Students Staff
University of Essex

August 23, 2012


Filed under: Newsletters — Dee Hardcastle @ 3:24 pm

TOP TIP: You can catch us on Twitter @UoE_Careers as well as on facebook

Recruitment of graduates is an annual cycle, and it’s just starting over again for 2013 opportunities. That doesn’t mean there aren’t lots of opportunities still open to you right now, but it does mean that if you missed out on any graduate schemes last year, some are already open and accepting applications. Read on to find out more.

Job spot

Sainsbury’s Trainee Manager Programe

The supermarket has re-launched the programme to build on the success of last year, with 150 new places available.

Trainees will spend a year learning every aspect of how to run a Sainsbury’s department while being mentored by an experienced store manager. After this time successful trainees will have the knowledge and skills to become a department manager – a key role which involves overseeing a large team and a multi million pound budget in one of the 1,000 stores across the country.

Got at least a 2:1? As well as the Trainee Manager programme, as part of their ‘2020 Leaders’ scheme, there are Commercial, Operations and People programmes covering routes into areas like Buying, Marketing, Human Resources, Customer Service, Communications and Corporate Responsibility. They also have their ‘Own Brand Scheme’  for you science graduates with an interest in food.  

Other graduate schemes

Lots of employers have already started recruiting for their 2013 graduate schemes, targetting recent graduates and final year students, including BT, TeachFirst, Ernst & Young, Barclays, Unilever and KPMG for example.

Careers Adviser’s top tip

Don’t give up

Ever applied for a job and wondered why you didn’t get any response? Don’t be disheartened! It’s become common practice for employers only to contact job applicants they have decided to interview.

In a recent report by the Prince’s Trust, following a survey of about 3000 16-30 year olds, more than two in five regarded finding a job over the next year as “unachievable”, with three in five describing job hunting as “demoralising”.

Not having any response at all when you apply for a job can be frustrating and can feel like rejection, but it’s important not to take it personally when you don’t hear from an employer. Due to the competitiveness of the labour market and the volume of applicants for most jobs, employers simply don’t have the resources to respond to everyone. Some employers will even state when they advertise jobs that if you don’t hear from them by a certain date, then you haven’t been shortlisted. But if not, and you don’t get a response, it doesn’t mean your application was terrible, it’s just likely that on that occasion there were more suitable applicants than you. Keep trying and tailoring your application or CV to the role, and eventually you will be one of the applicants whose knowledge, skills and experience match what the employer is looking for and get invited for interview.

That said, you can always take your chances in following up with the employer if you are unsuccessful and requesting feedback on your application. Some will be willing to offer advice on why you weren’t shortlisted, which can help you to improve future job applications. Good luck!

What’s new?

Funding for graduate law studies

The College of Law is launching a Gold Awards scheme, providing up to £3,000 for top performing graduates keen to enter the legal profession by undertaking the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL).

The GDL gives non-law graduates an entry route into law professions. Students who have achieved a first class honours undergraduate degree in any subject or a distinction at Masters level and wish to study the GDL at the College starting in September 2012 or January 2013 can apply for one of the 60 awards on offer.

The Gold Awards are open to students who accept a place on the course at any of the College’s eight centres nationwide by 16 August and will go towards the cost of their tuition fees. The aim of the scheme is to attract top class, non-law students to the legal profession.

Eligible students should email for information on how to apply.

Are you ready?

If you’re still reading this newsletter, the likelihood is that you’re one of the many graduates who have put off applying for jobs until after graduation, and are still looking. As outlined above, many large graduate recruiters are already accepting applications for their 2013 programmes. Did you know that many other large employers start their recruitment cycle between now and Christmas, often with tight deadlines? Competition will be fierce as always, with organised final year students and postgraduates applying too, but by being prepared you can maximise your potential of securing a job. 

In past issues we’ve dealt with things like being flexible and creative in your approach to job hunting, and considering SMEs, which are really important, but many of you may still be keen on securing a place on a graduate scheme, to join a large company offering training and the scope to develop your professional career. It’s worth pointing out at this stage that quite a few graduate schemes require at least a 2:1 for entry (some also stipulate minimum UCAS points requirements), but some will accept a 2:2 so it’s worth checking the entry requirements if you’re in that category and are interested. 

While the websites used by large graduate recruiters (Prospects, Milkround and Targetjobs to name a few) may seem rather sparse at the moment, from now onwards they will be flooded with opportunities. So if a graduate scheme is your goal, and if you’re well prepared, one of these opportunities could be yours. 

One of the most important steps in preparing to make applications is to do your research. Firstly, analyse all the graduate schemes that appeal to you and prioritise the ones you feel really match your expectations. Making an effective application takes time, so making an effort with a few is more likely to lead to success than rushing through lots of them. Secondly, being in a position to indicate to an employer that you fully understand the role you’re applying for, and that you have done your homework on their organisation, is sure to impress. Employers offering graduate schemes generally make this easy for you by having a careers section on their website detailing their opportunities, as well as things like the history of the organisation and their values, achievements and goals. Swot up on these and you will be a step ahead of the game, and ready to give a convincing answer when they ask you why you want the job. 

It’s also important to believe in yourself when you apply and to show the employer that you are confident you could do the job. Are you more inclined to start sentences about your experience and skills with “I’ve haven’t really done much of…” or with “I’ve developed some experience of that through doing…”? Be as positive as you can. Employers will be interested in your potential, so even if you’re experience in something is minimal, it’s worth highlighting it rather than making light of it, and show them that you are interested and willing to learn.  Look at the skills big employers are likely to require and have positive examples at the ready to demonstrate that you’ve got them. 

Finally, review all the tips and advice we’ve provided in these newsletters, from tailoring your applications to practicing psychometric tests and you should be ready to click apply and make effective applications when employers with graduate schemes that interest you start recruiting. 

To unsubscribe from this newsletter, please send an email to with ‘unsubscribe gradfocus’ as the subject. To change the email address you provided to receive this newsletter, please use ‘update gradfocus’ as the subject.


August 8, 2012


Filed under: Newsletters — Dee Hardcastle @ 3:08 pm



It’s August already! The summer is flying by and there are still lots of opportunities for new graduates. In this issue we’ve got some tips on using your social networking skills to investigate employers and find opportunities, and we’re also highlighting the potential of considering less well known employers in your job hunting.

Job Spot

Are you a UK citizen or resident with fluent Arabic or Persian? An office of the US Embassy London is recruiting for Current Affairs Officers. Duties will include coverage of media developments and breaking news, production of translations and multimedia, web content management, research, and written analysis. The starting salary is at least £27,000. Closing date is 20 August. Interested? Full details on JobsOnline, search current affairs.

Don’t meet the criteria for the vacancy above? Check out JobsOnline anyway, there are lots of live graduate vacancies listed, with more being added daily.

For wider vacancies, check out graduate vacancy sites such as milkround, prospects and TARGETjobs as all still have live graduate vacancies, many with deadlines in August. There are opportunities GCHQ, Siemens, Deloitte, ITV, Rolls-Royce, Thales, Arcadia Group, Bloomberg, PwC, Abercrombie & Fitch, EDF Energy, Logica, BskyB, Heineken, Danone, Shell, Capital One, FDM, Majestic Wine, Next and many more.

Careers Adviser’s top tip

Make the most of social media

Networking can be the key to getting hired, taking advantage of people you know, contacts through family and friends and making a good impression at events such as careers fairs. But did you ever think you’d be using your social networks to look for a job?  Employers are increasingly using social media to recruit and there are constant developments enabling them to promote opportunities.

While there are new social media sites popping up all the time, indications are that LinkedIn and Twitter are the most effective for actual job hunting.

LinkedIn is a professional social network, allowing you to have a CV style profile and the potential to join groups related to your career area, connect and network with professionals and search for jobs. While it tends to work best for experienced professionals, it is also good for graduates to research companies and people, and is likely to be more widely used as more students and graduates engage.

Twitter is widely used by people both advertising and seeking vacancies. Where it excels is in terms of making connections, making a good impression and building relationships which can lead to finding opportunities. 

However, as with all job search options, there are do’s and don’ts! It’s important to keep your personal and professional networking separate. There’s a mine of information online to help you to use these resources effectively – here are some useful sources to help you get started:  

 Graduate guide to LinkedIn

 Getting a job through twitter

Remember, it’s not all about LinkedIn and Twitter. Facebook is increasingly used by organisations to promote their graduate opportunities and to engage with potential applicants, including providing advice and tips on their selection processes. You can also explore potential employers through other media such as relevant blogs, YouTube and Google + to name but a few. So get networking!

What’s new

Channel 4 launch PhD scholarship scheme

Channel 4’s Audience Technology and Insight department want to build a team of technical analysts to deeply mine the data they collect from viewers. The media industry is moving towards big data platforms with real time & predictive analytics.

They are looking to invest in upcoming talent and graduates that have the raw skills and technical training, but perhaps lack the practical experience in industry. Successful candidates will study part-time for a PhD/MPhil in Statistics at University College London alongside their role, on a salary of £30,000.

Diane Herbert, Director of HR at Channel 4 said: “We are incredibly passionate about providing opportunities for people enthusiastic about a career in the media industry, regardless of their experience or background. The Scholarship Programme is just one of Channel 4’s work related initiatives designed to help people into their desired career.”


They are looking for candidates with 1st class or 2.1 BSc degree, or an MSc with merit or distinction in mathematics, statistics, computer science, or a related quantitative discipline.


Don’t hang about if you’re interested, the deadline for applications is midnight on 15 August. See to apply.

Think it’s all about graduate schemes? Think SMEs 

You may, like many, be wondering, what SMEs are? That would be Small and Medium Enterprises, referring to all private businesses with fewer than 250 employees. Approximately 99.9% of all UK businesses are SMEs, and about 60% of private sector employees work in SMEs. The South East has the largest number of enterprises with 16.3% as compared to London’s 15.8%. If you are not already considering SMEs as potential employers, think about how much of the labour market you could be missing out on.

There are SMEs in most industries, and some sectors are dominated by SMEs. Some of the key areas include:

  • Advertising, sales, marketing and PR
  • Charity and not-for-profit
  • Construction and engineering
  • Fine arts, performing arts and design
  • Hospitality, leisure and tourism
  • Human resources and recruiting
  • Information Technology
  • Law
  • Logistics and transport
  • Management and consulting
  • Media and publishing
  • Science, research and development

Given the nature of a SME, it won’t come as a surprise that they don’t generally share the recruitment and advertising budgets of large employers, so you won’t find their opportunities on the big graduate recruitment sites like Prospects, Target Jobs and Milkround for example. Finding jobs with SMEs may require more effort on your part, but could lead to just the right opportunities for you, especially if you prefer the idea of being a big fish in a small pond, rather than the other way around, or if you’d just rather stay local to where you live.

So how can you go about finding a job with an SME?

Firstly, do some research. Find out what employers are based in your area or in the area you’d like to work. A quick start would be a search using an online directory e.g. Yell or try the Federation of Small Businesses directory. You could also try searching via your local authority, as most have information on local enterprises, such as a business directory. If the sector you’re interested in has a Sector Skills Council or an industry body, these could also be valuable sources of information and support.

Once you’ve found employers you think would interest you, check if they have a website to find out more about them, they may have a careers or jobs section. Also see if they are active on social media pages like facebook, twitter and LinkedIn. Other possible sources of vacancies with SMEs include specific job sites for their industries, or specialist publications for the sector. Recruitment agencies may also source talent on behalf of SMEs, but if you use this approach, it’s not enough just to register. You need to speak to your Recruitment Consultant regularly to let them know you’re actively seeking work so they keep you in mind when suitable opportunities come up.

The other approach you can take is to make a speculative application. Thoroughly research the employer you’d like to work for, think about what you could offer them and tailor your CV to emphasise this. Then in your covering letter, tell them why you are contacting them, why you are interested in working for them and what you think you could bring to their business. Even if they don’t have an immediate opportunity they may keep you in mind. You could also use the opportunity to inquire about work experience as well as job vacancies. See the Essex CV to make sure your  CV and covering letter make the best possible impression.

Don’t forget, employers can advertise free via the Employability and Careers Centre so keep an eye on Jobsonline. You can also access opportunities through our Internships team, these are usually with SMEs. If you identify an employer you’d like to work for, you could try getting a foot in the door to impress them through an internship. If you email your CV and details of the employer you’re interested in to they may be able to help you by contacting the employer on your behalf. For more information and current opportunities see their facebook page.

To unsubscribe from this newsletter, please send an email to with ‘unsubscribe gradfocus’ as the subject. To change the email address you provided to receive this newsletter, please use ‘update gradfocus’ as the subject.