Many large companies offer graduate training schemes. Graduate schemes are also relatively easy to find; they are advertised in directories such as Prospects Directory, Target Jobs and The Times Top 100. These companies also advertise their jobs on a variety of websites including MyJobsOnline and attend our careers fairs. Read Debut's guide on everything you need to know about applying for graduate schemes.
The majority of graduates work for small or medium sized employers (SMEs) and these will recruit anything from one to just a few graduates each year. These organisations don’t have large budgets to recruit so are unlikely to use expensive job boards and promotion. They will often come directly to us and advertise via MyJobsOnline as well as using local press and also rely on speculative applications.
Some employers will advertise via the relevant professional body and/or journal – for example the CIPD for jobs in HR or CIM for jobs in marketing. Find a full list of UK professional bodies and associations here.
You can target recruitment agencies you have heard about or that have an office on your high street which can be useful if you wish to remain local. However they are there to find employees for their client so any approach needs to be professional – treat them as if they are your actual ideal company. Many recruitment agencies deal with specific career areas, so search official agencies, use the members directory on REC UK.
Use a business directory like Yell, and identify companies that you might like to work for. Research them and then write or email with a CV asking for a meeting to discuss possible employment opportunities. Try and find out the name of a person to write to or phone, and follow up with a phone call two weeks after you’ve sent your letter and CV. Other options are to network or to use work experience to create opportunities. LinkedIn can provide useful contacts.
Many employers use social media to advertise vacancies, so make sure you follow their pages to receive updates. A strong, relevant profile on LinkedIn can lead to employer interest and could help your applications. Watch out for our workshops throughout term offering support on creating a professional profile.
Many graduates secure their job by turning a part-time job, graduate internship or summer job into something longer term. It is also quite common for some industries to take graduates into jobs that don’t require a degree e.g. marketing assistant, arts administrator and runner (media).
When should I start looking and applying for jobs?
- September-December of your final year Apply to large company schemes. Many closing dates will have passed by January so do your research at the end of your penultimate year. Some of these organisations will aim to put you through the whole recruitment process within two months of applying. Others have a more drawn out process so you may not know where you stand until the end of the Easter vacation
- Spring term: A good time to start to explore the small medium employer sector so you know who to target, how and when. Some large and medium sized employers will advertise vacancies via the Careers Centre.
- After Graduation: Don’t panic! There are always graduate job vacancies still available. Many companies recruit throughout the year and smaller organisations will tend to recruit as they need someone rather than months ahead; applying to SMEs is usually completed 4 to 8 weeks before you will be available to start work. Some graduate recruiters have a “rolling recruitment”, i.e. they don’t set a deadline but continue to recruit until they fill their spaces on the scheme.
Make MyJobsOnline your starting point for finding a graduate role.
General Graduate Recruitment and Careers Intelligence
- Prospects – graduate schemes, careers profiles and lots more including ‘Prospects Planner’
- TargetJobs – careers intelligence & useful publications
- GRB - graduate schemes and advice
- Milkround -graduate vacancies and events
- Guardian Jobs - 1000’s of nationwide jobs
- GraduateRecruitment – graduate jobs for small and medium sized enterprises
- Kompass andSearchMe4–employer directories
Local roles Reading and Berkshire area
- Reading Chronicle
- West Berks County Council
- University of Reading jobs
- Jobs in the area with Gumtree
International job searching