What is a graduate job?

If you’ve started your career exploration journey you may have noticed it’s riddled with jargon. So what’s the difference between a graduate scheme, a graduate job and an entry level job? Something pretty vital to understand in order to begin your application process and work out what you want!

So, as a graduate you can get a graduate job or get a job as a graduate as well as graduate schemes, and entry-level jobs.


What’s the difference and what should you apply for?

This is something pretty unique to you, and can depend on the following factors:

1. Do you want to start earning in a job that’s pretty well suited to your skills and interest, but is not the final destination on your career journey?

This is generally just getting a job as a graduate. These types of jobs don't necessarily require a degree but can be useful as stepping stones and experience to be able to land you the job that you might not be quite ready for right now. This is also a good choice if you want to earn some money to go travelling before you start your ‘dream job’ and don’t have the same freedom to up and leave!


2. Do you want to enter a graduate level-profession?

If you’re looking at going into a career related to your studies, a graduate job is a good option for you. Here, a degree is a standard entry requirement and your studies will have often given you skills you’ll be able to use. Graduate schemes are a great way to learn additional skills and become accredited in professions such as accountancy. Often, such schemes are open to graduates from any degree background.


3. Do you want to get any entry-level job you can get your hands on?

Entry-level job means that anyone, from school leavers to graduates, with no or little work experience in the area can apply. Whilst a degree could be advantageous it’s by no means relevant or necessary. Due to the nature of them, it’s definitely worth considering all of your options before potentially selling yourself short on a possibly risky career move.


So, are you applying for a graduate job OR graduate scheme?

A graduate job simply describes any form of employment of which you must have an honours degree to be hired in. The main difference between this and a graduate scheme is it is more often for an indefinite period, with less of a structured programme and often lacking the element of professional training. This doesn’t go to say that graduate jobs won’t train you at all, it is generally just less of a defined programme.

Typically a graduate scheme usually lasts between 1-3 years, it’s the employers way of producing appropriately trained professionals for their organisation. The scheme will most likely be; highly structured, often with rotations between work, in-house training sessions and sometimes include studying for additional qualifications. Sometimes you’ll also be rotated through various branches of the business so you get a whole feel to the functioning of the company.

If you’re looking at trying to get a foot in the door at a large company its more than likely that a graduate scheme is your way in, especially to professions such as banking, accountancy and construction.

Graduate schemes tend to accept students with a 2:2, as of recently. Some employers have even removed the grade requirements from entry criteria, making their schemes a very accessible route into a career.