Job Hunting Tips For Graduates: Finding Vacancies

Once you have decided on the job role, sector and type of employer that are most suited to you, make a list of organisations that interest you. Check out the following to help you get started:

Finding employers

local employers known to recruit graduates;

  • your university careers services – speak to staff or go online;
  • professional institution resources – they may publish a list of members;
  • companies and industry vacancies – check companies’ careers and job web pages and online job sites;
  • trade associations’ lists of member companies.

There are several directories of graduate employers, available from your university careers service and online, that contain vacancies for the year ahead and background information on featured employers. They include:

  • Indeed
  • CV Library
  • TotalJobs
  • Reed
  • Jobvacancies.net

If you already have particular employers in mind, visit their websites, which are likely to include all the details you need and an online application facility. Many organisations recruit through their sites.

Vacancy sources

You can search for vacancies in a variety of sources:

  • The internet is now the quickest and most cost effective way for employers to advertise their vacancies. The majority of companies have a jobs or careers page on their website, allowing you to apply for vacancies online, and they may also use online job sites. Research job sites specific to either graduate recruitment or the industry you are interested in – you can often apply to websites to receive notification of vacancies.
  • University careers services often post lists of vacancies, both local and regional.
  • Annual campus events, such as careers and graduate fairs and talks by industry speakers are an opportunity to investigate vacancies.
  • Specialist industry magazines, available weekly, fortnightly and monthly, have vacancy sections.
  • Prospects Finalist is published three times over the year from October to May – available from your university careers service.
  • National graduate recruitment fairs take place every autumn around the UK and are open to graduates of any institution. Details are available at careers fairs.
  • Some national and local papers specialise in particular types of jobs on particular days. Most newspapers list jobs in a searchable database on their websites that you can check regularly.

When do employers recruit?

Graduate recruitment has changed in recent years. Traditional approaches, such as campus recruitment visits, are still important to employers, but organisations are increasingly using more creative and diverse approaches to reach new talent.
Websites are the principal source of information about employers and provide the main (or sometimes only) route for applications. You may be able to apply at any time of year, but it is essential to confirm application dates if you want to avoid missing out.

Large employers often have an annual graduate recruitment scheme, planned far in advance, to meet operational and business development needs. This type of recruitment is aimed at both finalists and recent graduates. These schemes are popular and attract lots of applicants every year. When applying for graduate schemes be sure to know the application deadlines as intake is usually within the autumn term, between September and January.

It is important to know that employers do also recruit throughout the year, as and when vacancies occur, and often advertise these vacancies on their website. They evaluate the application form or CV according to the criteria they have set for the role. Applicants must address all the employer’s needs, providing evidence to indicate how they match these criteria. For further information about applications go to  job application advice and CVs and covering letters.

It is sometimes possible to obtain a non-advertised job by approaching the employer directly with a carefully targeted CV and covering letter. Use speculative job applications to find out about recruitment practices for jobs that interest you. For further information, go to networking.

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