Your final year of university poses a lot of tough dilemmas. Who do you spend your final terms living with? How will you balance socialising with your toughest stretch of studying? And of course, at the end of it all, do you opt for a graduate scheme or an entry-level job?
It’s totally normal not to have a clear idea of where you want to go at this stage, however, comparing the pros and cons of graduate schemes and entry-level jobs might make your decision a little easier.
If you’re busy considering all the various financial options available to you for after your final year, then it’s worth knowing that you’re more likely to be offered a higher starting salary on a graduate scheme than with an entry-level job. You’ll also go through structured training and may even come out the other side with professional qualifications.
Many graduate schemes work in rotation, giving you the opportunity to see multiple different areas of a business and reflect this experience on your CV. All these benefits make graduate schemes extremely competitive, however — and there’s no guarantee of a permanent job at the end.
If you’re keen to get stuck in straight away, you could do just that with a graduate job. They offer an extra degree of stability, too — you’ll be hired to perform a defined role, and if all goes well, you’ll keep your place as long as you choose to.
You might find yourself working longer hours on a graduate scheme in order to get ahead. This is because you may end up in competition with other graduates for a permanent position at the end of your temporary contract.
In some respects, graduate jobs can be a better option if you’ve not fully made your mind up on what career route you want to take. They don’t tie you as closely to spending years in one specific field, and you may find that an area you enjoyed studying is an area you enjoy working in a little less.
You can also apply for graduate jobs all year round, so there’s less pressure to submit your application within a set window. That being said, graduate jobs aren’t as well advertised, and you may have to put your networking skills to the test to find your way in.
Do you have clear plans after university? If you have your eyes set on where you want to go, a graduate scheme could offer the kind of progression you’re looking for. For a little more choice, however, think about trying your hand at an entry-level job.