch with us!

Here at Graduate Coach, we have helped mature students and older graduates to get the right job for them. 

Whether you are considering a career change, or are looking for your first graduate-level job we can help you. 

Am I too old for graduate schemes: summary 

We hope this post has helped you if you are considering applying for a grad scheme. 

When it comes to applying for graduate schemes, your age shouldn’t be an issue. There is no age limit for graduate schemes.

Recruiters for graduate schemes will be more interested in your work history/number of years of experience. 

If you already have a lot of experience, some companies may advise you to apply for other graduate roles.

This is because they are looking for candidates with little or no work experience to offer training to. 

Regardless of when you graduated or how old you are, we can help you.

We have helped candidates who struggled for several years after university to find a graduate job. We have also helped people with years of experience to transition into new fields and navigate their career change successfully.

When to apply for graduate schemes

Knowing when to apply for graduate schemes is vital. You want to ensure that you send off your graduate scheme applications as early as possible to give yourself the best chances of success. 

In this post, we’ll share when to apply for graduate schemes and outline some top tips on getting in your applications on time. 

Before we get started, it’s worth highlighting that graduate schemes are different to graduate jobs

Check out our post called “what is a graduate scheme” for a detailed overview. 

When to apply for graduate schemes if you are in the final year of your degree. 

If you are in your final year of university and are looking to get yourself a graduate job before finishing your degree you’ll need to start sending off your applications from September. 

This is because most graduate recruiters open their applications between September and January.

The majority of graduate programmes have September start dates. So if you’ll be applying well in advance so that you’ll have your graduate scheme lined up after your graduation.

In order to avoid disappointment, it is best to apply early as many companies recruit on a rolling basis. 

This means they will start processing applications as they are received. 

Also, it’s a good idea to get your application in as soon as possible as some companies will start inviting candidates to interviews and assessment centres straight away.

Some companies will start running assessment centres as early as November. So applying early can make a huge impact on the success of your application.

Finally, if you are in the final year of your degree, it’s best to send off your graduate scheme application early before your workload intensifies. 

Key takeaway: start applying early in the graduate scheme recruitment cycle to avoid disappointment.

When to apply for graduate schemes if you’ve already graduated 

If you have just graduated, you may need to wait until the next graduate recruitment cycle starting in September. 

So if you graduated in May, for instance, you may need to wait 4 months before you send off your graduate scheme applications.

If it’s been a while since you graduated, you may be wondering if you are too old for graduate schemes. In short, the answer is no, however, check out our blog post on this topic for more information.

Alternatively, you may decide that you want to apply for graduate jobs instead of a graduate scheme.

The difference between a graduate scheme and a graduate-level job is that graduate schemes tend to be highly structured training programs often with rotations. They are designed for graduates in their early career. 

Graduate-level jobs are also entry-level jobs for graduates however, they won’t have a highly structured training scheme and do not usually require you to rotate across different departments.

Employers recruit for graduate-level jobs all year round. So if you’ve just graduated and would like to start your graduate search straight away, you can look out for graduate job opportunities. 

The recruitment process for applying for jobs designed for recent graduates may be slightly different from the graduate scheme application process.

Most graduate scheme applications require candidates to complete:

Graduate job applications may include some of the above stages.

If you are going down the graduate job route, we can help you with your job applications.

Tips for getting your graduate scheme applications in early 

When to apply for graduate schemes

Start your research during the summer.

During the summer holidays before your final year of university, start researching. (If you’ve already graduated, start planning ahead so that you are prepared for the next graduate scheme recruitment cycle).

Juggling your job hunt with other commitments such as uni or work will be challenging.

You can make the process much easier by putting together a shortlist of the graduate schemes you wish to apply for in advance.

Then it’s a good idea to create a template for your CV and cover letter. Having this template ready will make it easy for you to tailor for each position during the application process.

Tip: remember, graduate employers will be looking to see evidence of key employability skills such as communication, teamwork, ability to use your own initiative and more. Be sure to demonstrate these skills in your graduate CV.

Be strategic

Only apply for the graduate schemes that are suited to your career goals, skills and interests. 

If you need help deciding what career is right for you, consider signing up for our one-to-one coaching programme

When it comes to applications for graduates schemes, quality is better than quantity. 

Some applications take a while to complete, so start them early, and make sure that you do not rush them. 

Balance sending out your graduate scheme applications with your studies

If you are still at university and are hoping to get a place on a graduate scheme before graduation, you’ll need to balance sending off your applications with your studies. 

Map out your time efficiently to ensure that you have the time to send off high-quality applications whilst also meeting your academic deadlines.  

Tip: Don’t rush your applications. Some applications will take longer than others. Some will just ask for basic information and a copy of your CV. Others may require you to list off all of your work experience and module grades to date.

Keep track of deadlines

Create a spreadsheet listing out all of the graduate schemes you wish to apply for with details of when the applications open and close. 

Once you know when applications open, set yourself reminders in your calendar to send your application. 

Tip: some companies allow you to set reminders so that you’ll receive an email when the application opens. 

When to apply for graduate schemes: summary

We hope this post has given you a better understanding of when to apply for graduate schemes! 

If you would like some support finding the right graduate scheme for you, check out our career coaching services. We help students, graduates and career changers.

Also, if you’re interested in a career in technology, check out our guide about technology graduate schemes.

Books for graduates who want to excel in their careers

The transition from education to employment can be difficult. Here are some books for graduates who want to get a head start and start their career off on the right foot. 

These books contain life lessons, advice and insights. If you know someone who has recently graduated, getting them one of these books would make a good graduation gift.

1. The Graduate Book

The first book on our list of books for graduates is The Graduate Book by Chris Davies.

The Graduate Book is a must-read for all graduates. It is for those wanting to create a successful future for themselves. 

It contains everything you need to know to do really well at work. 

The book is divided into 13 chapters. Each chapter contains a key tip and how graduates can implement it at work to maximise their performance. 

Chris Davies has been helping students and graduates to land their dream jobs for the past decade. He has condensed his learnings over the past ten years into his books and courses

If you or someone you know has recently graduated, getting them a copy of The Graduate Book will help them to thrive in their new role. 

2. Lean in for Graduates 

Books for graduates

Lean in for graduates is number 2 on the list of books for graduates. 

It was written by Sheryl Sandberg.

The book contains several tips for graduates including :

  • Adopting the mantra “proceed and be bold”
  • Shift from a what do I get to a what can I offer mindset
  • Negotiate wisely
  • Break long-term goals into short-term steps.
  • Listen to your inner voice

Sheryl Sandberg has enlisted the input of many other experts to bring together a diverse range of perspectives. 

3. There is life after college

Number three on this list of books for graduates is There Is Life After College: What Parents and Students Should Know about Navigating School to Prepare for the Jobs of Tomorrow, by Jeffrey Selingo 

There is life after college is a New York Times bestseller. 

It was written to help alleviate parents’ anxiety and prepare their college graduates for the real world of work. 

4. The Student Book 

The Student book was also written by Chris Davies, the founder of Graduate Coach. 

The Student Book contains everything you need to know to get the job you really want. 

If you are a recent graduate, who is struggling to find a graduate job after university you’ll find this book incredibly useful. 

It covers everything from CVs and cover letters to improving your interview technique. 

You can purchase it directly from the publisher

5. The New Rules of Work 

The New Rules of Work: The Modern Playbook for Navigating Your Career was written by Alexandra Cavoulacos and Kathryn Minshew. 

Part one: What do I actually want? This section is all about uncovering your skills and discovering the world of exciting career opportunities. 

Part two: Making a move. This section is about getting the experience you need to get your dream position. 

Part three: Charting your course through the modern workplace. This section includes on-the-job tips. 

Technology Graduate Schemes [Ultimate Guide]

Are you hoping to secure a place on a competitive technology graduate scheme? 

This ultimate guide to tech grad schemes will help you to make informed decisions and boost your chances of making a successful application. 

We’ll cover everything you need to know from what companies offer technology graduate schemes, to what you can do to stand out for the right reasons. 

What is a technology graduate scheme?  

A technology graduate scheme is a structured training program for graduates that will involve learning about and working on technology-related projects. 

Technology is a broad term so the roles you could do within a technology graduate scheme varies. 

Generally, graduates will be hired to help with projects related to digital transformation or creating technical solutions. 

Graduate schemes typically last 1-3 years although some last longer. 

Check out our post called “what is a graduate scheme” for more information.

Entry requirements for tech graduate schemes 

The entry requirements for technology graduate schemes will vary amongst companies. 

Some will require graduates to have studied a specific degree related to science, technology, engineering or maths (STEM). 

Whilst others will welcome applications from a wide range of degree subjects. 

Generally, graduate recruiters for tech graduate schemes will ask for a 2:1 classification. However, some will have 2:2 as their minimum academic requirement. 

Which companies offer Technology graduate schemes 

Graduate recruiters across several industries take on graduates every year to join their technology teams. 

Some examples include: 

PwC: They take on associates in their technology consulting division to help organisations to develop strategies to transform their technology capabilities and solve critical problems. 

EY:   At EY, graduates can choose from the following divisions: 

  • Cybersecurity 
  • IT Risk and Assurance 
  • FTDS
  • Transactions 

JP Morgan: JP Morgan has a 12-month software engineering program. 

Deloitte: There is a wide range of technology grad schemes on offer at Deloitte, for example, technology consulting, Risk analytics, Robotics and analytics and software development. 

Sky: The technology graduate scheme at Sky is rotational giving grads the opportunity to gain a varied experience. Watch the video below to find out more about Sky’s technology graduate scheme.

Career progression from tech grad schemes  

Successfully completing a technology graduate scheme will set you up for a great career in or related to tech. 

As graduate schemes have structured training, you’ll gain a wealth of skills and experiences that are highly transferable for other roles. 

After your graduate scheme has finished, you may be offered a full-time permanent position within the company or you may decide to move to another company.  

Starting salaries for graduates on technology graduate schemes 

On average, starting salaries for graduates on technology graduate schemes range from £22,000 to £30,000. 

This will vary depending on the company and the industry. 

Whilst starting salary is likely to be a key factor when applying for graduate schemes, it is important to take into consideration several other factors. Doing so will help you to secure the right role for you. 

What to do if you don’t get a place on a tech grad scheme 

Technology grad schemes are highly competitive. Therefore, if you don’t get a place the first time around, you could always apply again the following year. 

If you have been unsuccessful in getting a technology grad scheme, you’ll have a year to improve your application. We can help to boost your chances the second time around. 

Alternatively, there are training schemes that have been designed to train graduates and teach them the tech skills they need to get a tech-related role. 

An example of a program like this is QA’s Graduate Academy. They offer a 12-week training programme where you have the opportunity to develop and learn tech skills. Upon successful completion of the training, you’ll do a work placement to further develop your tech skills. 

You’ll get training in one of the following specialisms: 

  • DevOps 
  • Big Data
  • App and Web Development 
  • Cloud computing 
  • Cyber Security 
  • Enterprise middleware 

Tips for graduates with a non-tech background 

A background in technology, coding or maths isn’t essential. Many firms like to take on graduates from a diverse range of degree subjects. 

This is because people from different backgrounds bring diverse perspectives and solve problems in different ways. 

If you do not have a technology background, it is vital that you can 

  • Demonstrate that you have a genuine interest in technology.
  • Show that you have the technical ability required.
  • Explain how you would use logic and creativity to solve complex problems. 
  • Keep up to date with technological advances. 
  • Demonstrate how you can add value with your non-tech degree 
  • Graduate employers will look for key skills such as communication, teamwork, organisation ability to use your initiative and more so make sure that you are able to demonstrate these skills. 

There are some tech grad schemes that have been designed for graduates who don’t want to create technical solutions or gain a technological skillset but who want to work with tech. 

For example, at Capgemini, there are graduate roles in technology consulting which are ideal for candidates who are tech enthusiasts who want to work with technology but not build it. 

General technical graduate scheme application tips 

It’s great that you know that you would like to pursue a technology career!

You’re probably wondering what you can do to boost your chances of making a successful application and getting an offer. 

Here are some tips for your tech grad scheme application: 

  • Practice psychometric tests online. Almost all technology graduate schemes will ask applicants to take a series of psychometric tests in the initial stages of the application process.

    If you do not pass these psychometric tests, you’ll be immediately screened out of the process.

    To ensure that you do not fall at the first hurdle, make sure that you practice psychometric tests online under timed conditions.

  • Understand the culture of the company. Regardless of the role, you are applying for, in the early stages, the graduate recruiters will want to know if you would make a good fit for the company culture.

    They may assess this early on in the application process by asking you to complete a situational judgement test. Before you complete the situational judgement test, be sure to read the companies mission, values and employee attributes.

    Again, if you do not pass the situational judgement test, you may be screened out before you get the chance to demonstrate your technical ability.
     
  • Get some interview training.  As a part of the application process, you’ll probably be asked to complete a video interview and/ or a face-to-face interview. If you really want to perform highly in these interviews, consider getting a graduate coach for some interview training

Women in technology

Are you a female looking to pursue a career in tech?

Whilst technology is a rapidly growing industry it is often not the first choice career for female graduates. 

Here are some top women in tech tips: 

  • Find out as much as you can about the industry
  • Attend Women in technology networking events
  • Demonstrate a genuine passion for technology
  • Gain work experience 

We hope that this guide helps you to secure your dream graduate programme in a tech role. 

Check out our post on when to apply for graduate schemes.

If you would like any support with your technology graduate scheme applications, do not hesitate to get in touch with us!  We’ll help you to turn your degree into a graduate job!

What happens at a graduation ceremony?

If you are due to graduate soon, you’re probably wondering what happens at a graduation ceremony. 

We’ve put together this post to explain what you can expect on your graduation day. 

Before your graduation ceremony 

Leading up to your graduation day, your university will get in touch with you usually via email or your universities student portal. 

You’ll be informed of the ceremony details such as when and where it will be held. 

Applying for your guest tickets.

Your university will want to know how many guests you wish to bring with you. 

The number of guests you can bring will depend on your university’s policy and the size of the venue. Generally, universities will try to make it fair so that every student can bring roughly the same number of guests. 

It is best that you apply for your guest’s tickets as soon as possible to avoid disappointment. 

Gown hire 

What happens at a graduation ceremony?

Your university will also encourage you to hire your gown. 

They will usually state where to hire your gown from as the specific gown that you will wear will be unique to your university and your course. 

Whilst most people hire their gown and graduation cap, some people opt to buy their graduation attire to keep for memories. 

In order to hire your gown, you may need to provide the measurements of your head and your gown size. This is so that the gown hire company can reserve the right size gown for you. 

What happens at a graduation ceremony? 

This will differ slightly across universities. However, here’s what you can expect: 

Putting on your graduation gown and cap 

Generally, you’ll start the day by getting dressed up in your graduation gown and hat. 

There will be members of staff available on the day to help you to put on your robe and graduation cap and make sure that you are comfortable. 

If you realise that you’ve hired the wrong size robe or hat, don’t worry as the gown hire company will often have spares in different sizes. They will be there on hand to help you. 

Once everyone has put on their graduation attire, you’ll usually walk to the graduation ceremony location with your peers and guests. 

Getting seated in the venue 

Once you arrive at the venue you’ll separate from your guests and enter the venue with your peers. 

All of the graduands (people who are about to receive their academic degree) will sit together. 

The graduate ceremony planners will have devised a plan to get everyone into the ceremony room quickly and efficiently. There will be staff members who are on hand to help you to find your seat. 

Depending on your university you’ll be sitting with your fellow course members, sometimes in alphabetical order. 

Your guests will also be helped to find their seats. 

Academic procession and welcome  

At the start of your ceremony, there will be an academic procession. 

This will last for about 15-20 minutes. 

Senior academic lecturers and staff, some of whom you’ll recognise will walk onto the stage. 

They will also be dressed in academic attire. 

The graduands will stand whilst the academic staff walk on to the stage and take their seats.   

Then you’ll be invited to take your seat again, and you’ll be welcomed by the vice-chancellor or president of the academic board. 

There may be some other speeches and notable mentions. 

The presentation of the awards  

Then each graduand will be called on stage one by one. 

This will be done in a very coordinated fashion and there will be members of staff nearby, ensuring that everything runs smoothly. 

Usually, members of each subject will be called at a time. 

Walking across the stage  

  • When your name and degree classification is called, you’ll walk across the stage. 
  • You’ll then shake the chancellor’s hand. 
  • Then you’ll receive a cylinder or piece of paper (Usually, you’ll get your actual degree certificate before or after your graduation ceremony). 
  • Some universities will take photos of each graduate shaking the chancellor’s hand. 
  • Then you’ll walk back to your seat and enjoy the remainder of the ceremony. 

After the awards have been handed out, there may be some further speeches. 

Academic procession and Graduates Exit 

The graduates will stand whilst the academic staff on stage leave the ceremony. 

Then the graduates will exit. 

After the ceremony

You’ll leave the ceremony venue. Some people will take photos outside of the venue with their family and friends.

Then there may be a post-ceremony celebration at a location nearby. 

At the celebration, you may have the opportunity to get a professional photograph taken whilst wearing your graduation gown and cap. 

At the end of the celebration, if you hired your gown and graduation cap, you’ll need to return it to the gown hire company. 

Here’s a video showing what happens at a graduation ceremony.

What happens at a graduation ceremony: summary

We hope this post helps you to understand what happens at a graduation ceremony. 

Graduation ceremonies will differ across universities, but this post will give you a general idea of what to expect. 

Your graduation day is one that you’ll reflect on your time at university and your achievements. 

If you would like bespoke help to secure a graduate-level job contact us, here at Graduate Coach. 

We will help you to turn your degree into the right career for you. If you’ve recently graduated from university, check out our post on books for graduates who want to excel in their careers.

Applying for a Masters in the UK? Everything you need to know

We’ve put this guide together for international students who have made the decision to study for their Masters in the UK. 

This guide will help you to gain a better understanding of postgraduate qualifications in the UK. By the end of this post, you’ll be able to make more informed decisions about studying in the UK. 

1: You can apply to as many Master’s courses as you like 

It is vital that you conduct in-depth research into the courses that you wish to study. 

Create a spreadsheet listing all the courses that you wish to apply for. 

You can apply to as many postgraduate degree courses as you wish when you are applying to do a Masters in the UK. 

It’s a good idea to submit more than one applications to “spread the risk”, rather than putting all of your eggs in one basket. 

Bear in mind that some universities will have an application fee which will vary across institutions. 

As some will require you to pay a fee to submit your application, it is very important that you conduct thorough research to ensure that you meet the entry requirements. 

The fee will be stated on the websites for the universities you wish to apply for. 

To apply to do a Masters in the UK you will submit your application directly to the university.

The tuition fees for international students will usually be listed on the course pages. If you can’t find the information regarding the fees do not hesitate to contact the admissions department. 

2. You’ll need to meet the academic entry requirements 

Most of the Master’s degrees at the top universities in the UK will require that you have a 2:1 (upper second class) in your Bachelor’s degree.

This is equivalent to getting a 3.0 to 3.5 GPA score. 

Some universities will accept applications if you have lower academic grades and if you experienced mitigating circumstances they will take this into account if you inform them.

The admissions team will also take into account any relevant work experiences that you have gained. 

Undergraduate degree classifications in the UK 

1:1 (First class) 70% and above

2:1 (Upper second class) 60 – 69%

2:2 (Lower second class) 50-59% 

3 (Thrid class) below 49% 

You’ll need to work out what you got in your Bachelors, to see if you meet the entry requirements for a Masters in the UK. 

3. There are different types of Masters degree in the UK 

  •  Master of Arts MA 
  •  Master of Sciences MSc
  •  Master of Philosophy MPhil
  •  Masters of Research MRes
  • Masters of Business Administration MBA

There are also a number of other postgraduate qualifications such as a postgraduate certificate or a postgraduate diploma.  

4. There will be English Language requirements 

Applying for a masters in the UK

If you wish to study for your Masters in the UK, your course will be taught in English. 

Therefore, as well as meeting the academic requirements of your course, you will also need to meet the English language requirements. 

If English is not your first language, or if you’re not from a majority English speaking country, you’ll need to provide evidence of your English Language skills. 

You’ll be able to demonstrate evidence of your English Language skills if you have: 

  • Completed a minimum of twelve months of academic education in a majority English speaking country. 
  • Undertaken a minimum of eighteen months of work experience in the United Kingdom. 
  • Completed a English language certification. 

It is important that you check the English Language requirements for every university as the requirements will vary. 

There are a wide variety of English Language qualifications that you can take in order to prove your English language skills. Some examples include:

  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS) 
  • Test of English as Foreign Language (TOEFL) iBT
  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English

It is important to check the required scores required by the universities you are interested in applying to. 

5: You’ll need to submit a personal statement and your CV 

Your CV (resume) will outline your education and your academic history. 

It is important that you tailor your CV for the course that you are applying for. Ensure that your CV is 1-2 pages long. 

Your personal statement needs to convince the admissions team that you will excel on the course. 

It must also explain your motivations for deciding to pursue higher education. 

6: All universities will have different tuition fees. 

Master’s degrees are not capped at a specific price in the UK. 

Therefore, the tuition fees will vary across institutions and courses. 

You may find that the more prestigious universities have higher fees. 

Most universities offer scholarships, therefore, be sure to check with each of the universities you are interested in to see if you are eligible. 

7: You do not need to study a Masters in the same subject as your undergraduate degree. 

When applying for your Masters, it is a good idea to include your career plans in your personal statement. 

You do not need to do a Masters in the same subject as your undergraduate degree. 

For example, if you studied Geography for your undergraduate studies, you could study Accounting and Finance for your Masters. 

It is important that you demonstrate a genuine interest in the course that you are applying for. 

Students studying Masters degrees get the opportunity to specialise in an area of interest. 

Whilst studying for your Masters it is a good idea to also work on improving your employability skills. 

8: Masters courses usually last 1 year 

There are different modes of study for Masters degrees in the UK. 

You can either study full time for 1 year or part-time for 2 years. 

If you are studying for a PhD, MBA or a DBA, the course duration will be longer. 

We hope this guide comes in handy if you have decided to study in the UK. 

If you are still considering if a master’s degree is the right decision for you, read our post called: “should I do a master’s?

For some help to secure a job in the UK after you graduate, get in touch with our graduate coaches here at Graduate Coach. 

We offer one to one coaching to help you to find the right graduate-level career.

Useful videos if you are considering studying for your Masters in the UK

Should I do a Masters Degree?

So you’ve finished your undergraduate studies and you’re wondering: “Should I do a Masters?”

Deciding to do a Masters degree requires serious consideration.

Reasons not to do a Masters degree

Here at Graduate Coach, we advise people against doing a Masters degree if they are doing a Masters because they think it will:

  • Boost their employability and their chances of getting a graduate-level job.
  • Help you to progress faster in your career.
  • Make them stand out from the competition.

Too many people do a Masters because they think it will help them to get a job.

Chris Davies, Founder of Graduate Coach

Getting a Masters degree won’t necessarily boost your employability.

Graduate recruiters usually look for a minimum requirement of a 2:1 or a 2:2 undergraduate degree.

A few graduate recruiters also ask for specific A-level results or UCAS points as a part of their minimum requirements.

As long as you meet the minimum academic requirements, having a Masters degree won’t necessarily mean that you have more employability skills.

Here are the 6 key employability skills that all graduate recruiters will look for in applicants regardless of the role:

  • Communication
  • Team Work
  • Organising and planning
  • Problem Solving
  • Professionalism
  • Working on your own initiative

You should be able to demonstrate that you have all of these employability skills with your undergraduate degree.

Once the minimum academic requirements have been met the graduate recruitment team will focus on a wide variety of other factors.

This is to determine the candidate’s suitability for the role and the company.

A candidate with an undergraduate degree and a range of work experiences may be able to put together a stronger application than a candidate with a Masters and little or no work experience.

Summary

Empathise with the employer. For the jobs you are considering applying for, research what matters most to them.

They will state this clearly on their website.

If you want to develop your employability skills, consider getting work experience rather than embarking on a costly degree.

If you are struggling to find a job after university, the answer is not always to continue with higher education.

Will a Masters help you to stand out from the competition?

At the very beginning of your graduate career, having a postgraduate degree won’t necessarily help you to stand out from the crowd.

This is because 334, 000 or 40% of graduates have a Masters degree so it has lost its currency.

In other words, having a Masters isn’t a discriminator.

Once you have met the minimum academic requirements and have got through the initial screening, your personality, life and work experiences will help you to stand out from the competition.

Being able to articulate what makes you unique and the value you can bring to the company will help you to stand out.

A Masters degree won’t necessarily help you to progress faster in your career

Having a Masters degree won’t necessarily help you to progress faster than someone with a bachelors degree if you join a graduate scheme.

If you are applying for a graduate scheme whether you have a Masters degree or not, you’ll follow the same programme.

If at any stage during your graduate career your employer sees a business need for you to get a Masters degree, they’ll fund you to do it.

Some companies even pay for their employees to complete MBA degrees or other postgraduate qualifications.

Likewise, if at any point you feel a Masters will help your career progression, you can raise a business case to get financial support from your employer.

Some graduates considering doing a Masters feel as though they would rather get it “out of the way now”.

However, there are different modes of study. So it is possible to embark on part-time study whilst working.

What is the exception?

There are some specialist roles that require graduates to have a Masters degree.

For example, if you wanted to specialise in Economics. Some roles in Economic consulting ask for a Masters.

However, it is important to check the requirements of roles you are interested in before embarking on your degree.

What to do after graduation from university

Your degree has come to an end, and now you’re wondering what to do after graduation from university. 

If you’ve recently graduated and feel a bit unsure of what your next steps are, read this post!

We’ll outline some of the many options you have and share some tips to help you to thrive during this exciting stage of your journey. 

1: Launch your career

Whether you decide to get a graduate-level job or start-up your own business, you’ll probably want to get your graduate career off to a good start. 

There are many routes graduates can take. Here are some examples: 

  • Graduate scheme
  • Graduate job
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Training programme
  • Apprenticeships

We’ll go into each of these pathways in a bit more depth so that you can make an informed decision about which one is right for you. 

Should I do a graduate scheme? 

A graduate scheme is a structured training programme designed for graduates.  

They usually last anywhere between 2-4 years (sometimes longer) and usually give graduates the opportunity to rotate across different departments. 

Graduate schemes are usually offered by large companies who have the resources to take on grads each year. 

However, keep your eyes peeled for the smaller companies that offer structured training programmes for graduates. 

When deciding whether a graduate scheme is for you, weigh up the pros and the cons:

Pros:

  • Competitive salary.
  • Other benefits – These will vary across companies.
  • The opportunity to rotate around different departments which is good if you are unsure of what to do after graduation from university.
  • Some graduate schemes fund your professional development.

Cons:

  • The structured nature of a graduate scheme is not for everyone.
  • Graduate schemes are extremely competitive.
  • There’s no guarantee that you’ll be offered a permanent role at the company after the scheme has finished, although either way, you would have gained a lot of experience.

Should I get a graduate job?

You might be wondering: what’s the difference between a graduate scheme and a graduate job?

Graduate schemes tend to be more structured than graduate jobs. They are pre-defined programmes with set rotations and training.

Graduate jobs don’t tend to have rotations. However, the role will suit a recent graduate who may not have several years of relevant experience.

If you already have a good idea of what you want to do you might opt for a graduate job in that area. 

Read our post called: “what is a graduate scheme?” to get a deeper understanding of the difference between graduate schemes and graduate jobs.

Becoming an entrepreneur or being self-employed after graduating 

What to do after graduation from university

Some graduates might decide to start a business or freelance straight out of university. 

Many businesses were started by people who met at university and co-founded a business. 

Some start businesses as a side hustle whilst at university. After university graduates might decide to grow their side hustle into a full-time business.

Others decide to freelance or work on a business idea and start their own company after university

If you decide that the entrepreneurial route is best for you, be sure to find out if your university has any resources to support you. 

Training programmes for graduates 

There is an increasing number of training programmes available to graduates who want to upskill in a specific area.

For example, if you would like to become a software developer for example, you could take an intensive course that will provide you with the skills and experience you need to land a job in that field even if you did a non-technical degree.  

An example of a programme like that is the QA graduate academy. It is a 12-week programme designed to help you to land a tech-related job.  

2: Continue your studies

Some graduates who do not know what to do after graduation from university opt for a masters degree. Check out our post called: “should I do a masters?”

We often advise recent graduates who are considering this option to think about this decision very carefully. 

This is because we find that a lot of graduates believe that having a masters degree will increase their chances of getting a graduate-level job, however, this is rarely the case.

We also advise against doing a masters if you are doing it simply to delay your graduate job search for an extra year because you don’t know what to post-graduation.

Most graduate schemes have a minimum entry requirement of an undergraduate degree with a 2:1 or a 2:2. Therefore, the employers won’t necessarily view your application more favourably if you have a masters degree. 

Also even if you do have a masters degree and are successful in landing a place on a graduate programme, you will still start in the same position as someone with a bachelors degree. Therefore, going to grad school may not give you the advantage you are looking for. 

There is an exception to this. If for example, you want to go into a particular specialism such as becoming an economist or going into the field of cybersecurity it might be useful. 

It is also important to bear in mind that some employers fund their employees to do their masters in a subject that will help them to perform better in their role. 

Also, it is worth considering that when you are a fresh graduate, you may not really know what direction you want your career to go in. Sometimes it is more beneficial to get a few years of work experience, then reassess what masters you would like to do. 

Doing a masters after university summary

In summary, if you really do not know what to do after graduation from university, jumping straight into a masters programme is not always the best decision. 

If you know that you would like to get onto a graduate scheme programme or get a graduate-level job, it is worth investing in getting a graduate coach for one-to-one coaching who will help you to achieve this goal. 

We see a large number of graduates who didn’t know what to do after graduating from their undergraduate degree and therefore decide to embark on postgraduate study. 

It is often the case that they find that they still did not know what to do after their masters.  

A lot of graduates come to us after completing their masters as they are struggling to find a job after graduation.  

3: Take a break 

For many, the final year of university is extremely challenging. 

Whilst you might not know what you want to do after graduation from university in terms of career, you might know that you definitely want to take a break. 

Taking a break after graduation will give you the opportunity to spend quality time with friends and family members. 

Some graduates decide to take a well deserved holiday after university, or even travel the world. 

Travelling will allow you to experience different cultures and provide you with varied life experiences. 

These experiences can help you to stand out when it comes to sending out job applications or even pitching for clients. 

Taking a break will give you the opportunity to reflect on your time at university.

This will allow you to think carefully about your next steps.

Some graduates who finish university rush to find a job that might not be right for them. 

Taking some time out or even having a gap year can help you to truly discover your career path. 

4: Get a Graduate Coach 

If you are unsure of what to do after graduation from university, consider getting a graduate coach. 

A graduate coach will help you to develop lifelong skills related to how to:

  • Perform highly in interviews
  • Write achievement-based CVs
  • Land a graduate-level job that is right for you
  • Negotiate a higher salary
  • Advance quickly in your career

As well as helping you to secure your dream graduate-level job, a graduate coach can equip you with everything you need to know to do really well in your graduate position.

What to do after graduation from university: Summary

We hope this post has helped you if you didn’t know what to do after graduation.

There are many routes to take if you’ve recently graduated so carefully consider all of them before making a decision.

Why Do I Keep Failing At Job Interviews?

So you’ve attended several job interviews now but you haven’t landed yourself a job yet. You’re probably thinking to yourself: Why do I keep failing at job interviews?! 

Don’t worry, we have the answers. 

By the end of this post, you’ll have a better understanding of why you keep failing job interviews and we’ll give you some actionable tips on how you can finally outperform the other candidates and land your dream job. 

1:  Nerves get the better of you

Interview nerves can really have a negative impact on your interview performance. 

Nerves will make you come across as being less confident. 

Confidence is key when it comes to performing highly in interviews. 

Unfortunately, we notice job seekers who continuously keep failing job interviews become less confident over time. 

If you don’t come across as being confident in yourself and your ability to excel in the role, you’ll find it difficult to convince the interviewer to have confidence in you.

The best way to beat your interview nerves is to adequately prepare for your interview.  

Being adequately prepared for your interview will allow you to walk into the interview room knowing exactly what to expect and knowing exactly how to answer any interview question in a way that will impress the interviewer. 

It is important to note that confidence is not just conveyed by what you say. Your body language also gives away your level of confidence.

Action point: Learn and practice some body language tricks that will make you come across as being more confident during your interview such as: 

  • Maintaining a good posture i.e. sitting upright instead of slouching in your chair. 
  • Using eye contact effectively, i.e. getting the balance right between giving your interviewer’s eye contact without continuously staring at them. 
  • Keep your hands out of your pockets
  • Keep your head and your chin up 

On average, people only spend 36 minutes preparing for their interviews and that is simply not enough. 

We will share some tips and advice on how you can ensure that you are fully prepared for your interviews.

We collaborated with StudentJob UK to write a post about getting rid of nerves before an interview so if you’ve identified being nervous as being a reason why you keep failing job interviews, be sure to check out that post. 

2: Nobody has ever taught you how to prepare

We always tell our interview coaching candidates to not beat themselves up if they tell us that they keep failing interviews. 

This is because the chances are, they’ve never been taught how to interview before. 

Most things that we want to get really good at in life require some guidance either from a coach, teacher, trainer or instructor. 

Think of it this way, If you wanted to get really good at singing, you’d get a vocal coach. If you wanted to become a pro at Tennis, you’d get a Tennis instructor. 

Getting really good at performing highly in interviews is no different. 

Hiring an experienced interview coach can really help to give you the edge over the vast majority of the competition who wouldn’t have even taken adequate time to prepare for their interview. 

Here at Graduate Coach, we have been teaching students, graduates and career changers the art and the science of succeeding in interviews for the past decade. 

We offer face-to-face interview coaching as well as an online interview course. If you are looking to give yourself the best chance of passing your next interview and gaining lifelong skills, get in touch with us. 

You know the saying – fail to prepare, prepare to fail! But before it’s not just about preparing for your interview, first, you need to know how to prepare for interviews. 

If you do feel as though you always prepare for upcoming interviews but you’re wondering why you always fail in interviews, maybe you need to brush up on how you prepare for interviews as well as what you prepare. 

3: Memorising interview answers is not working for you 

This point follows on from the point above. 

Many interviewees approach their job interview preparation by writing down answers to questions that they think they might be asked and try to memorise them. 

An interview is not a memory game. 

If you adopt this approach of trying to memorise answers, you’ll probably get flustered and lose your composure if you forget your answer. 

Also if you put a lot of energy into memorising a set number of questions, if you are asked something that you haven’t prepared for, it can result in your mind going blank. Which many people find difficult to recover from in interviews. 

You should go into your interviews feeling confident that you can give impressive answers that demonstrate the extent to which you will excel in the role. 

This should hold true regardless of what question or scenario the interviewer throws at you. 

There’s nothing wrong with taking notes into your interview with competency-based answers written down. 

why do I keep failing at interviews?

3: When was the last time you researched the company properly? 

Researching the company is often overlooked when preparing for interviews. 

This is because job seekers tend to focus mainly on the role they are applying for. 

However, the interviewer is not just assessing your ability to do well in the role that you are applying for.

They are also assessing that you are the right fit for the company. 

Afterall you could apply for a similar role at another company, so you need to go to your interview knowing how to clearly articulate why you want the role at the company you have applied for. 

Knowing how to tailor your answers in a way that demonstrates that you are the right fit for the company involves carrying out in-depth company research. 

Researching the company involves a lot more than just skimming through the website. 

Take the time to read through the company values and make sure you are able to demonstrate these values and what they genuinely mean to you. 

Also, read through the different services the company offers and the clients they work with. Doing in-depth research on this level will give you an idea of how you’ll navigate and progress in your career within the company. 

Being able to state how you envision being able to navigate and progress in your career within the company will impress the employer. 

After all, hiring new employees can be very expensive and the interviewer needs to make the right decision. 

As well as hiring the person who will perform highly in the role, the hiring team will be looking for people they’ll be able to retain. 

Therefore, if you express your suitability to the company culture and your eagerness to progress in the company, you’ll stand out for the right reasons. 

This point is explored more in the next point about showing empathy in interviews.

4: You’re not empathising with the interviewer

Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. 

It’s vital that you truly understand what the company needs and show that their needs are equally important to you.

This ties into the point above about researching the company.

You won’t be able to understand what the company needs if you only have a surface-level understanding of the company.

Good candidates will empathise with the interviewer by genuinely showing that they are confident that they are the right fit for the company and the role.

They will confidently demonstrate that they know what the company’s mission is and that they will come into work every day to contribute to the company achieving its goals.

5: You don’t know what questions to ask

At the end of every interview, you’ll be asked if you have any questions.

If you keep failing your interviews, the chances are, you are not leveraging this time at the end of your interview. 

There are a wide variety of questions that you can ask at the end of your interview. 

It is important that you put some thought into what questions you will ask. 

If you really want to stand out in your interview it is important to learn the art of asking for the job. 

When was the last time you actually asked for the job? 

This might seem strange, and it does take some practice to get right. 

But being able to sincerely state at the end of the interview what getting the job will mean for you and asking for the job will definitely make you a memorable candidate. 

You keep making the same mistakes

If you keep failing interviews, it is possible that you are continuously making the same mistake.

After every failed interview, it is extremely important that you request feedback.

Companies do not have to provide candidates who were unsuccessful after interviews with feedback. Some companies do not offer feedback. However, some will if you ask.

Why do I keep failing at job interviews: summary

We hope you have found this blog post useful if you keep failing at interviews. 

Good interview performance requires strategic preparation and adequate practice. 

It is also important not to let failed interviews get you down or knock your confidence. We’ve put together a post on what you can do to restore your confidence after a failed interview.

Put it down to practise, brush yourself off, make use of your feedback, invest in interview coaching and keep applying!