Calling all final year students! You’re nearing the finish line!…
Soon you’ll be celebrating your success as a fully-fledged graduate! But what comes next? Have you got an all-important job lined up? Need help on perfecting that winning CV? Don’t panic! Bath Spa Careers are holding a series of events especially for you!
Introducing… ‘Kickstart’ Your Life After Uni
Our Kickstart series is designed to help final-year students prepare for life after university. With graduation on the horizon, we’re here to help you with the essential toolkit to source your graduate career.
Each session will consist of three key workshops, looking at job search strategy, how to show off your best CV, and tips to ensure you ace that interview process. There will be short intermissions, with light refreshments provided.
After you’ve got to grips with the nuts and bolts, you will also have an option to stay behind afterwards and speak with student advisors on staying savvy with finance and well-being.
Booking for this event is essential!
In the mean time, if you have any queries with regards to your future career just pop along to our Final Year drop-in –Every Tuesday from 11am-1pm in Steward’s Lodge!
The title of Graduate Opportunities Officer may be a mouthful, but one that I hope is fairly self-explanatory. My name is Jenna Rainey, and it’s my role to ensure that final-year students are aware of the facilities and opportunities available to them with regard to the big, wide world of careers. I help to maintain a database of graduate schemes and opportunities, which span across a vast range of subjects undertaken by students here at Bath Spa University.
If you think these resources might be of interest or use to you, you can find them on My Career.
I graduated with my Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing and Publishing from Bath Spa and am currently undertaking my Masters degree at Corsham Court (they couldn’t get me to leave – now I’m working here as well). So I think it would be fair to say that I have a rough idea of where our final-year students are coming from! Having recently made the same transition myself, I am passionate about creating opportunities for final-year students, helping them to strive toward potential success after graduating.
In my final year at university I maximised my opportunities by attending regular events and workshops run through the Careers service. These helped me gain industry insights, assisted me with networking and I even looked into how to start up my own business. It made me aware of things I hadn’t previously considered and proved valuable information. I also completed the Bath Spa Award – which, if you didn’t already know, is a fantastic way of having your extracurricular skills and efforts recognised by the university before you graduate.
It’s also important to note that Bath Spa Careers are here to help for up to three years after you graduate. So if you’re still having difficulty with your career or study after graduation, then don’t fret, there’s still help for you here!
We operate from Steward’s Lodge (the cottage opposite the library bus stop). From here we hope to help you with any queries you may have in regards to the world of work. I personally run drop-in session for final year students on Fridays between 10am and 12pm. It’s advised that you book ahead on My Career if you can, to save missing out during peak times, however you are always welcome to simply pop-by for a 10-minute chat if it’s easier for you. And, of course, I’ll endeavour to do my best to assist you however I can.
The key thing to remember? Don’t panic, you’re not alone!
So you’re in final year and probably thinking about what you will do with your life when you finish next summer. (By the way, it’s true: final year always goes by far too quickly, so it’s definitely a case of the sooner the better!)
Graduate schemes are great entry-level opportunities that are definitely worth considering. It’s a myth that graduate schemes are just for Business students – most of them are open to all subjects.
However, not all grad schemes are created equal. Just like when you were deciding which course and which uni to go to, different employers will offer different types of graduate schemes. Here are the top ten things to look out for when browsing:
Grad schemes come in different shapes and sizes. Some are known as ‘rotational’, which means shorter placements in different departments. So you might spend six months in Human Resources, six months in Marketing and then six months in Sales, and so on. This can be a great way of testing out which areas of a business you enjoy working for the most. However, you may want to get stuck into a particular area straight away, in which case a non-rotational grad scheme might be better. Also schemes can vary in length, but usually last one to three years, so you might want to think about how that fits in with your future plans.
Generally, larger employers offer a fixed structure and timetable, whereas smaller and medium sized organisations might have more flexibility. There are pros and cons to both: larger employers’ schemes might be more ‘tried and tested’ by previous graduates, whereas smaller employers might take your interests into account when mapping out the scheme – so think about what is more appealing to you.
Do you have a specific location in mind, or can you be flexible? Some graduate schemes are based in one location, but rotational schemes often require you to move around the country. It’s also worth noting that grad schemes are mostly based in larger towns and cities, such as London, Birmingham, Manchester and Bristol. Check out the Target Jobs Career Location guide for lists of top employers in certain locations in the UK.
- Professional qualifications
A real perk of some schemes is the opportunity to get additional qualifications, particularly if you pick something like Human Resources or Accounting. These tend to be funded which is a bonus, but of course you would need to commit to further study.
- Support and progression
A key feature of grad schemes is CPD (continuing personal development) i.e. making sure you are learning, developing and progressing in the role. This often means things like training opportunities or having a mentor.
- What next?
It’s worth considering where a grad scheme might take you. Some employers might expect you to stay within the company, but this is often not obligatory. Search for previous completers of the scheme on LinkedIn to see what they are doing now. Have they stayed within the company or have they moved on to pastures new?
- Insider perspectives
The glossy pages of an employer’s graduate brochure or website might showcase some great stories of previous graduates who have done the scheme, but do some wider research to get a better picture. Use Glassdoor’ to check out reviews (TripAdvisor style) of employers. In addition, get networking with current grads on the scheme. Connect with them on LinkedIn and ask questions – or, if possible, talk to company reps at a graduate fair to find out what life is reeeeally like at that organisation.
- Number of opportunities
The number of graduates an employer takes on each year can vary from 1 to 1200. However, this does not mean that only applying to organisations that take on thousands is the best tactic. These organisations tend to have dedicated graduate recruitment teams, which tends to lead to thousands of applications. Don’t let this put you off, but be aware of the competition you might face and make sure your application is top notch.
- The application process
Grad schemes often have a lengthy and detailed recruitment process, which may include application forms, psychometric tests, phone or video interviews, assessment centres and an interview in person. Again, this shouldn’t put you off, but you should be prepared. As always, the advice is ‘quality not quantity’ – identify the grad you’re really interested in, and put all of your effort into making a brilliant application.
- Other benefits, including salary and courtesy cars!
Employers want the best graduates to apply for their schemes. This often means they can offer great benefits, including a good starting salary and other benefits. Aldi is well-known for offering a £42k salary and a fully expensed Audi A4! Niiice!
Find out more about grad schemes on My Career, or book an appointment with a Careers Consultant. Remember, deadlines are often before Christmas, so make sure you look as early as possible in the autumn term.