Searching for a Job

Searching for Graduate Jobs

Getting a job after college is a challenge for most students, but there are opportunities open to graduates. In order to succeed, it is important to have a focused attitude and to put aside time to do your job search. Recent graduates can look for positions in the following:

1. Graduate Recruitment Programmes
2. Open Job Market

Graduate Recruitment Programmes

A Graduate Recruitment Programme is a structured period of employment that includes substantial training, development and support. Some programmes include rotations through various departments within the organisation. Graduate programmes vary in length from 1 to 3 years. There is strong competition for these positions.

When do employers recruit for their graduate programmes?

Many recruit quite early in the year of final study for commencement in June to September of the following year.  Other employers recruit later in the year, and some have more than one intake during the year, while others may have ‘rolling’ recruitment, which means that they recruit continuously.

There is also a trend for some employers to hire graduates who have successfully completed internships within the organisation.

How can I find out which employers offer graduate programmes?

  • Collect the gradireland book advertising graduate programmes from the Careers Service or go directly to the gradireland website.
  • Visit company websites and search under ‘careers’ and ‘jobs’
  • Attend Graduate Recruitment Fairs and meet employers who are promoting their graduate programmes
  • Attend employer presentations on campus

Who can apply?

Students in the final year of their undergraduate or postgraduate studies can apply. Recent graduates are also able to apply – most employers require completion of your degree within two years.

What is the selection process for graduate programmes?

The process can be demanding and requires a lot of preparation.  It pays to do high quality applications and to apply with purpose – employers want to see that you have thought carefully about why you are applying to their organisation and why you are applying for a particular programme.

It is also worth starting your preparation for interviews and assessment centres early so that when you get the call you will be ready.

  • Written application - this is the first step and employers will ask for some combination of online application form, CV and cover letter. After initial application, the process will be slightly different for each employer.
  • Psychometric assessments - online tests which typically assess numeric, verbal and/or abstract reasoning.
  • Assessment Centres - half-day or one-day sessions that involve activities such as group work, interviews, testing and presentations.
  • Interviews – individual interviews may be included in an Assessment Centre or scheduled separately.

The Open Job Market

Small to medium size companies (SMEs) tend to advertise in the open job market.  Job opportunities are found either in the Visible Job Market (advertised jobs) and/or through the  the Hidden Job Market  (positions not advertised).

Visible Job Market

Jobs are advertised both online and through the print media, such as newspapers and industry magazines.  If you are applying for jobs on the open market, make sure that the positions are suitable for graduates, and have titles such as ‘ assistant’, trainee,  ‘junior’ or ‘associate’.

Develop your own list of favourite job links to assist with your job search. Your list of links might include the following:

UK, Scotland and Wales 
Industry-specific sites
Professional Association sites
General Recruitment Websites
National and local newspapers
Jobs on company websites  


Hidden Job Market

Many job opportunities are heard about and found in the Hidden Job Market (jobs not advertised).  Successful networking is the key to assessing the Hidden Job Market.

What is Networking?

Networking for a job means approaching people in your network (person to person or online) for the following reasons:

  • Not to ask for a job, but to ask for advice
  • To seek a referral to someone who might know of job opportunities or be a useful person to talk to about job seeking in your field
  • To get the word out about your skills, achievements and career hopes.

Your network includes everyone you know, both personally and professionally.

Useful Links for Networking:

Watch videos on employers giving career advice:

What help is available?

Graduate Careers Fairs are a great opportunity to meet many employers in one place at one time. This year SETU Carlow is a participation member of the Gradireland Careers Fair

Employer Presentations:  The Careers Service and academic departments arrange employer presentations for students to meet employers in order to learn about graduate opportunities in their company.