Graduate Scheme Advice

Guest blogger, Clare Veal, from the Mars UK Graduate Scheme, gives her advice on getting on a graduate scheme:

I graduated from Lancaster University June 2010 and after a few months holiday I started on the Mars Graduate Scheme. It is a fantastic scheme that I would highly recommend but like any graduate scheme it is very competitive.

The main question that people have asked me regarding graduate schemes is the classic how do I get onto a scheme? So I’ll share my opinion with you now…

How do I get on a grad scheme?

Firstly, start looking early! The summer before final year at Uni is a great time to be looking at potential grad schemes. That way you will have plenty of time to decide which ones you want to apply to. Bear in mind that many schemes have their deadline in December even if they don’t start until the following September. Other schemes may have a fixed quota of applicants that they will accept, so the earlier the better.

Secondly, be targeted in your approach. Everyone recommends this but I think it’s worth reiterating. It’s MUCH better to submit 5 quality applications rather than 25 poor ones. Many of my friends who are on good grad schemes applied to 5 or less. It’s the old quality not quantity argument.

Thirdly, you have to stand out from the very large crowd. Imagine this situation,

Interviewer “tell me about a time when you demonstrated good communication skills.” 

Candidate 1- “we had to give a lot of presentations at uni.”

Candidate 2- “I helped to co-ordinate an aid delivery to Serbia. This involved communicating with 10 other people to ensure everything was organised correctly and shipped to Serbia on time.”

Which candidate do you want to talk to more? It’s vital that you have something different to share with interviewers, this could be: voluntary work, a previous job, a personal challenge undertaken etc.

Lastly, always be prepared to answer why you want to be on a grad scheme and why that particular grad scheme. One of these questions is bound to come up so make sure that you have a good, relevant answer.

Feel free to ask me any questions on here or if you want to chat to some more Mars Grads you can find us on twitter or facebook

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