Knowing how to choose the right graduate scheme starts with knowing where to look. After all, competition for the best programmes is tough, so it’s important that you discover all the ones that would suit your ambitions and interests. It will help you to find out what to expect from your future graduate employer. Plus, it could help you identify the perfect graduate employer for you.
Contents

Graduate careers websites

Social media

Google search

Word of mouth

Graduate fairs

Graduate careers websites

The easiest way to start looking for a graduate job is to hit the graduate careers bulletin boards, such as prospects.ac.uk. Most major employers—as well as a multitude of smaller ones, too—will list their graduate openings on these job boards.

Be mindful that these sites are well-established with universities and colleges. As such, they are some of the first places to which students are pointed in their job search—so competition for the roles on offer there is fierce. You’re likely to be one of many applicants there, so it’s all about making your application count.

That said, there are few places where you can see as many graduate schemes listed in a single place, do a compare-and-contrast between them and see, for instance, what the advantages of doing an FMCG graduate scheme are, compared to—say—a Banking scheme.

Social media

If you see an ad for a graduate scheme posted on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn, the reason is that you’ve been targeted by an employer who thinks you might have what it takes for them. So make sure you click on it.

The thing is, social media websites allow advertisers to target students not just by things like age and location, but also interests and online behaviours. So, when you see one of those ads popping up in your Instagram feed, that’s because you’ve demonstrated a certain set of characteristics that probably make you good for the scheme on offer.

You should also spend some time looking at those employers’ social pages, as you’ll be able to see comments from your peers, as well as days-in-the-life and other content that will help to flesh out what you think of the company and the programmes on offer.

Google search

OK, so it might be a bit of an obvious thing to say, but searching Google for “graduate schemes in [your area of interest]” is a very useful thing to do.

You see, the employers who come up high on the search engine results page will represent the most popular ones. That should tell you something—other students are interacting with them and engaging with their websites. It’s a good indicator of the quality of their graduate programmes.

Also, when you visit an employer’s website, you’ll be able to browse through all the different content they have pertaining to their graduate schemes. A great graduate employer will have a lot of useful things to impart to you. We like to think we do a pretty good job of that, ourselves, here at Nestlé, for instance, with our blog.

Word of mouth

Reputation matters. If a company is known for delivering fantastic graduate schemes, that’s probably because it does. So ask around—your Careers Advisor and university alumni friends will, no-doubt, be able to direct you to lots of different schemes, many of which you might never have heard of otherwise.

Here at Nestlé, for example, we receive many requests for information from students who are about to graduate, based on advice they’ve received from their parents, their friends and their university lecturers. It might be that they’ve heard about our Creating Shared Value initiative or that we’re an actively very inclusive employer. We can’t buy that kind of word-of-mouth reputation—it’s authentic and influential and means a lot to us.

The reason it means a lot? Well, because we know it’s based on what people really think about working for us. So, listen to people when they advise you—though feel free to ask them how they came by their information. They might just reveal a graduate employer you’d never even considered before.

Graduate fairs

Every year—minus a few wobbly ones where a certain pandemic got in the way—exhibition centres up and down the UK will host graduate fairs, as well those set up on campus. At these, the biggest and best regional, national and international employers will set up stands.

These are incredible ways of finding out not just who’s offering graduate schemes, but also what being on them might be like. You see, you’ll get to interact with current graduates and their mentors, so you can get a sense of the company culture. There might even be games and tests you can take to help you see if you’d fit in.

You never know, you might even walk away from a graduate fair having applied for the scheme of your dreams. So they’re definitely worth looking into.


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