When Should Graduates Start Applying for Jobs?

10 June 2017

Sophie Chadwick

The daunting prospect of graduation is approaching quickly for students all over the country and many have questions regarding their future. There are a variety routes that a graduate can follow such as graduate schemes, jobs, work placements and internships – it is easy to see why there is confusion. The most common question that is asked regarding graduate recruitment is most likely: When should I start applying for jobs?


Am I Too Late?

If the idea of joining a large, competitive industry after graduation appeals to you then the September to January months are crucial for the application process. This particularly applies to graduate schemes, which usually take early applications as it can be a lengthy process; note that many schemes close as soon as they are full and so it is worth applying as early as possible.  The largest graduate employers tend to have year-round vacancies and students can apply to these employers at any point in the year. When starting your final year at university, prioritising your applications and being organised is key as it could potentially lead you to building your future career through a graduate scheme.

What About Graduate Jobs?

Not everyone is suited to a graduate scheme – in fact, graduate jobs, unlike graduate schemes, means you are immediately part of the company and usually take applications all year round. It is important to also remember the small and medium-sized enterprises (SME’s) . Missing the deadline for a highly-regarded graduate scheme may seem like a disaster, but there are SME’s, around 44,000 in the UK, that are more than willing to hire young graduates. Therefore, you can start applying from May onwards for these types of jobs.

The best steps to take before applying to a graduate job or summer internship is organise yourself: work out any exam schedules or holiday commitments beforehand. This way you are prepared if they ask in an interview and confident of the time you can start your potential new job. Employers tend to fill the positions within a month of advertising it, so it is up to the individual to be proactive and keep a look out for jobs related to their desired subject area. The best way to do this is to use your universities career websites, recruitment websites and social media; all the above can offer graduates an abundance of vacancies.

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