Find graduate work

The end of university can be quite a daunting time. Many new graduates reach the end of their course and have not yet secured a graduate job. Many graduates are unsure of the career options available to them. It is quite typical for graduates to find themselves in this situation, but it can be easy to start comparing yourself to your friends and colleagues, especially if they have managed to find a job.

If you are still at the stage of trying to secure a graduate job, try not to panic. You still have a number of options available to you. These are outlined and described in more detail in the sections below:
You could consider graduate trainee schemes, national and career sector specific job vacancy websites e.g. healthcare and sports related websites, or seeking work through recruitment agencies.

Graduate schemes: Usually offered by the larger and recognised companies known for recruiting graduates e.g. IBM, Civil Service, Barclays etc. These companies tend to recruit a number of graduates onto structured development programmes across a range of business roles; accounting/finance, audit, consulting, marketing, operations, supply chain management/logistics.

The recruitment process for graduate schemes typically takes place at certain times throughout the year and employers recruit almost a year in advance. The application process is usually between Sept – Dec, interviews and assessment centres take place Jan – April, and graduates who are recruited tend to start during the summer.

Graduate entry level jobs: Many companies (usually smaller employers) may not offer a structured graduate scheme but may have vacancies specifically for graduates. Many of these roles can be found via national job vacancy websites or job websites which are tailored to specific career sectors.

Not all companies will advertise job vacancies. If an employer interests you try approaching them in a speculative way using a targeted CV and cover letter.

Many employers (especially small ones) may not advertise job vacancies as this can cost them money. You may also have an interest in a specific company but you never seem to find any vacancies online. In both situations these companies may still have vacancies for graduates so it is worth sending a speculative application. Here’s some tips on how you can do this:

  1. Use Google and yell.com to search for companies, attend business networking events, and search through business directories in the library.
  2. Research companies and learn about what they do, types of customers/clients, are they in the national or local news for their work? Do they operate in a sector that interests you e.g. social justice, finance etc.
  3. Think about the type of work that would interest you and match your skills and experience e.g finance, accounting, project work – this could help when you contact the company.
  4. Tailor a CV and cover letter and send it to the company to enquire about any job openings. Follow up with them after a few weeks if you don’t receive a response.

Networking is a useful skill for any career, which can help to discover possible future careers and job opportunities.

Networking: This can be daunting for most people, but really it is about having meaningful conversations and developing good relationships with others for professional purposes. As students, this is something you do every day, when you work alongside and connect with other students and lecturers.

Networking can enable you to meet people working in career areas of interest, and find out about job roles you may not have ever heard about.

Some tips for where students could start trying to network e.g. attend “guest” lectures at university, local business events (see Meet Up of Eventbrite to try and find them), LinkedIn which is an online networking platform.

Informational Interviews: Involves you meeting someone who works in a particular career field/job that you are interested in, and asking them a series of questions. The aim is to find out what it is like to work in a sector or employer. This can help you determine your own future career path. Questions such as “what does your role involve?”, “how did you get into this field?” are typical.

Volunteering or completing online courses can “upskill” you but also open up opportunities to find work you may enjoy, and meet other people with interesting job roles/careers.

The skills that are relevant to the workplace can be developed through a range of ways. Even if you haven’t yet discovered your career direction or found a graduate role, you could continue to build your skills in a number of ways around your job search:

  1. Volunteer: Can help you to develop skills such as administration, communication, planning and teamwork, as well as giving you an insight into different types of work.
  2. Part-time job: Valuable for improving confidence, developing skills and in customer service.
  3. Self-taught/directed learning: There are now many online platforms via Massive Open Online Course that host free online courses across a range of topics. Learn a language in your own time, learn computer coding skills, or any other subject that interests you. This shows initiative and could actually be valuable in a future career.

To enter some career sectors a higher level qualification may be required. Do research this thoroughly as a postgraduate qualification isn’t always needed, and work experience may be more important.

Studying at postgraduate level or completing a professional qualification can sometimes be a requirement to enter or progress in certain career areas/job roles e.g. teaching or health-related.

As completing a postgraduate qualification can be expensive and involves much hard work, it is important to assess whether this is the right route for you. If you’re considering this route, it is advised to research career routes or book an appointment with a careers adviser at the University of Worcester.

As a graduate of the University of Worcester, you can access the services of the University of Worcester Careers & Employability team for up to three years and beyond.

You can book a careers appointment to talk through your ideas or options. Alternatively, if you cannot attend an appointment at the stated times; are travelling from outside of Worcestershire; or if you would rather speak to us by phone or email; please send us a query on myCareer and we will try to make alternative arrangements with you.

Our Graduate Jobs page includes resources to help you find a job as well as links to the some popular online job sites. We also have guidance on the application process, including writing a great CVs, completing a successful application form and excelling at interviews.

Contact us

Send us a query on myCareer
Telephone: 01905 855166

For careers advice and guidance, book an appointment to see one of our careers advisers through myCareer

myCareer logo

Follow & like us on Twitter & Facebook for job opportunities, CV tips & career advice!

Visit the Careers blog