After all the effort of actually graduating, it’s time to think about what you can do with your hard-earned degree and where to take the first plunge into the world of work.

Getting on the career ladder is never easy, especially since competition for vacancies has become incredibly tough. Securing a place on a graduate scheme might be an option, but what exactly does it take to ensure you get a spot?


When it comes to applying for graduate schemes, preparation really is the key to success. Leaving your application until ten minutes before the deadline and sending off the first thoughts that cross your mind is not the position you want to be in.

Make sure you update your CV regularly; most schemes will require you to fill out their application form anyway but the process can be made a lot easier if you have everything you will need to hand.

A simple tip is to keep note of achievements you have made – it can be easy to forget a piece of work you did in your first year that can be used as an example that might be relevant in your application. However small you think it may be, you never know how useful it can be if you’re looking for something to write about.

The Recruitment Process

It is important that anything you send during the process is different and unique to that business. Employers will have seen thousands of generic cover letters and written applications, so they will be able to tell immediately if it’s tailored to them or not.

Graduate programmes can include assessment centres for those who have passed through the application process and then a face-to-face interview. This stage tends to involve several exercises throughout the day, including a group discussion, alongside activities that will allow you to showcase teamwork and leadership, as well as a presentation.

Do not be afraid to take some notes in with you – you will probably be nervous so having something to refer to will do you no harm. Companies usually like to get graduates that are already within the firm to help with the process too, so take the opportunity and ask plenty of questions – they will have all the information you’ll need.

If you’re a graduate looking to kick-start your career, have a chat with Discovery Graduates and see how they can help you get started