Having now graduated, its time to take the next step in your career. Some years ago, the job you took on graduation was a job for life. Nowadays, things are different and career paths are more haphazard. The job you take on graduation is now just a stepping stone to the next. So you need a position which is flexible and does not tie you into one job within an organisation. Enter the graduate scheme option!
Usually offered through corporations, graduate schemes give the employee a taste of most of the different aspects of the business. This could be as varied as HR, finance, development, sales or marketing. The contracts are long-term and due to their versatility and career options, positions are in high demand. So how do you secure one of these valuable little gems?
Get Noticed Your application will need to stand out from the hundreds the employer will receive for each position. Research your potential employer and think about what key words they may be looking for. Have you had any work experience in their industry previously? If so, make sure it is prominent in your application. If you are not quite ready to make the application, perhaps offer your services for work experience for a couple of weeks. While there you could drop some heavy hints that you are wanting to apply for a graduate position. You also get to know the decision makers in the organisation.
Plan Ahead Have a look at our career planning tools to help you get a clear picture of your plans. Let your ambitions be known on the application form. Don't rely on standard, generic answers, but be as clear and concise as possible. This will also help at the interview stage.
Prepare Yourself Be aware of each stage of the selection process. Usually after the initial application, there will follow psychometric testing, telephone and/or face to face interview, and an assessment panel. Be prepared and professional for each stage. To state the obvious, have a pen and a spare, along with your notes relating to your application and the company, and spare paper to write more notes down.
Looking for Sponsorship?
Applying for a graduate scheme with a view to studying a PHD or Masters may well make you a desirable applicant. Sponsorship is often mutually beneficial for both company and individual. We've got a whole bunch of tips on getting company sponsorship .
Be Prepared to Move You should never indiscriminately apply for every graduate job you come across, as your applications are then at risk of becoming mundane and meaningless. Having said that, don't restrict yourself to your immediate area and expect the perfect graduate scheme to fall into your lap. Look nationwide, even worldwide for a scheme which suits you perfectly and be prepared to move when you get a place on it. Of course, things will be difficult financially at first, but with proper planning, moving to get the graduate scheme of your dreams is definitely achievable.
Graduate schemes are just the next stage in your career. They can be exciting and challenging. The company has invested significantly in your employment and is sure to want to see some results from you. You may find it disquieting to be moved around the different divisions at first, but essentially this experience will only serve to increase the depth of your knowledge, and also increase your worth both to this employer and to any future employers.
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