Choosing the Company and Career For You

Consider your interests and motivations, strengths and weaknesses, skills you’ve developed during your degree and what kind of lifestyle you wish to have in the future. All of these factors will affect what kind of job you’re best suited to.

It is important to decide which companies and roles interest you, as the recruitment process can vary a lot depending on where you are applying to and what type of role you are interested in applying for. The Careers Service page on Occupations, Sectors and Industries provides a useful breakdown on the jobs available and skills required in many different areas of employment.

Attending careers fairs, networking events and office insight visits is a great way to meet employers and find out if their office and team would be a good fit for you. It’s essential to do your research on employers. Find out about current issues affecting their business, their clients and how they differ from their competitors, as you will often be asked to discuss things like this during the recruitment process. It’s vital to be able to tell them why you want to work for them specifically and what you can bring to the company and role.

The different categories of graduate level employment

There is a wide range of graduate opportunities to choose from and each company will use different terminology to advertise their vacancies and describe the jobs they offer to graduate level candidates. It's more important to choose a job you are genuinely interested in rather than worrying what category it falls into but below is a little information about the different types of graduate roles you may come across. Many students believe a 'graduate scheme' is more prestigious than other graduate level positions but in reality the title of the position relies more on the size of the company and the way they recruit rather than the work you will be doing as an employee.

Graduate schemes

These are structured training programmes, usually running for 2-3 years. These are usually in larger companies and may offer exposure to a greater range of clients and projects. Applications open from summer for the following year and although many companies don't advertise a closing date they will fill the positions as suitable applicants come along, so applying early is a must. The application process is lengthy and assessment centres and interviews usually begin after the New Year. Applying for a graduate scheme is very competitive with companies often looking to recruit students from universties within the Russell Group but, if successful, you will often be rewarded with a higher starting salary.

Graduate Jobs

There are many more jobs suitable for graduate level employees which also offer great training opportunities outside of a graduate scheme. These are usually with small to medium sized companies and though salaries might start a little lower you may be given more responsibility and presented with more opportunities to develop a wider understanding of the business within smaller teams. The peak periods of recruitment for these types of jobs generally fall in two periods- May to July and September to November. The recruitment process for these jobs is usually shorter, consisting of the initial CV and application screening and a series of interviews. Employers look to fill these roles within 6 to 8 weeks of posting the vacancy. These jobs tend to come up more regularly throughout the year and around graduation time rather than just in one main window.

Graduate Internships

These are generally short term positions for 1 year or less and are a good way to get your foot in the door with a company or streamline your expertise before applying for a long term graduate position. Although internships are usually done during your studies, these can be a good way to learn about working in different sectors and to try out something new before commiting to a permanent position. If you enjoy the internship and do well, they may lead on to a place on a graduate scheme.

The Manchester Graduate Internship Programme (MGIP) is managed by The University of Manchester Careers Service and offers paid graduate internships, based in Manchester, specifically to its own graduates. Other organisations offering internships to graduates include Step, Graduate Talent Pool and Go Wales.

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