Careers and Employability Service
Services for current students

Graduate roles

 Three men in a tech office

A graduate job can be defined in several ways but here are just two: it can be a job for which a degree is the minimum entry requirements or a job that a graduate does.

Find out about the direct entry route, graduate trainee and graduate training schemes - the most popular ways for graduates to start their working lives.

Latest graduate vacancies

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Direct entry roles

Ailya Hasnain

"What really inspired me was the experience of a group of people with very different skills, all working for the same purpose which was ultimately going to make society better."

Ailya Syeda Hasnain, BA English 2017

Read Ailya's story on our blog

Graduate training schemes 

Max Cooper

"What made me want to apply for graduate schemes is the unparalleled training and development opportunities. What appealed to me most about this scheme was the rotations."

Max Cooper, BA History (2020)

Read Max's story on our blog


What is the difference between a direct entry job and a graduate training scheme?

Direct entry roles and internships

  • Often single vacancies with immediate starts
  • Advertised by companies needing an employee to fit a particular role or need
  • A graduate internship is work experience offered by an employer over a fixed period of time. This might be two weeks up to a year.
  • Offered by companies of any size and sector
  • Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) recruit significant numbers of graduates. These firms make up 99% of all UK private sector businesses
  • In some sectors SMEs dominate and so direct entry is the route in. For example within public relations, digital marketing and the environmental sector

Graduate training schemes

  • A structured period of training lasting between one and three years
  • There are general management scheme where you move around the business and then specialise
  • There are functional schemes where you specialise from day one, for example human resources, IT and supply chain management
  • They are offered by companies across a range of sectors including the public sector, accountancy, engineering, IT and telecommunications, retail and pharmaceuticals

The Times Top 100 Graduate Employers 


How can postgraduate students demonstrate their specialist skills?

Direct entry roles and internships

  • Convince the employer that you can ‘hit the ground running’ utilising the additional confidence, experience and independent research skills gained through postgraduate study
  • Try to think about the skills that you’ve developed during your postgraduate course. How were these different to your undergraduate skills? You may be able to offer a deeper insight into the subject area that is relevant to the role or you may have had additional work experience to refer to
  • Read the job description carefully, where can you evidence the skills required from your degree(s), work experience and extracurricular opportunities?

Graduate training schemes

  • Employers recruit both postgraduates and undergraduates. They don't differentiate between them either in their recruitment processes or in their salary offers.
  • Postgraduates need to use their experience to differentiate themselves from the competition. For example at taught postgraduate level highlight skills such as: dealing with complex issues and solving problems, delivering demanding work within tight deadlines,applying knowledge in original and creative ways, and designing, and undertaking short research projects

When and how I can apply?

Direct entry roles and internships

  • Apply after the spring vacation so you could start after your exams
  • The recruitment process is likely to include a CV or application form and an interview
  • Searching for an internship is similar to looking for a full-time graduate job. Look at job sites, employer pages and think about using LinkedIn or social media to do your research and contact employers directly
  • While some graduate internships might be advertised, it can also be worth contacting organisations that align with your career aspirations to find out if they could offer an internship. Utilising platforms such as LinkedIn can be a good way to get in contact with employers.

Graduate training schemes

  • Half of the UK's leading employers now recruit graduates all year round
  • For employers with a single deadline, most are either November, December or January
  • The recruitment process is likely to include an application form, psychometric tests, interviews and an assessment centre

For help and advice head to our Making applications pages where you can find information on CVs, covering letters, application forms and more. 


Where do I find vacancies? 


How much could I earn?

The Pay Index has developed a completely new tool to answer the pressing questions about salaries on most students’ minds:

  • What salary could I earn with my degree?
  • What will be my actual pay after deductions?
  • How will my salary vary across different roles and industries?
  • How much could I earn with a masters or PhD?

Learn more about your options with our online course

Making sense of your graduate employment options

We've created an online course designed to help you explore and understand your graduate career options.

Go to our online course



Careers and Employability Service

University of Nottingham
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