7 places to find graduate schemes
Find out the best places to hunt down graduate scheme jobs both online and offline.
Let’s assume you’ve got the perfect CV, have decided on the career you want pursue and like the sound of a graduate scheme. But where on earth do you find the employers offering graduate schemes relevant to you?
One or two places may come straight to mind, but there are lots of resources out there which are less well known and can result in a few opportunities which could be perfect to kick-start your career.
Crucially, these hidden schemes can also have far less competition from other graduates precisely because of the way that you found them!
We’ve already covered some ways to find hidden jobs but in this guide we’ll cover graduate schemes in particular, as they are especially popular with grads.
Top places to find a graduate scheme
University careers services
One of the most underutilised free resources available to all university students is the careers service on their doorstep.
Whilst they do differ in size and usefulness, these guys are there to help you! Why? Because it’s also in their best interest that their alumni get placed into (good) jobs.
And just because you’ve graduated, it doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of university careers services! Check out their website to see what sort of information and advice they can offer, and then consider dropping in for a chat about your options.
Companies and employers will often approach universities with the details of their schemes as well as wider job vacancies, so being in direct contact with a careers adviser means that you could find out about new opportunities before everyone else.
Careers and job fairs
Your university careers service should put on at least one careers fair over the year, typically towards the end of the academic year but increasingly in the Autumn too.
Go to them! These fairs are a great opportunity to meet face to face with all the major graduate employers, and find out first hand more about what they are looking for and their specific application process.
Our top tip is to take along a stack of personal ‘business’ cards stapled to copies of your printed CV. It’s also important to have a notepad and jot down as much as you can when speaking to various employers. For more tips and suggestions read our guide on how to make the most of a careers fair.
An added bonus is that you’ll most likely come away from the fair with lots and lots of reading material you can digest later and maybe even a few freebies 🙂
Graduate job websites
Perhaps the obvious and easiest place to start for most job hunting graduates is on the Internet. Job sites are highly accessible, up-to-date and usually pretty easy to use. Most of them also now list graduate training schemes for companies of all shapes and sizes.
However! This also means that these sites attract lots and lots of students and graduates, so the competition for most of the schemes or jobs advertised will be huuuuuge!
You need to be smart… and stealthy. Be disciplined and target only the opportunities you really are interested in then work extra hard on the applications, otherwise you’ll soon realise you’re wasting your time.
With this in mind, here are some worthwhile graduate job sites worth checking in on:
Save the Graduate
Surprised? I’m sure you are! We have good reason to include ourselves here, and that’s because we aim to aggregate the thousands of graduate opportunities in one place to make things easier for grads.
We do this through our graduate scheme search engine which crawls all major graduate job sites for you, and our special graduate scheme area which includes industry specific schemes, filterable employer profiles and of course a helpful list of application deadlines.
Graduate Recruitment Bureau
The Graduate Recruitment Bureau is more than just a jobs board. These guys are more interested than most in placing graduates into the right jobs, matchmaking the perfect candidate and employer.
By going beyond just advertising jobs, GRB will guide you through the whole process, from getting your CV in order to writing a killer application and nailing the interview stages.
And because the employer covers the recruitment costs, it’s all free for you.
Prospects is the most popular place to start your career search. They are a part of the Higher Education Careers Services Unit and publish information about the latest graduate schemes.
Prospects tend to work closely with many of the UK’s university careers services, but they are not an official source or academic institution in themselves.
You might already know about Milkround, as they organise events at many universities throughout the UK and are now a mainstay at freshers’ and careers fairs.
Their website is simple to use and lists the details of graduate schemes in plenty of career sectors, from teaching to bioinformatics, so it’s a good place to start looking for jobs in your field.
Targetjobs are a well known graduate jobs site who, similarly to Milkround, run a lot of on-campus activity.
They also print helpful publications alongside their website which offer a whole range of graduate scheme opportunities from most of the top employers in the UK.
Don’t always assume that employers and recruiters will come looking for you! Applications for graduate schemes are at an all-time high, so many companies don’t feel the need to spend much time and money on advertising.
To make sure you do find out about any opportunities, bookmark employer websites and social media channels. It’s here where most schemes will be announced before anywhere else.
Of course, keeping tabs on the company you really want to work for is a sure-fire way of going far in the application process because you understand their needs and culture.
Try searching for an employer in our graduate employer database if you want to find a link directly to their recruitment website.
LinkedIn is the Facebook of the professional world. If you’re not already using it, you could be missing out.
Once you’ve created and perfected your personal LinkedIn profile – which doubles up as an online CV – search for companies that you’re interested in working for and follow them.
You’ll receive their updates whenever you sign in or via email bulletins, which could include the details of their latest graduate schemes or other opportunities.
If social media is a route you’re keen to find out more about then save our handy guide (including LinkedIn tips) here for later reading.
Employed friends and family
Did you know that most job vacancies – many as 80% – are filled without any advertising outside of a company? Personal recommendations are often the preferred method of recruiting for employers.
This is because they involve no cost, little time spent searching and processing, and the new employee or candidate is backed by a virtual guarantee by the existing employee who has referred them for the job.
So when looking for any job yourself, whether something part-time or a longer-term career opportunity, start by looking around you and asking friends and family who are already employed within the kinds of companies you would like to work for.
Even if things aren’t as straightforward as being called in immediately as the sole interviewee, you can definitely pick up lots of inside info to help with your application!
Graduate scheme directories
Our very own and ever growing graduate scheme directory is a bookmark worthy resource as part of your hunt.
The directory includes profiles of countless companies which run graduate schemes, complete with company details and deadlines for applications. If you know that you’d like to be enrolled within a graduate scheme but you aren’t quite sure what’s available, this is one of the best places you can start!
Once you’ve got yourself organised and know where you should be looking, you can start thinking about how to really impress your potential employers. Plenty of tips in our careers advice section to get you going!
Do you have any secret tips or resources for finding out about the best graduate schemes?