Graduate Jobs – When should I start applying?

For those of you in your final year, it would be quite an understatement to say that you have a lot on your plate. With deadlines and exams looming, vital lectures and seminars to attend as well as making the most of your last year of university, trying to squeeze anything else into that schedule has got to be daunting. Your graduate job search can be one of those things playing on your mind and while exams and dissertations have fixed dates to schedule around, trying to timetable your career search can be a little trickier. So when is the best time to start the search?

It’s a difficult question. Not only have you got to fit applications around your own priorities, each business will have their own time frames for bringing on talent and so matching the two is no easy task.

A lot of the bigger graduate schemes will open their doors in September with the aim of having everything tied up by March. If you’ve got your heart set on working with Google or Sony for example, then you will have to apply early. These schemes can be ultra-competitive and may consist of many stages. Some of you just won’t have that time to spare as you try and balance your workload with a part-time job or other such commitments. For those that don’t want to sacrifice the time during term and for those that can find time, but just haven’t managed to be successful in finding a graduate job in that time frame, all may seem lost

But fear not! Many smaller and medium sized businesses don’t work to the same time frame as the bigger guys. A lot of smaller businesses just don’t possess the time or budget to get from campus to campus during the term and others just won’t see the value in recruiting early, and in that fashion, if they only intend to bring on one or two graduates a year. Many companies will bring on talent when it’s right for them and when they need that additional help. This is great news for recent graduates as it means that there is a steady stream of fantastic opportunities throughout the year.

Another brilliant thing about the smaller, high-growth businesses is that they offer a completely different experience to larger corporation. Roles within a smaller business can often offer a more hands-on experience, with greater responsibility and impact on a business and the chance to work with directors and other senior members of staff. This may be more suited to maximizing your skillset and you might find that a smaller business is where you want to spend your career. Even if you discover that a smaller business isn’t where you want to be in the longer-term, the experience gained will form a fantastic platform to help you get a role that is more aligned with your ambitions.

Ultimately, the key message to take away is don’t let your job search during term be another stress. If you do find the time to submit some applications, great! But likewise, if you miss the boat on a big programme it’s not the end of the world. Small, local businesses recruit year round and offer a fantastic career choice for a new graduate.

So, to answer the question, when is the best time of search for a graduate role? Whenever suits you. Apply whenever you can find the time to complete an application with your full attention.

If you need some tips on how to maximize the amount of time you spend on job hunting, check out our blog here.