The alternative to graduate schemes 2011

Graduate schemes are highly desirable for many university leavers and there are plenty of benefits if you are accepted onto one. However, with record number of applications for graduate jobs and only a low percentage of graduates managing to secure a position, competition for these schemes is high. Getting onto one of these schemes is extremely demanding, often requiring a 2:1 degree and willingness to relocate. Therefore, it is worth remembering that there are alternative paths for graduates that offer the same quality jobs.

The SME

Often graduates look straight to the large global companies and discount the experience they can gain at smaller enterprises. SMEs have a lot to offer the current economy and are becoming an increasingly valuable option for university leavers who struggle to compete for the coveted schemes at major multinationals. They can offer better on-the-job training, invaluable hands-on experience and a more personal approach to further your career.

The internship

A graduate internship can offer great practical experience and provide valuable skills and a network of contacts to increase a graduate’s understanding of an industry. Any extras on your CV which help you stand out amongst the thousands of students leaving university this summer will be a major bonus in a tough graduate job market. Many companies use the internship period as an interviewing process to better evaluate applicants before committing to employing them.

The business venture

In the current economic climate starting your own business has become a viable option for creative and motivated university leavers bursting with fresh ideas. The government and universities can offer help and funding to graduates looking to set up a business.

The ‘in-between job’

If you have had a job during university then it is a good idea to hold on to it when you graduate. Any experience looks good on your CV, it will give you some income and also time to apply for jobs in your chosen industry. You also don’t know where it could lead.

Although graduate schemes are easier to track down and are more widely advertised during your time at university it is important to remember there are so many other options out there. Keep your eyes peeled and your mind open!

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