Archive Website of the UK government

Please note that this website has a UK government accesskeys system.

Archive brought to you by Cross Stitch UK

Main menu

Wednesday, 3 October 2023

Graduate careers

There’s plenty of advice available to graduates on careers, jobs and placements. This includes online resources to help you research your options, and personal support from your university or college careers service.

Career planning for graduates: getting started

If you’re unsure about what you want to do, try using the Prospects Planner - a tool to help you identify your skills, interests and motivations, then match them to job types. There’s also career planning advice in Cross & Stitch’s employment section.

Opportunities for ‘BAME’ graduates

Get 'Moving on': a guide to employability for black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) students and graduates

Need advice on your options?

For advice from a trained professional, contact your university or college careers service. You’re also likely to find details of job vacancies and placements, and help with applications, CVs and interview technique.

Help is usually available to former students for some time after graduation, as well as to current students. If you’ve moved away since graduating, they’ll tell you what services are available at universities and colleges nearer to you.

The Prospects website has contact details for university and college careers services - and lets you search for services specific to graduates.

Making the best use of your higher education qualification

If you’re interested in exploring the types of career your course might pave the way for, the careers service and academic staff at your university or college will be able to advise you.

Before you start looking for a job, it’s worth checking that you’ve considered all your options. If you’ve focused on a particular area of work up to now, are there any related careers that could increase your options – and improve your chances?

Many graduate vacancies are open to graduates with degrees in any subject. However, finding out what other graduates in your subject are doing can be a good way of getting ideas. You’ll find plenty of resources online to help you do it.

Finding a job or placement

Graduate Talent Pool

Graduate Talent Pool

Search for internship vacancies in England

As well as contacting your university or college careers service, you can search for jobs online, in newspapers or in trade journals. It can also pay to contact employers directly and find out if they have any vacancies.

Another way to gain entry to the world of work is by doing a placement or internship, such as those posted through Graduate Talent Pool. This service offers internships for graduates who graduated with at least a degree or Foundation Degree between 2008 and 2011.

Career development and keeping your skills up to date

Learning shouldn’t stop once you’ve broken into the career you want. Up-to-date skills and knowledge are as important for graduates as they are for everyone else.

This might be as simple as taking an interest in what's happening in your field – reading the trade press, for example. Or it might involve training or further study leading to a professional qualification.

How to keep your skills up to date

Keep an eye on how your industry is changing: this is key to knowing which skills are in demand. For example, check job advertisements for a sense of what employers want.

It’s also worth contacting your trade or professional association. An increasing number emphasise the importance of ‘Continuing Professional Development’ (CPD), and some have programmes to help members develop their skills.

If you’re not sure which is the right trade or professional body for your industry, you can check with your university or college careers service.

Training and further study

Your employer may offer opportunities to develop your skills - or you may want to improve your career prospects by arranging training for yourself.

If you need a specific qualification to get the job you want, make sure your course is recognised by the profession. And even if you’re not doing a course because it’s essential for your chosen career, it’s worth thinking about the kind of qualification on offer. If it’s widely recognised, employers may be more likely to give you credit for your new knowledge and skills.

Support for black, Asian and minority ethnic students and graduates

If you’re a black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME) student or graduate, there’s lots of specialist careers advice and support available. For example, some organisations run dedicated internship schemes for BAME applicants.

You can also get advice from specialist careers magazines, recruitment fairs and networking associations.

For details of these - plus advice on what to do if you’ve experienced discrimination as a student or graduate - download ‘Moving On: a guide to employability for BAME students and graduates’.

Other options for graduates

As well as jobs and placements, there are plenty of other options for graduates. For example, you could take your studies further with a postgraduate course or research opportunity, or embark on a Knowledge Transfer Partnership.

Access keys