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Graduate scheme myths – busted!


Blackboard with word myths crossed out

Graduate schemes – they’re one of the most common ways for companies to recruit students and graduates, but there’s many myths and misconceptions surrounding them that may leave you wondering if they’re the right path for you. We asked our expert careers team to uncover the truth behind some of the most common myths about graduate schemes.

MYTH: I can only apply for a graduate scheme in my final year

You can apply for a graduate scheme at any point during your final year and beyond as long as, if they have a deadline, you meet it for that year. Lots of alumni graduate and go into a specific career, decide it’s not for them and then apply for a graduate scheme. You can use your experience from a previous role to make you a more confident applicant – it’s that added extra element that can really help.

MYTH: I need a 2:1 degree or a specific degree

The good thing is that many schemes don’t require a specific degree and are generally open to any degree you may have. In terms of a 2:1, there’s no denying that this is often used as a filter in the recruitment process. However, there are some organisations that will accept a 2:2 – such as the Civil Service, Jaguar Landrover and Network Rail. In the long term, performance in the workplace tends to supersede classification of degree – and graduate schemes are only one way of entering the world of work.

MYTH: I need to have had an internship or work experience before I can apply

When applying, anything can count towards the answers you provide during the application process, as long as you have carefully related it to the question and demonstrated its relevance. You can reference any work you did with a society, hobbies you have, what you gained from travelling or volunteering . The more varied, interesting and well-crafted answers will help you stand out from the crowd.

MYTH: All the good graduate schemes are in London

This very much depends on the type of graduate schemes you are looking at and applying to. For some companies such as Slaughter and May or Lloyds, who are solely based in London, it’s likely that they will only offer roles in London. However, the majority of schemes you can apply to actually recruit to UK-wide locations – Aldi, BT and the Royal Bank of Scotland to name just a few.

MYTH: There is a guaranteed job at the end of the scheme

The majority of entrants selected onto graduate schemes are done so with the expectation that they will remain within the organisation. This is why so much effort is put into the recruitment process. Progression is always subject to satisfactory performance and also successful performance in any related professional exams. However, there are often no guarantees. Equally, you are also not obliged to stay with the company if you decide that it’s not the right environment or role for you.

If you’d like more in-depth careers support, don’t forget that as a graduate of the University you can also still use our Careers and Employability Service.

Posted on Tuesday 14th February 2017

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