Finding a Job

Finding a graduate job

Make your job search a whole lot easier with this useful guidance.

Hunting down a job when you graduate and getting your foot on the first rung of the career letter can sometimes feel harder than attempting to find the god particle.

The truth is that most students or graduates aren’t taught where to look for jobs at university and it’s no doubt an important skill to have.

Luckily, we’re experts in job finding and most of the Save the Graduate team have been in the same position as yourself when leaving uni so we got together and created this awesome (if we do say so ourselves) guide.

What are your options

confused studentIf you want a graduate specific role within a company, you have two main options: a graduate scheme or a graduate job.

Obviously it’s not as black and white but there is a difference between the two before you start searching for opportunities.

Graduate schemes

A lot of big companies offer graduate schemes. They usually involve working in a role while completing a structured programme including courses and sometimes even financially supported Masters level study.

You might also get to complete a professional qualification, such as the CIPD if you’re working in HR. They’ll generally last two or three years, and after that it’s expected that you’ll be ready for a senior position in the company.

Public sector organisations such as NHS and the Civil Service offer graduate schemes, as well as private organisations such as Marks and Spencer and IBM to give a few examples.

If you are more interested in graduate schemes than graduate level jobs then you might want to turn your attention to our guide on where to find graduate schemes.

Graduate level jobs

Graduate job offersIn many ways, there aren’t really many differences between graduate schemes and graduate jobs. They’re both a good option and most will involve meaningful and demanding work that will help you to kickstart your career.

But as a general rule, a graduate job won’t follow such a structured training programme as a scheme would. You’ll still be carrying out higher level work, but there might not be a specific path that you’re expected to take.

A lot of small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) offer graduate jobs. They may not have the resources to offer a graduate scheme, but they still want to tap into the graduate talent pool and bring in fresh ideas to the business.

Don’t let the size of the company put you off though – the smaller it is, the more likely you are to get involved with varied work and get to make a big difference in the company.

Where to find the graduate jobs

The good news is that despite the recent recession and fall in graduate employment, there are still plenty of opportunities available. It’s just about knowing where to look!

Graduate Sites

Sites like the Graduate Recruitment Bureau should be top of your list. They’re a trusted resource in the industry and provide regular updates on who’s recruiting and when.

Other sites that advertise graduate jobs include:

Employers’ websites and social media accounts

Going direct is one of the most effective ways to get a graduate job. If there’s a particular business that you want to work for, make sure you regularly check their websites and social media accounts for any announcements about when they’ll be recruiting.

Try and apply as soon as possible for these roles as opposed to leaving it until the last minute. If you are unsure of the graduate jobs that they offer just email or ring up and ask.

We have more in-depth info on using social media to get a job here too.

University Careers Service

Your university careers service is excellent for finding graduate jobs, especially in the local area.

Talk to a careers adviser and they will not only help you find the job but also update your CV and prepare for your interview.

Recruitment agencies

Recruitment AgentThere are hundreds of recruitment agencies all over the country, and some of them, like GRB mentioned above, even specialise in finding jobs for graduates.

If you aren’t aware of how they work, recruitment agencies mostly get paid when they place someone into a job so it is within their best interest to help you to get employed.

Careers Fairs

There should be loads of careers fairs for different disciplines on at your university throughout the year.

You need to do your best to attend these and look out for the jobs on offer. Not only will the businesses be there themselves but also a whole host of other companies that can help you land your dream job after graduating.

If you’re planning on going to one soon then our extra tips on careers fairs should help.

Job Websites

There are loads of general job websites out there that have graduate jobs listed on them and graduates sometimes tend to miss out on them.

Take advantage of adding your CV to sites like CVLibrary, Reed, Monster and Totaljobs on top of the graduate job sites mentioned above.

You can never have your CV in too many places!

Best of the rest

You can also look in a number of other places for graduate jobs including:

  • extra-advicenewspapers
  • friends and family
  • noticeboards
  • door knocking

Top tips for securing your graduate job

Now you know where to look you will need a few pointers on how to move from there. Here’s a few of the most important tips to remember while finding a graduate job.

Be proactive

If you really have your heart set on working for a specific business, don’t wait for them to tell you that they’re recruiting. Pick up the phone, ask to speak to the HR department and ask for any details around graduate jobs that they have available.

Being shy will get you nowhere, and a proactive approach will show your potential employer just how keen you are on working for them!

Make yourself stand out

get-heardThere are lots of graduates out there looking for graduate jobs. So if you want to stand out, you’ll need to do something special.

If you’re not in the job that you want to be in, make sure that you’re building your skills and getting involved with other activities that will help you to develop.

This could be part-time work, voluntary work, freelancing or anything else where you’ll need to show leadership.

If you are scared about quitting your job then find out how to make it easier on yourself here.

Practice your interview skills

If you do find the job you’ve been dreaming of, you’ll need to impress at the interview stage. The more preparation you have in this area, the better!

Start to make a list of popular interview questions and think about what your answers would be.

If there are a few that you think you’d struggle with, start to consider what you could do to ensure you have a good response.

Also, being the wonderful people that we are, we have written some extra advice on interviews including: a guide to interviews, 10 quick fire interview tips & examples questions and answers.

Plan ahead

Try to find out who’s recruiting and when. Even if it’s a few months before the application process opens, knowing that it’s coming up will help you to prepare and really think about how you can shine.

There’s nothing worse than discovering that an application process has closed, and you’d totally forgotten all about it!

With a bit of forward planning and a structured approach to the process, you’ll find that finding the best jobs doesn’t have to be overwhelming.

If you find that the methods above aren’t working for you then you can make your job search a little more advanced by using our 8 secret ways to get a graduate job.


Are you thinking about finding a graduate job? How are you getting on so far? We’d love to hear about your experiences!

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