Preparing for your future

Handy tips when applying for Graduate Schemes

Handy tips when applying for Graduate Schemes, by Emma Green, Student Intern for Careers & Employability …

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I cannot believe how quickly these three years have flown by and I have now found myself in my final year of university. Remarkably, the prospect of graduation and what I am going to do when I leave Cardiff is getting unavoidably close.


Whilst working at Careers & Employability I have picked up some handy tips which will hopefully put me in good stead when applying and I am going to share these with you now. First and foremost  I would recommend that any students wanting to apply for graduate schemes should aim to get applications in and completed as soon as they open. A lot of the schemes recruit on an on-going basis and therefore, you have more of an advantage if you apply early as the later you leave it, the fewer jobs you’ll be competing for.


Secondly, applying for grad schemes is not something that can be done the night before. Graduate schemes with top companies are incredibly competitive and your application really has to stand out. It takes time to make your application specific to the company and job role across the various stages of the application. Applying for grad schemes, if taken seriously, is a full-time job in itself.


You must remain at a consistently high standard across the application process. A typical grad scheme application will consist of: online written applications, situational judgement tests, Psychometric tests (verbal and numerical), telephone and/or video interviews, assessment centres and then in some cases another face to face interview. If you are unsure or nervous about any of these stages, the Careers Service has an abundance of facilities and resources to help you prepare, which I would really recommend you take advantage of whilst being a student.


For those readers in either their first or second year of study, I would really recommend looking into summer internships or even year placements with the company that you would like to work for. This will give you a great advantage, as many companies hire up to 80% of their grad scheme intake from those that have completed internships. You can find out more about how and who to apply for at our Internship Bootcamp due to take place in February next year (2016). Until then, you can see videos and read blogs from this year’s event for extra hints and tips.


In summary, these are my personal top tips for anyone applying for graduate schemes:

  1. Take time to research the company and the roles to make sure that both suit you
  2. Try to apply as soon as applications open
  3. Make your application specific to the role and the company
  4. Do not rush your application
  5. Make sure that you are in a quiet room and will not be disturbed during a telephone or video interview
  6. Keep up to date with the company in the news: commercial awareness is key
  7. Be yourself


Good Luck and remember that Careers & Employability is always here to help!


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Best wishes
Student Intern, Careers & Employability

Emma Green Intern 2014

Your Student Life, Supported.
Advice & Money I Careers & Employability I Counselling, Health & Wellbeing I Disability & Dyslexia



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