Help for Graduates Looking for Work

Congratulations! You’ve earnt your degree and your time at university has come to an end. Since graduating, you’ve probably been thinking about your next steps and your graduate career. However, navigating your graduate job search can be stressful if you are unsure of your career path. In this post, we will provide help for graduates looking for work

Why graduates need help looking for work 

Most graduates have gone through their entire academic career without getting adequate careers advice. Even if you visited your university’s career service a few times, you may still find yourself struggling to find a job after university

The graduate job search is multi-faceted. There are many factors to take into consideration such as:

  • Working out what type of graduate job is right for you 
  • Identifying your employability skills 
  • Understanding what graduate employers are looking for
  • Assessing your work experiences 
  • Crafting an achievement-based graduate CV 
  • Optimising your Linkedin profile and other social media profiles
  • Writing effective cover letters 
  • Sending out high-quality job applications
  • Performing highly in interviews  

Many graduates are unaware that there is help available to help them to land their dream graduate job. 

Over the years we have helped hundreds of graduates who have come to us after realising that: 

Help for graduates looking for work 

Help for graduates looking for work

Here at Graduate Coach, we offer a wide range of services that are designed to help graduates looking for work. 

Here are some of the services we offer: 

Books for students and graduates 

The founder of Graduate Coach, Chris Davies wrote The Student Book and The Graduate Book

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

The Graduate Book outlines everything you need to know to do really well at work. 

These are must-read books for graduates who want to excel in their career. 

Interview coaching for students, graduates and career changers 

Interview coaching is a short-term investment for long-term success. Getting interview coaching early on in your career will equip you with a lifelong skill that will help you to stop missing out on great career opportunities. 

Whether you decide to apply for structured graduate schemes or graduate jobs, you will be required to perform highly during interviews. 

We also offer an online interview course called Nail That Interview. This course is divided into 9 modules and brings together all we have learnt from coaching graduates over the past decade. 

One-to-one career coaching for students and graduates 

We have created a 6-step career coaching program for graduates. Our one-to-one coaching program comes with a guarantee that we will help you to get the right graduate job. 

You will be supported through the entire graduate job search process from discovering your career path to nailing your interviews and getting an offer. 

Help for Graduates Looking for Work: Summary 

If you are a recent graduate who is struggling to land your first graduate-level job, seek help. 

Many graduates panic at the idea of being unemployed after uni and send out several low-quality applications with no success.  

This leads to several graduates feeling lost after graduation and some graduates even feel depressed after university due to not being able to get a job. 

Your graduate job hunt should be strategic and geared towards finding the right job, not just any job. 

We hope you have found this post outlining help for graduates looking for work useful. If you need help, do not hesitate to reach out to us

12 Legal Work Experience Ideas

Whether you are an aspiring solicitor or barrister, you want to boost your chances of entering the legal profession once you have graduated.

In this post, we will share 12 legal work experience ideas that will help your applications to stand out. 

1. Send out speculative applications to high street law firms 

Many aspiring lawyers focus solely on getting a place on a vacation scheme at larger firms. However, it is possible to get some valuable legal work experience at a smaller high street law firm. 

A speculative application is a request for work experience even though this opportunity has not been advertised. 

You may find success, sending out speculative applications as there will be less competition relative to vac scheme applications at larger firms. 

How to get work experience at a high street law firm

1: Research high street firms in your area  

2: Put together a spreadsheet with contact details for each firm 

3: Update your CV

4: Send out batches of emails to local firms requesting work experience and attach a copy of your CV 

You may need to send out several speculative applications for legal work experience until you are successful. 

Tip: If you don’t hear back, be sure to follow up via email or telephone. 

Once you have completed some work experience at a high street law firm, don’t forget to add this experience to your CV. 

Applying for work experience speculatively can be time-consuming, however, it is worth it if you manage to gain some valuable experience. 

2. Get some voluntary work in a legal setting 

Doing pro bono work will give you some hands-on experience with real legal cases. It is an excellent way to get legal work experience whilst helping people in need. 

Benefits of getting involved with pro bono work 

  • Develop practical legal skills such as interviewing clients and drafting letters 
  • Demonstrate legal research skills 
  • Expand your professional network
  • Explore different areas of law 
  • Add value to your training contract and pupillage applications 

How to get pro bono experience 

Check if your university has a pro bono centre as the first port of call. 

You can also check out the following organisations: have compiled a really handy list of pro bono and volunteering opportunities.   

Alternatively, you could volunteer at a court. Court volunteers provide reassurance and support for clients. 

Court volunteers support clients in the following ways:

  • Explaining how the court system works 
  • Assisting with tasks such as filling out court forms 
  • Helping clients to plan what they are going to say in court 
  • Going into court hearings with clients 

Find out more about how you can get involved in volunteering in a court

3. Get a job as a paralegal 

Working as a paralegal is a great idea for gaining legal work experience and bolster your CV. 

Paralegals provide administrative support to solicitors and only requires candidates to have (or to be pursuing a law degree).  As a paralegal, you may be required to complete the following tasks: 

  • Interviewing new clients 
  • Taking witness statements 
  • Preparing and drafting legal documents 
  • Providing legal advice

There are paralegal opportunities within both high street firms as well as within larger firms within the city. 

Being a paralegal is a good way to kick-start your career in law. It is an excellent idea to gain legal work experience by working as a paralegal part-time whilst studying at university. 

Tip: Find out as much as you can about the role of a paralegal, then start applying for opportunities.  

4. Secure places on vacation schemes 

Vacation schemes last between a week and a month. Vac schemes usually take place during the summer, Easter or Christmas. 

During a vacation scheme, you will get the opportunity to meet trainees, associates, solicitors and partners. The scheme will also help you to improve your legal knowledge and help you to gain a better understanding of your career path. 

The structure of the vacation scheme will differ depending on the firm. However, generally speaking, you will get a supervisor and will gain experience within different practice areas

Benefits of completing a vac scheme 

Some law firms use vacation schemes to identify candidates for their training contracts. This means securing a vacation scheme can significantly boost your chances of getting a training contract at a top law firm.

Several firms offer vacation schemes these includes (but are not limited to): Allen & Overy, Dentons, Eversheds Sutherland, Shearman & Sterling, Trowers & Hamlins, Mills & Reeve and Penningtons Manches. 

Tip: apply for vacation schemes as early as possible as they are extremely competitive and many places are filled on a rolling basis. 

As a part of the application process for vac schemes, you may need to attend a one-to-one or a panel interview. Here at Graduate Coach, we provide interview coaching for students, graduates and career changers. Find out how we can help you to nail your vac scheme interview with our interview coaching

5. Apply for mini-pupilages 

Mini pupilages are short work experience placements for aspiring Barristers. They are designed to give you a taste of the Bar. 

Mini pupillage applications are usually open for second or final year undergraduates. However, it may be possible to get a mini-pupillage placement in your first year of university. 

Applicants tend to be current law students. Non-law students may have to wait until they are doing their GDL. 

The mini-pupillage application process

To apply for mini-pupillages, you will need to send a copy of your CV and cover letter to each of the chambers you are applying to. Some applications will require you to complete an online application form. 

Here is a handy list of Barrister’s chambers that offer mini-pupillages

6. Do some marshalling 

Marshalling is another way of gaining law work experience.

It involves shadowing a judge. Marshalling experiences typically last between one day and a week. This experience will give you a birds-eye view of the legal system. 

It is a good idea to marshal a judge if you aspire to the Bar. Whilst marshalling is not a substitute for completing a mini-pupillage, it will complement any mini-pupilage experiences you get. Marshalling experience will also stand out on your CV. 

How to gain marshalling experience 

  • Contact your Inn of Court or your local Crown or county court 
  • Send out speculative applications to judges explaining why you would like to marshal them 
  • Ask contacts within your network 

7. Take part in debates and mooting 

Most universities host debating and mooting competitions for students interested in pursuing a legal career. Find out if your university hosts these opportunities and get involved with them. 

Mooting involves presenting a legal issue or problem against an opposing counsel and before a judge. Mooting is often mistaken for a mock trial. However, it differs from a mock trial as it assumes that the evidence has already been tested. Mooting places more emphasis on practising the ability to argue the question of law. 

If you are studying a for an LLB law degree, you will probably be presented with the opportunity to gain mooting experience as a part of your course. 

Moots involve:

  • Conducting legal research 
  • Preparing written submissions 
  • Delivering an oral presentation  

It is a good idea to get involved with mooting opportunities because getting into the legal profession is very competitive and recruiters will be interested in seeing any evidence of advocacy or mooting experience.  

8. Visiting a court

Regardless of whether you want to become a Solicitor or Barrister understanding of how courts operate is important. It’s a good idea to visit a court to gain valuable insights. 

You can sit in on real cases to see legal professionals in action. Gaining this experience can help you to make informed career decisions and work out what area of law you would like to pursue. 

Spending some time in court can help you to decide whether to practice in a contentious or non-contentious area of law. 

Even if you are sure that you would like to become a solicitor visiting a court is useful. Some law firms take their trainees to the High Court to help them to gain a deeper understanding of how their work impacts what happens in court.  

Tips for visiting a court to gain legal work experience 

  • Arrive a few hours before the case starts if it is a high profile case with lots of media coverage. 
  • Check the rules of the courtroom before you enter. At the Old Baily, for example, you are not allowed to bring anything electronic. 
  • Remember to bow to the crown when entering the courtroom and stand when the judge enters. 

9. Attend law insight days 

Insight days are also known as open days or workshops. 

These events are held at law firms and usually involves shadowing, a guided tour of the office, group exercises and talks from partners and the recruitment team. 

Attending insight days will help you to decide which law firms you would like to apply for. 

It is a really good idea to attend legal insight days because some firms use them to screen applications for their vacation schemes and training contracts. 

Here is a list of open day dates and their application deadlines

10. Join law societies

If you are currently studying at university, it is a good idea to join the law society. Being a member of the law society will present opportunities to network with other aspiring legal professionals and to meet legal recruiters. 

University law societies host events and talks to give students a deeper understanding of legal careers. 

You can also gain valuable skills from helping to run the law society at your university. 

If you are a member of an unrepresented group and wish to become a solicitor, you can join Aspiring Solicitors. Aspiring Solicitors work with law firms to provide events, mentoring, commercial awareness competitions and employability assistance.  

11. Get a legal research position 

Various institutions such as universities and governmental bodies require people with legal knowledge. 

Look out for legal research job opportunities. This role would help you to develop your legal research skills as well as providing some law-related work experience. 

Legal Work Experience

12. Complete a Legal virtual internship 

The last of our legal work experience ideas is to do a virtual legal internship.

A few of the leading law firms have collaborated with InsideSherpa to provide virtual law internships and experience programmes. 

Some of the companies offering these experiences include:

  • Latham & Watkins 
  • White & Case 
  • Pinsent Masons 
  • King & Wood Mallesons  
  • Baker McKenzie 

These virtual work experience placements are free and take around 6 hours to complete. 

Don’t dismiss non-law related work experience 

We hope you implement the above legal work experience ideas.

Remember, both law and non-law work experiences are really important. Gaining a wide range of experiences will help you to develop your commercial awareness skills. If you will be applying for commercial law firms, recruiters will be interested in your commercial awareness skills. 

Work experience is important because it will help you to gain and develop employability skills. 

Legal work experience ideas: summary 

We hope this post has given you some new legal work experience ideas

Here at Graduate Coach, we have helped aspiring lawyers to enter the legal profession. Visit our one-to-one career coaching service. 

When to Start Looking for Graduate Jobs

Ideally, you’ll want to have a graduate job lined up and waiting for you when you finish university. However, this is not the reality for many graduates. Knowing when to start looking for graduate jobs is vital. 

This post will cover when you should start looking and applying for graduate jobs to give yourself the best chances of success.

It is never too early to start looking for graduate jobs

Your graduate job search can start as early as your first year of university. 

Graduate employers build talent pipelines. These are comprised first, second and final year students. 

Candidates who are a part of a company’s talent pipeline increase their chances of getting a graduate job

How to become a part of a company’s talent pipeline? 

You can become a part of different companies talent pipelines by:

  • Attending networking events and insight days
  • Attending graduate careers fairs 
  • Applying for internships, spring weeks and vacation schemes 

If you attend an insight day at a company that you are interested in, during your first year of university, you will gain an advantage when it comes to applying for a summer internship in your second year. Getting a summer internship will increase your chance of getting a graduate job at the company. 

When to Start Looking for Graduate Jobs

When to start applying for jobs before graduation 

To get a graduate job before you graduate you need to actively seek opportunities to gain as much experience and exposure as possible.  

  • First-year students – During your first year of university lookout for opportunities to attend networking events and insight days.

  • Second-year students – In your second year, look for structured summer internships, vacation schemes, spring weeks and placement year opportunities.

  • Final year students – In your last year of university, you can start sending job applications for graduate schemes before graduation. The main application window is between September and January. You can also apply for graduate jobs. These opportunities are open all year round.

As well as seeking out these opportunities, it is important that you do the following: 

  • Practice psychometric tests 
  • Look for short-term work experience placements and shadowing opportunities 
  • Improve your interview technique 
  • Understand what you will need to demonstrate at assessment centres 
  • Research the graduate recruitment process
  • Write achievement-based CVs and cover letters
  • Keep your social media profiles professional  

The above is really important if you want to start applying for jobs before graduation. 

Why it is important to apply for graduate jobs and schemes early 

All companies have different application processes for students and graduates. 

However, most graduate recruiters hire on a rolling basis meaning they make offers to suitable candidates on a first-come basis.  

When to start applying for jobs if you have already graduated 

What should you do if you haven’t secured an opportunity and you have already graduated?

Check out our post on what to do after graduation from university

If you would like to join a graduate scheme you may need to wait until the next graduate scheme application window which is between September and January. Graduate scheme start dates are usually between July and October of the following year. 

In the meantime, you could apply for graduate jobs which take applications all year round. 

To gain a deeper understanding of the difference between graduate schemes and graduate jobs read our post called “what is a graduate scheme”. 

What types of graduate jobs to look for 

Your job hunt can be extremely difficult, especially if you don’t know what you are looking for. 

If you are unsure of what graduate career is right for you, get yourself a copy of The Student Book, 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. Here are some other books for graduates who want to excel in their career. 

We also offer a six-stage one-to-one coaching programme to help students and graduates to discover their career path and get the right graduate-level job.  

When to Start Looking for Graduate Jobs: Summary 

When it comes to looking for graduate jobs, time is of the essence. If you are at university, start looking as soon as possible if you want to secure a job before graduating. 

Whilst you are at university there will be several opportunities to network with potential employers. It is a good idea to take advantage of these opportunities. 

If you have already graduated, all is not lost. You can still apply for graduate schemes starting the following year. You will also be able to start applying for graduate jobs that recruit all year round.

Dressed for success: 3 ways to look more professional in your new job

Being dressed for success is a simple enough concept, but it can have a big impact on how successful you are in your new career. In this article, Rachel Clinkard of iconic British footwear retailer Charles Clinkard shares her top tips for looking as professional as possible right out of the gate.

After getting a degree, perfecting your CV, nailing your interview, and finally receiving that dream job offer, you may feel like the hard work is over.

But the impressions that you make when you start your new graduate role can have a big impact on how you are perceived by your peers and superiors — and can even influence how quickly you can progress in your career.

By conducting yourself professionally, including looking the part, you may find you have a better relationship with your clients and co-workers, as you’ll come across as more capable and trustworthy. As a result, you could even be more likely to be considered for promotion. 

It’s possible you’ve never had to dress professionally before, or maybe you want to know how you can improve your wardrobe and start getting taken seriously. Below, I’ll be taking you through three key ways you can look more professional in your new graduate job, so your hard work doesn’t go unnoticed.

Here’s how you can ensure that you are dressed for success at your next interview or your new job.

Consider the company’s dress code

In the last decade or so, many workplaces have chosen to embrace casual dress codes as they can increase productivity and even communication amongst staff, particularly in digital or marketing companies.

Despite this, it’s worth investing in a well-fitting suit, pantsuit, or skirt suit anyway. They help you make a positive impact at interviews, give you presence during important meetings, and come in handy anywhere you want to make a solid first impression.

Plus, you can mix-and-match the individual pieces with more casual items of clothing to produce lots of different smart-casual looks.

You will need plenty of suits and formal options if you work in business or finance, as these industries are more rigid and traditional when it comes to dress codes.

To make sure you get it right, you should ask about your new employer’s policy during the interviewing stage or email your point of contact if you’ve already secured the position.

Alternatively, it’s easy enough to research the company and check their social media accounts to get an idea of their culture and how formal you should go.

Focus on your shoes

Many graduates make the mistake of focussing too much on their clothing and forgetting about their shoes.

Getting your shoe choice right is a crucial factor when it comes to ensuring that you are dressed for success.

‘You can tell a lot about a person by their shoes’ is an adage for a reason: people do tend to notice your footwear within the first few seconds of you meeting them, and they can even make assumptions about your personality based on the style and condition of the shoes you’ve chosen to wear.

To make sure you’re coming across as professional, stick to leather shoes rather than suede, canvas, or other materials.

Which colour leather to go for depends on the tone of your outfit and your personal taste, but they should be clean, free of scuffs and scrapes, and polished. Dress shoes and brogues are the most formal and appropriate, but modern workwear also considers loafers to be a wardrobe staple for professionals.

Ladies, don’t feel like you have to wear heels to look the part. People will respond much better if you look comfortable as well as professional, so stick to some stylish flats if that’s what you prefer.

The finishing touches

Attention to detail is the key to elevating a work outfit from basic to professional.

It’s also a great way to get across your personality, which is very important if you want to make a lasting impression, forge strong business relationships, and rise quickly through the ranks of your chosen career.

Ties, pocket squares, and even your socks can be used to add pops of colour to your look, and accessories such as cufflinks, tie pins and your style of reading glasses can be used to give your whole outfit polish.

Most importantly, your workwear should always be clean. That includes ironing, pressing, and hanging up your clothes to keep them free of creases.

Even a very expensive tailored suit will look shabby if it’s crumpled; conversely, a t-shirt or a pair of jeans could be smart enough to wear to a casual workplace if they look crisp and neat.

Making a good impression is crucial during the early stages of your career.

By following the tips in this guide, you can be confident that you look the part in your new role. 

Thanks for taking the time to read this post on how to ensure that you are dressed for success for your next interview or graduate job.

If you’re a graduate and are about to embark on your graduate career, check out The Graduate Book. It contains everything you need to know to do really well at work.

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 is a graduate scheme? [Everything you need to know]

If you are currently at university or if you’ve recently graduated, you’ve probably been thinking about what your next steps are.

Over the past decade, we have helped over 500 students and graduates to secure places on highly competitive graduate schemes.

This post will explain what a graduate scheme is, what the benefits are, how to apply for them and more.

If you have any questions that we have missed, or if you’d like help securing a graduate scheme, get in touch with us.

What is a graduate scheme? 

In short, a graduate scheme is a structured training program that is specifically designed for graduates who are in the early stages of their careers.

How long does a graduate scheme last?

Graduate schemes vary in duration however they typically last between 1 and 4 years. 

What are the benefits of doing a graduate scheme?

The benefits that you will gain from a graduate scheme will vary depending on the company. Generally, graduate schemes will come with a competitive salary, a clear career path, resources for training and development and more.

Graduate schemes give graduates the opportunity to gain hands-on experience and take responsibility right from the start. 

Some graduate schemes operate on a rotational basis where graduates will gain experience across a range of departments within the company. This provides graduates with broad experience and a deeper understanding of how the company operates. 

The rotational element of graduate schemes can provide a great entry-level job for graduates who aren’t sure of what they would like to specialise in. 

What is the difference between a graduate scheme and a graduate job?

Here are the main differences between a graduate scheme and a graduate job:
Graduate schemes last for a certain period of time depending on the role and the company. After the graduate scheme has come to an end, you may or may not be offered a job within the company. 

Also, graduate schemes tend to be more structured than graduate jobs. They’ll have a structured training program and may include several rotations. 

Usually, larger companies with large graduate recruitment budgets run graduate schemes. Graduate jobs tend to be less advertised, so can be harder to find. Therefore, if you are looking for a graduate job, it is important that you conduct thorough research and be sure to network.

Which industries offer graduate schemes?

Companies from a wide range of industries offer graduate schemes including:

  • Accounting and professional services
  • Armed forces
  • Banking and finance
  • Charity
  • Chemistry and pharmaceuticals
  • Consulting
  • Consumer goods
  • Engineering
  • Human Resources (HR)
  • IT
  • Law
  • Media
  • Property
  • Public sector

Are graduate schemes paid?

All graduated recruited into a graduate scheme will be paid a salary. The salary will vary largely depending on the role, company and industry. Alongside the salary, the company will invest in your training and development.

How much do graduate schemes pay?

Generally, companies in the investment banking and legal sectors offer graduates the highest starting salary.

Target jobs have put together a comprehensive list of the median starting salaries for graduates across different business sectors. 

It is important to not base your decision solely on salary but on what your skills and interests are aligned to. 

When should I apply for graduate schemes? 

You can start applying for graduate schemes when you are in your final year of university or if you have already graduated.

If you have already graduate graduated, check out our post entitled: “Am I too old for graduate schemes“.

Generally, Graduate scheme applications open between September and February.

However, this will depend on the company. A few companies open their graduate applications from as early as august and others have theirs open after February. Some companies have rolling recruitment.

Regardless of the deadlines, it’s a good idea to apply as early as possible as places on graduate schemes are highly competitive. 

Here’s a video on Shell’s graduate scheme application process:

What should I do if I miss the deadline to apply for graduate schemes? 

If you are really interested in a particular company or industry, but you’ve missed the deadline, generally, you can apply the following year. 

In the meantime, it is a good idea to gain work experience in the form of taking a different graduate job, or doing internships. Doing so will help to strengthen your application. 

Are graduate schemes just for recent graduates? 

Some graduate recruiters specifically state that their schemes are designed for candidates who have graduated within the past year for example. 

However, many of the graduate schemes are open to all candidates with a degree. 

It is a misconception that you’ve missed the boat if you aren’t successful in getting a graduate scheme in your final year of university.

You can generally apply (or reapply) for graduate schemes once you have graduated.

If you are unsure about your suitability for a graduate scheme, speak to the graduate recruitment team for the company you are interested in. 

What are the entry requirements for graduate schemes? 

Typically, graduate recruiters ask for a minimum of a 2:1 degree. 

However, it is important to note that the entry requirements will vary depending on the company.

As well as asking for a certain degree classification, some graduate schemes require a specific degree. For example, some technical roles require a degree in a STEM-related subject. 

However, for a large number of graduate roles, a degree in a specific field isn’t required. For example, for graduate programs in law, investment banking and accounting you do not need a specific degree. 

This is because you’ll be supported to undertake training and professional qualifications on the job. 

Can I apply for graduate schemes if I got a 2:2 in my degree? 

Yes, there are a number of graduate schemes that do not have a 2:1 as a minimum requirement.

For example, the civil service and Tescos have a minimum requirement of a 2:2 classification. 

If you faced extenuating circumstances during your degree which resulted in you not achieving your academic potential, speak to the graduate recruitment team. 

Can I apply for a grad scheme if I’m an international student? 

International students can apply for a tier 2 visa.

A tier 2 visa allows a registered company to employ an international student in the UK for up to 5 years.

International students must secure employment before your tier 4 visa runs out.

If you are an international student hoping to secure work in the UK after your degree, get in touch with us as we may be able to give you some advice.

Do my A-level grades matter?

Some companies ask for specific A-levels or a certain number of UCAS points.

If there is an A-level requirement, it will ask for your top three A-levels completed within your first sitting. 

However, in recent years some companies have decided to drop their A-level requirements.

If you experienced extenuating circumstances during your A-levels, be sure to contact the graduate recruitment teams at the companies you are interested in applying to. 

What is the application process for graduate schemes like?

Generally, most graduate scheme applications follow this process:

Online application

The online application may require you to fill out your basic information and upload your CV and cover letter. Some companies will ask some questions to assess your motivations.

Online tests

Some graduate schemes ask candidates to complete online tests. These are traditionally psychometric tests however recently some companies have introduced Pymetric tests. 

Digital/video interview

Graduate recruiters are increasingly using video interviews as a part of their application process. 

There are two main types of video interviews: live video interviews and recorded video interviews.

Assessment centre

Assessment centres are usually held at the final stage of the application process. The candidates who are successful at this stage will be offered a place on the graduate scheme.

At an assessment centre, you can be expected to take part in group exercises and face-to-face interviews. 

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

What happens if you decide that you don’t want to work there?

That’s fine, you won’t be obligated to take a job offer after the end of the graduate training scheme. 

Can Graduate Coach help me to get a graduate scheme?

Yes! We have helped over 500 final year students and graduates to get places on graduate schemes.

We have helped our coaching candidates to get into PwC, Deloitte, Facebook,  Google, Amazon, Goldmann Sachs, JP Morgan, Network Rail and many more. Find out more about our successes here.

As well as helping many graduates to secure places at the large companies above, we have also helped several grads to get jobs within smaller companies

We have created several resources designed to help graduates to get a grad scheme. These include:

Two published books: The Student Book and The Graduate Book
Online courses, for example, our Nail that interview course
One-to-one coaching programmeInterview training

Depression after university [beat the graduate blues]

Experiencing depression after university is a lot more common than you may think. So if you are suffering from post-university depression you are not alone and help is available. 

You’re not alone         

If you’ve got a case of graduate blues, it is important to know that you are not alone. 

Many other graduates are in the same boat as you. 

In fact, there’s an interesting post on the BBC news site entitled “graduates ‘need mental health support’”.

The article features a recent graduate who experienced a low period after graduating, moving back home and struggling to find a job after university

Cosmopolitan has also written a post on post-university depression where they feature a graduate reporting similar feelings. She graduate explains going from feeling elated about earning her degree to being abruptly thrown into the real world. 

Why are you feeling this way 

Here are three reasons why you might be experiencing depression after university: 

  • Adapting to change can be uncomfortable
  • The fear of the unknown is making you feel down
  • Your friends seem to have it all together

Let’s delve into each of these reasons a bit more.

Dealing with change after university

Everyone adapts to change differently. 

Finishing your degree and moving back home is a huge change. 

For the past 3-4 years of your life, you’ve been following a timetable, hanging out with uni friends and in a way living in the student bubble. 

Once you’ve celebrated your graduation and settled into adulthood, it will be time to enter the working world and start your graduate career. 

Fearing the unknown after university

Leaving university presents a big question – what will you do next? Many graduates report feeling lost after graduation.

Not knowing what your next steps are, and feeling the pressure of earning money can make some graduates feel down. 

Up until now, education has provided structure, routine and security. You knew exactly what was expected of you and what you needed to do in order to succeed.

Essentially, it became your comfort zone and now you that have vanished. 

If you need help figuring out your next steps after university, check out our graduate coaching programme.

Comparing yourself to your friends 

In this social media age, it is difficult to not start comparing your life to the life others present on social media. 

If it seems as though all of your friends are thriving in great graduate jobs and having a good time whilst you are at home desperately filling out job applications it can make you feel down. 

But it is important to put this into perspective and stay focused on your own journey. 

What help is available for graduates experiencing depression after university? 

Depression can be classified as being mild, moderate or severe. 

First of all, if you are worried about your mental health and are struggling, get help. 

Your GP will be able to advise you on your treatment options. You can also find out more about clinical depression on the NHS website.  

What can I do to improve my mood? 

There are quite a few different things that you can do to lift your mood. 

Stay active 

beat depression after university

If you have moved back home and you haven’t yet started working, don’t just sit at home watching the days go by. 

Make a habit of going out for a walk or going to the gym to stay active. 

Exercise has been shown to help people who are struggling with depression. Many people report that exercise helps them to feel good.

If you are suffering from post-graduation blues, get active. You could join your local gym, jog around your area or even do gentle exercises at home.

Maintain your social life 

It was a see you later, not goodbye when you parted ways with your university friends!

A lot of students make lifelong friends during their time at university. 

Now that you have left university, it is important not to isolate yourself. 
Be sure to spend time with family, friends and your support network.

Even though you may have very different schedules to your friends, schedule in some time to meet up and do something that you enjoy. 

Get help with securing the right graduate job for you. 

Not knowing what career path is right for you after university can be distressing. 

Applying for job after job with no success can be discouraging. 

Continually failing interviews can have a negative impact on your confidence and self-esteem. 

If you are experiencing any of the above, it’s time to get some help. 

Here at Graduate Coach, we help students and recent graduates to secure their dream jobs. 

We’ve helped hundreds of graduates who have experienced feeling down after university due to not being able to find a job.

We have also helped graduates who finished uni years ago and have been underemployed in jobs that did not require a degree. We also help graduates who have found themselves being unemployed after uni.

We offer a wide range of services including: 

  • Online courses
  • Books
  • One-to-one coaching
  • Interview coaching

We also have a wide range of resources that have been designed to help students, graduates and career changers. 

Can your university help? 

In 2017 the student mental health charity, Student Minds distributed a press release stating that universities could do more to prepare students for the transition out of university. 

With that said, as alumni, your university might be able to help you.

Universities have resources for helping people with a wide range of mental health issues.

It is worth finding out more about the alumni services and network at your university.

Depression after university: summary

The transition from education to employment can be easy for some and extremely difficult for others. 

If you find that you are experiencing a mild bout of depression after university, try some of the self-help tips in this post. 

If you are particularly concerned about your mental health, visit your GP who will be able to advise you. 

Help is available and you don’t need to go through this alone. 

Remember to get in touch with us if you are struggling with your graduate job hunt!

We’ll help you to transition from education to the world of work successfully.

1 year after graduation no job – What should I do?

So you graduated a year ago, and despite sending out several applications, you haven’t been able to secure yourself a graduate job. 

In this post, we’ll share some advice on what you can do if you have no job 1 year after graduation. 

 Don’t panic – help is available

If it’s been one year since you graduated and you haven’t found a job yet it can feel pretty disheartening. 

After all, you invested a lot of time and money into getting your degree. 

First of all, if you are in this situation, don’t worry. You haven’t missed the boat. 

You can still land your dream graduate job.  

It can be easy to compare yourself to your friends, especially if they all seem to be in great jobs. However, it is important to not compare yourself and focus on your own journey. 

This will be the main focus of this blog post – helping you to get on the career path that is right for you. 

Here at Graduate Coach, we have helped hundreds of graduates that come to us 1 year after graduation with no job. So if you need some help and personalised career guidance, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. 

Reflect on what you have done so far

Point number 1 is important because we see graduates who get themselves in a panic and start applying for any job vacancies they find. 

This is a poor strategy for finding a job because graduate recruiters are trained to spot genuine motivation. 

If you are just applying to get yourself a job so that you can start earning money, the interviewer will be able to tell. 

So if you have been “panic applying” stop. 

Take some time to reflect on the past year since you graduated and your time at university. 

The whole point of reflecting is to get you thinking about your interests and skills so that you can start to narrow down your job search. 

On a piece of paper or in a word document, write down all of your non-academic experiences These will help you to stand out from other candidates. 

Did you play an instrument? Take part in a sport? Run a society? Gain work experience? Volunteer? 

If so, these are all excellent accomplishments!

Write down the skills you gained from these activities. 

Also, think about what you enjoyed doing most during your time at university. 

Did you love working on group assignments? Or did you enjoy working with numbers? Perhaps you really liked carrying out research your essays? 

Have you developed any new interests in the past few years? Perhaps you are passionate about technology, or leadership. 

Write down anything you think of as this will come in handy in the next steps of this post. 

Complete a skills audit

A skills audit is an assessment of the skills that you currently have. 

Even if you don’t know what you want to do yet, doing a skills audit will prove to be beneficial. This is because regardless of the graduate job you apply for, all recruiters will look for the following 6 key skills in graduates: 

  1. Communication
  2. Team Work
  3. Organising and planning
  4. Problem-solving
  5. Professionalism
  6. Working on your own initiative 

Using the examples you listed in step 2, for each of the above skills write down an example of how you can demonstrate that you have those skills. 

Remember, even if you don’t have a large volume of work experience, you’ll still be able to complete this task. You can draw upon your non-academic experience. 

Get into the habit of answering your questions in a STAR format. 

STAR is an acronym for:

  • Situation 
  • Task
  • Action
  • Result 

It is a way of concisely articulating your competencies. 

The reason why we advise you to get into the habit of using the STAR method from now is that it will come in very handy in your interviews. 

Think of it this way, if you are asked in an interview to tell me about a time where you had to work as part of a team, (Which is a skill that all graduate recruiters will look for)  you’ll have a concise, powerful answer ready that you won’t need to memorise. 

Identify the problem

Now that you have spent some time thinking about your skills, non-academic experiences and your interests it is time to work out what is holding you back. 

When graduates come to us 1 year after graduation with no job, there tends to be four main things holding them back. 

  • They haven’t got a clue about what to do after university.
  • They’ve been sending out several applications but not progressing to the interview stage.
  • They keep failing during the interview stage.
  • After 1 year of job searching, they have started to lose confidence or self-esteem

Identify what it is that is holding you back then work towards the solutions. 

Don’t know what to do after university

Some graduates remain unemployed for a year after graduation because they are confused about their career path.

If you haven’t got a clue about what to do, read our post on CV-Library about how to discover your career path after university

There are a lot of different graduate job titles so it can be really confusing if you do not know what to do. 

That’s why it is important to understand what your career typology is because that will narrow down your search. 

There are three career typologies for graduates:

Specialists – these graduates are hired for their specialist knowledge in a subject such as Doctors, nurses or pharmacists. 

Knowledge Architects – these graduates are hired for their ability to analyse data and draw valuable insights from it. Examples of graduate job titles for knowledge architects are: consultants, finance, business analysts etc. 

Communicators – these graduates are hired for there ability to communicate important information and to develop and maintain profitable business relationships. Examples include sales, marketing and PR roles. 

Which one of these career typologies do you identify with most? 

Once you’ve identified this, you’ll be able to narrow down your job search significantly. 

Not getting any interviews

If you’ve been applying for several jobs but not getting any interviews, it’s time to revisit your CV.

Your CV needs to convince employers that you have what it takes to excel in the role you’ve applied for. 

Therefore, it is important that you tailor your CV to every application. 

Your CV is not one size fits all. 

Writing your first graduate CV can be difficult. 

However, based on what you have learnt so far in this blog post, you’ll be able to write an achievement-based CV. 

You must highlight the skills that you have gained from your work experience or non-academic experiences.  

It is a good idea to refer to the job description listed on the job vacancy to see what skills are required and then demonstrating that you have those specific skills on your CV. 

To find out more about how to write an achievement-based CV, grab yourself a copy of The Student Book. 

In The Student Book we’ve got a section that is dedicated to writing an achievement-based CV. We have even included several examples of some excellent graduate CVs. 

Keep failing interviews

1 year after graduation no job

If you keep failing your interviews, you’ll need to brush up on your interview skills. 

Don’t be too hard on yourself if you have been failing your interviews. 

Performing highly in interviews is an art and a science. 

There are some basic tips and tricks that you should know if you want to perform highly in interviews. 

In addition to what you need to know about interviews, in order to get really good at interviews, you must practise. 

Here at Graduate Coach, we have condensed all of our expertise and learnings gained over the past 10 years to create our Nail That Interview course

You can access the introduction and module 1 of the course for free. 

Confidence level has dipped

If it’s been 1 year after graduation and you still haven’t been able to find a job, it could have started to take a toll on your confidence. 

If it has, it’s important to keep building it back up as confidence plays a vital role in helping you to get a job. 

If you are not confident in yourself, why should the employer be confident in you? 

If you have lost your confidence from continually being rejected from jobs, you might want to consider getting some one-to-one career coaching with an experienced graduate coach. 

1 year after graduation no job – Summary 

We hope that you have found this post on what to do if you are still looking for a job one year after university helpful. 

Remember, you haven’t missed the boat and you can still land your dream graduate job. 

Whilst it may have been a difficult year, you will have had the time to think about the type of graduate job that is right for you. 

If you’ve been unemployed for a year after graduation, get in touch with us.

How to get a graduate job with no experience

So, you’ve bagged yourself a degree, and now you want to land yourself a graduate job. The only thing is, you have no experience. Don’t worry, because in this post, we will tell you how to get a graduate job with no experience.

1: Reflect on your time at university 

You may actually have a lot more experience than you think!

Perhaps you feel as though you do not have any relevant work experience to the types of graduate job that you’d like to apply for.

However, you will have gained some transferable skills from taking part in other activities that will be valuable to employers.

Here are some activities you may have taken part in during your time at university:

  • Work shadowing

some universities have work shadowing schemes that allow students to shadow members of staff in different departments or arrange for students to take part in work shadowing experiences with local businesses. Maybe you arranged to shadow a professional in a work environment.

  • Volunteering

have you taken part in any volunteering activities at, or outside of university? Volunteering can help you to develop a wide variety of skills.

Furthermore, as you start your job search you may realise that a lot of the companies that you are interested in may encourage employees to volunteer for a few days every year. If a company has a culture that promotes giving back to the local community, your volunteering experience may be impressive to potential employers.

  • Leadership roles within university societies

Have you held any leadership positions within a society at your university?

It can be extremely difficult to balance running a society with your academics. Doing so requires time management and organisational skills which are relevant skills to all graduate roles.

Even if you wasn’t the president or vice president of a society, any role you took that helped to run the society will be relevant.

  • Sports

There are lots of opportunities to take part in sports at university.

Most sports require developing teamwork skills which will be relevant for all graduate jobs or graduate schemes that you apply for.

  • Maintaining a part-time job

Did you have a part-time job whilst you were studying? if so, you will have gained relevant experiences that will prove to be valuable for your graduate position.

  • Course-related experiences

University courses are designed to help students to develop skills that will be useful for the workplace.

Your course probably required you to take part in group assignments, presentations, essays and reports and more.

If you took part in an activity as part of your course that helped you to develop some specific skills, that can also count as experience.

Key takeaway

Don’t dismiss any previous experience that you have gained just because you may feel that it is not relevant.

Recruiters will understand that for their graduate and entry-level positions, candidates may not have a lot of experience that is directly related to the role. However, they will be interested in what skills you have gained and developed from the experiences you do have.

Remember, your unique combination of experiences is what makes you stand out from the crowd!

Conduct a Skills Audit

Now that you have reflected on your time at university, it’s time to conduct a skills audit.

Write down all of the skills that you have gained from the activities you took part in during university.

No matter what types of graduate jobs you apply for, all graduate recruiters will look for the following 6 skills:

  • Communication
  • Teamwork
  • Organisation and planning
  • Problem-solving
  • Professionalism
  • Using your own initiative

For each of the skills listed above, draw upon the experiences gained at university to demonstrate that you have those skills.

This exercise will be helpful when it comes to filling out job applications and preparing for interviews.

After conducting an audit of your skills, identify what your career typology is.

All graduate jobs can be categorised into three groups:

  • Communicators
  • Knowledge architects
  • Specialists

Check out our post on CV-Library called How to discover your career path for more information on career typologies and identifying which of the three career typologies you belong to.

Once you have identified your career typology, you’ll be able to easily create a shortlist of jobs with job descriptions suited to your skills and interests.

Key takeaway

Employers will be looking for evidence that graduates are able to solve problems, communicate, work as a team organise themselves, act professional and use their own initiative. Even if you do not have any formal work experience, you should be able to demonstrate that you have those 6 key skills.

Improve your CV

Once you have a better understanding of your experiences, skills and career typology, you can start working on your CV.

By this point, it won’t be a case of writing a CV with no experience.

All of the activities that you listed in step one can all be added to your CV.

The key is to write an achievement-based CV.

We have put together a wide range of resources on how to write an achievement-based CV

There’s a whole section on it in The Student Book which contains everything you need to know to get the job you really want.

We also collaborated with Chris Pennington from Your CV Consultant which outlines 4 tips on writing a winning graduate CV.

Applications and interviews

Now that you have your CV ready and you have narrowed down a list of suitable careers, you can start sending your applications.

Whilst sending out your applications keep a spreadsheet containing a list of the companies you have applied to and any feedback that you get.

The application process for graduate jobs usually involves:

  • submitting an online form
  • completing online tests i.e psychometric tests
  • a telephone or video interview
  • an assessment centre with group tasks and a face to face interview

Graduate job interviews might seem daunting if you feel as though you haven’t got any work experience that is directly relevant to the role. However, as we discovered in step 1, you will have gained experiences during your time at university that employers will be very interested in.

Being able to perform highly in interviews is a lifelong skill.

Here at Graduate Coach, we have been helping students and graduates to prepare for interviews for over a decade now. We offer one to one interview coaching and we have an online interview course called Nail that interview.

Build and maintain your network

When it comes to knowing how to get a graduate job with “no experience” networking will come in very handy.

First of all, ensure that your social media profiles are fully optimised, especially your LinkedIn profile.

Keep an eye out for networking events hosted by the companies you are interested in. Also, find out if there are any upcoming graduate career fairs.

Attending career fairs will give you the opportunity to meet graduate recruiters in person.

Be sure to dress to impress and be able to confidently articulate who you are and what you are looking for.

How to get a graduate job with no experience

Get help

If you have read this post and are still unsure of how to get a graduate job with no experience, get in touch with us!

We are here to help!

We offer a wide range of services designed to help students, graduates and career changers to turn their degrees into careers.

So far our coaching and careers advice has helped over 500 people! Check out our successes!

How to get a graduate job with no experience: Summary

We hope you have found this post on how to get a graduate job with no experience valuable!

The chances are, even though you may feel as though you do not have any work experience, you probably have! Remember, at this stage in your career, it’s not necessarily about having a ton of highly relevant experience.

Graduate recruiters will be looking for the skills that you have gained from the experiences you do have. Even if these experiences have been gained from extracurricular activities.