Graduate schemes and other options

graduate scheme

After university, one of the most coveted things that grad students run after is a graduate scheme. If you are one of the lucky ones to have landed those lucrative graduate schemes, then you definitely deserve a pat on the back. Even if you haven’t, there is nothing to lose heart. There are plenty more options that are open for you. Unlike what the media makes it out to be, a graduate scheme is not the only starting point to a bright future ahead. The question is, why should you as a grad student apply for a graduate scheme instead of a straight out job? What’s in it for you?

Perks of a graduate scheme

In the jobs market, it is often said that getting a graduate scheme is often like winning the lottery. A leading accountancy firm reported getting over 30,000 applications for their graduate schemes when they had only 1,200 open positions. You have to ward off an incredible amount of competition to get through. So the first perk is gaining an immense amount of respect for being the crème de la crème of your chosen profession.

Secondly, with all the intense exposure and rigorous training that you get while on your graduate scheme, you get to create and enhance your skill set really quickly as possible. Also, you will have skipped quite a few steps on your career ladder.

Thirdly, the salary that you will be given will be a phenomenal amount. You will gain quite a few envious glances for that fat paycheck.

Usually, most graduate schemes function on a rotational level which places graduates in a variety of areas within the same business. This will give you a chance to experience different areas of the profession and then take an informed decision on what you would like to specify in. This feature is great for graduates who are still confused as to what they should do with their degree.

The chances of networking are extremely good if you are on a graduate scheme.

The alternatives

As mentioned before, there is more to a career than a graduate scheme. Don’t pin all your hopes on that. There are plenty more avenues left open for a recent or aspiring graduate to explore.

If you have a dream company in mind then it’s time to play hardball and be proactive about it. Find a way of making your way through all the queues and see if there’s a way you can apply directly for a job. You could do something like making a speculative application. As you are probably aware of, a lot of recruiting happens internally through contacts and recommendations. So look around for people who might know someone in the company, get e-mail addresses and start acting on them.

If you are not one to go by big names, then start looking at the small and medium sized companies. These are always looking for good graduates to add value and skills to their company. Since they are all smaller and more cohesive, you will get more individual attention and learn quickly. Also, with a smaller workforce, you could be given more leading responsibilities in a much shorter time than what you would be given in a big company with a wider hierarchical structure.

These are some of the more lucrative and equally rewarding alternatives to the highly competitive (and hence elusive) graduate schemes. Of course there are other options too, like doing internships in good companies or even doing smaller, related jobs in your profession to work up the ladder in the old fashioned way.

About the author

Deborah has been working with a CV writing organisation for the past nine years. She has helped many graduates land coveted graduate schemes with her stellar CVs. Deborah loves pottery and glass painting as hobbies. Also she writes for


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