Alternatives to grad scheme

Hi, I'm nearing the end of uni in not so many weeks now (help!) and I think I've missed out on the chances I had for a place on a major employer graduate training scheme. I'm feeling a bit like I'm doomed, but I'm sure that can't be the case. I'm not sure where to look for a suitable job now, apart from the obvious job sites and boards. Trouble is I never get a response to those types of adverts so i have no idea what's happening with any applications I make. Is there anywhere else to look? I think I just need to get started in a new direction that offers some hope to pick myself up. TIA Angie

Bearing in mind that only between 5 and 10% of graduates end up on the big-organisation development schemes, there's obviously a mountain of other opportunities out there!

A personal favourite of mine is to target SMEs (small to medium sized organisations). In fact they form the vast bulk of employers in the UK, by total number. Their budgets are lower and they quite often struggle to make jobs systematically visible to job-hunting graduates.

That can make it difficult to find some of the more juicy opportunities, so apart from the usual routes you mentioned, try the following:

  • Pick industries you like and search online for smaller employers in those fields.
  • Specifically target those organisations - research them, make contact, ask about opportunities, ask who to talk to, ask who to drop a CV in to.
  • Keep your online presence up to the mark by ensuring you express an interest in the types of role you're after. Make sure your current profiles match the types of role you're now chasing.
  • Pick up the pace of both your online and offline networking.

Once you realise that targeting and cold-calling are nowhere near as bad as they seem, they can both be fun activities, as well as highly productive routes for you.

Try it! Let me know how you find it.

By Jon Gregory