Before you can make a decision about what you want to apply to, you will need to find out exactly what options you have available. There are many possibilities open to graduates, probably more than you realise at first, and sometimes, the hardest task will be deciding how to choose from the many options available to you.
You may already have a preconceived idea of what a certain area might be like but don’t make a decision on this basis without further research. You don’t want to rule out options unnecessarily, and you might be surprised at what some areas have to offer. By discovering what is out there, you can make an informed choice and consider some new ideas as well as those you had thought of.
The most popular choice for new graduates is applying for a job and a large proportion of graduate level jobs are open to people of any degree, so don’t feel constrained by what you have studied. However, this is not the only option and some of the more common 'next steps' for new graduates are outlined below:
A graduate scheme is a structured training programme run by an employer to develop future leaders of their organisation, commonly offered by large national and international companies. These are usually permanent jobs, but for the first one to three years you’ll be undergoing a structured development programme that may include rotating around different departments, attending additional training courses, studying for professional exams and being allocated a mentor.
These can be great for your learning and profile, setting you up for an excellent career, but may be too rigid and constraining for some. They also come with high expectations of your future performance, which can be overwhelming if you are less ambitious or confident.
Graduate schemes are advertised in directories and through online sources such as Prospects, Target Jobs and The Times Top 100 resources. Companies also advertise graduate schemes on their own websites, the University of Reading Careers resource MyJobsOnline, and at our careers fairs on campus. Companies start recruiting at the beginning of the academic year, or during the late summer, and will only remain open for a limited time – early application is advised!
Graduate Entry Level Jobs
You may be surprised to hear that the vast majority of graduates don’t join graduate schemes; instead they begin their career in a graduate entry-level role. This is where you are employed directly into individual positions within both big and small organisations. These opportunities are likely to be advertised later in the academic year as there’s usually an expectation to start the role within 6-8 weeks. Entry-level jobs tend to advertise on job boards such as Indeed or LinkedIn, or may prefer more cost-effective recruitment through their local university, social media and networking events. Speculative applications and word-of-mouth recommendations are also regular sources of recruits. Find out more about Graduate Entry-level Jobs.
A graduate internship is graduate level work for a short period of time (usually one year or less) and can be an excellent way to build confidence, make industry contacts and help you on the way to getting a job. These opportunities can sometimes lead to a permanent position but we would encourage you to continue your graduate employment search whilst you are undertaking the internship.
If you are thinking about continuing your studies, why not consider a short graduate internship in between finishing your undergraduate course and starting postgraduate study?
Start your search using the links below.
Reading Internship Scheme - Gain experience from a work internship exclusive to Reading students.
Guardian Jobs - Find the latest graduate internships to view and apply for with Guardian Jobs.
Whether you want to continue to study an aspect of your subject in more detail or you want to gain a vocational/conversion qualification to give you more in-depth knowledge, undertaking a postgraduate qualification can be a worthwhile option. There are however lots of things to consider including what course to choose, when to apply, what funding is available and more.
If you are interested in starting your own business or picking up some freelance work, you will need to be creative, self-motivated and, of course, have a great business idea! Find out more about self-employment by reading our handy guide. If you’re interested in the creative industries, then our Creative Enterprise guide is for you. You may also want to look through the activities and information offered by the Henley Centre for Entrepreneurship.
Taking Time Out
After an intense period of study, you might be considering taking some time out before you study at a higher level or start the next step in your working life. To make the most of your time out you might want to:
- Think about whether taking time out is the right thing for you
- Consider how long to take, what your aims for the time are, and how to achieve them
- Plan for what you will do once you’re ready for the next step.
Use the Taking time out after your degree document to help you answer the above questions.
The following links will also be useful starting points when exploring your options: