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Graduates

Graduate Jobs. There are jobs and prospects across multiple sectors (from finance, law, marketing and IT) that are open to graduates of any degree background – making it easy for you to start your ideal graduate career.

Graduate Prospects

Don’t panic! If you’re unsure what career you want when you graduate, there are many options out there for you to have your pick of. From a graduate job, to a graduate scheme and even internships, there are so many routes out there for you to take after university to fit your desired path. Organisations recognise the young talent in graduates which is why they have developed plenty of opportunities for people straight out of uni. Not only will these roles help you develop the soft skills that are highly sought after, but you will also gain industry specific skills that will aid you develop in your chosen career in the future.

There are prospects across multiple sectors (from finance, law, marketing and IT) that are open to graduates of any degree background – making it easy for you to start your ideal graduate career. In fact, the ISE (the Institute of Student Employers) even found that by the end of 2018 employers were recruiting 7% more graduates than the previous year.

Even if you believe your degree may not have any direct bearing on the roles you hope to apply to, many employers will recognise the practical, transferable skills you have gained whilst at university. Before applying to a graduate job, it is important to consider whether it is the right choice for you.

Some factors which may be important to consider are whether you know your career options, recognise your skills, and of course, know where to look for opportunities. No matter which stage you have begun your search – whether you are only just starting university; or you’ve left the graduate job hunt a little late, we aim to help you cover all the basics to get you on the right path.

Though the application process can be stressful, it is our goal to provide you with all the information you could need to succeed and get the graduate job of your dreams. To help you navigate the next stage of your career journey, we have collected some useful questions and answers which can help you find the perfect graduate role for you.

What are the most attractive qualities in a graduate?

Employers are demanding more and more from their potential graduate recruits, wanting graduates who will fit in well with their business in terms of their skills, abilities and attitudes. Most employers emphasise the totality of what individuals have to offer to them – this means that it is not just your qualification or degree subject that they will find attractive, but also your own personal qualities which make you, you.

Employers continue to demand candidates that are emotionally intelligent. This means graduates must be effective communicators and display positive work attitudes which make them good team players. In addition, displaying enthusiasm for work and knowledge of the company during an interview is a good indication of your potential character once you gain the job. Not all employers may expect you to have completed work experience, but this may be helpful in demonstrating crucial skills and qualities that are desired within a business, such as inter-communication and flexibility in the face of potential challenges.

At the end of the day, graduate employers appreciate the work that goes into a degree and understand if you may not have work experience. However, you’ll have similar skills to the ones described above if you’ve worked hard in your group projects or have undertaken any volunteering opportunities that have come your way.

Do employers accept a 2.2 for a graduate opportunity?

Though some graduate employers may request that you have a 2.1 degree or higher, this is by no means true for them all. Even some of the most popular recruiters sometimes are more flexible in their approach to degree awards. Many graduate employers favour the skills that you have developed throughout your degree in making you a valuable employee. Those people skills, your independent work ability and research talent that you’ve picked up over the years at uni will help you get through that initial barrier into the graduate role of your dreams.

The most common sectors which are open to candidates of a 2.2 include financial services and insurance, engineering and construction, IT and technology, as well as jobs in the public sector. However, if you are set on joining a large employer, don’t fret, it is also possible to find relevant work experience at smaller companies and find a way in later with the relevant experience under your belt. Just remember, every employer is different! Check out some employer websites or see the graduate opportunities on GetMyFirstJob that may be perfect for you.

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

The difference between a graduate job and a graduate scheme can be very subtle, but it is important to recognise these when looking for jobs after uni. A graduate scheme is often a time-limited training programme (often a year to three years) and is an employer’s template to produce a fully qualified professional accredited by the professional body of your occupation. You must keep in mind that schemes do not guarantee employment after the fact, but you will have an opportunity to rotate around the company and learn the different aspects of a business.

However, a graduate job can be a much broader descriptor. It simply denotes employment for which you cannot be hired unless you have an honours degree. A graduate job does not necessarily mean you’ll be enrolled on a programme of professional training like a graduate scheme entails. Graduate jobs are often less structured than graduate schemes and your development in a company may be dictated more by your own strengths and weaknesses, than following a set training programme.

Is personality or test results more important in a graduate role interview?

Assessing your personality during recruitment is much harder than assessing their practical skills, but to employers, this is often crucial to ensure a good fit at their company. Richard Branson even agrees that personality is one of the most crucial aspects interviewers look for when meeting recruits, stating: “The first thing to look for when searching for a great employee is somebody with a personality that fits with your company culture. Most skills can be learned, but it is difficult to train people on their personality. If you can find people who are fun, friendly, caring and love helping others, you are on to a winner.”

Does my degree subject matter in a graduate job?

There are many roles across multiple sectors that do not request a specific degree. Employers recognise that no matter what you studied, your degree will give you many transferable skills that will make you an effective employer. For instance, written communication skills (from the long years of writing coursework, essays or lab reports!), the ability to research and organise notes, and time management and independent working are all valuable skills which are not restricted to a degree topic. Roles in Management, IT and financial services do not always need degree subjects in these specific fields.

Will I be paid?

The good news is that most graduate jobs are full-on, full-time, full-responsibility jobs with the pay-check to match. According to the High Fliers The Graduate Market 2018, the median starting salary for UK graduates for that year was £30,000, with the average starting salary being from £19,000 to £22,000. However, these figures majorly depend on the size and prestige of the company you may wish to work for, with larger companies offering larger starting salaries than those of a humbler nature. Additionally, when looking for graduate jobs it is also important to consider that many graduate internships may not be paid, so are not a financially viable option for all wishing to gain work experience.

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