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    So we're now well into the initial application time for graduate schemes, and whilst some of you will be happily plodding along with applications, others may well be unclear about what the whole application process entails. So 'Grad Scheme Guides' will be a weekly thread explaining a little about each stage of the process, and some top tricks and tips for each.

    This week is a simple one, just post your questions here, and I'll answer them as best I can, or direct you to someone who can give a full answer. Hopefully we'll get some FAQs out of this, but feel free to ask anything you like, I'm always around to answer. Next week I'll put out a full guide to the stages of the application process with a little bit about what to expect from each, and following from there there will be a weekly in-depth guide to each of the stages.

    Q: When should I start applying?
    I'd recommend starting as early as possible, ideally September or October, but earlier if you spot any schemes you're interested in. The application process has a fair number of stages, and setting yourself up early is a real advantage. It also allows you to focus on university work more as you get later into the year, as you'll have the wheels in motion already, or even have secured a graduate scheme early on if things work out well.

    Q: It's now x month, am I too late to apply for a scheme this year?
    Generally speaking, no. You may have missed the bulk of applications if you leave it late, but there are usually more schemes opening, or previous ones reapplying. However, I would strongly suggest you don't leave things late, as you don't want to reduce your opportunities if you can help it!
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    A minority of graduates will go on to grad schemes. So it is not always the best option for many graduates and there are many more non graduate scheme opportunities out there. It’s just like any big brand, they have the money and resource to shout about their graduate opportunities more so you see them advertised/promoted more often.
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    Hi, I am currently a fourth year undergraduate studying chemistry. I am planning on focus on my studies for the time being and start job hunting only after graduation.

    After seeing a couple of company presentations all talking about grad schemes, it makes me feel that I should be applying for these grad schemes. But most have a deadline between now and March. So all of a sudden, a great amount of pressure bubbled out of nowhere as I feel like if I don't get into a grad scheme when I graduate, I will be much less successful compare to those who have.

    I feel the advertisement makes it sound like if one gets onto a grad scheme, they will have a faster progression in their career compared to those to did not go for a grad scheme. This this true?
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    (Original post by Bookler_Natsu)
    Hi, I am currently a fourth year undergraduate studying chemistry. I am planning on focus on my studies for the time being and start job hunting only after graduation.

    After seeing a couple of company presentations all talking about grad schemes, it makes me feel that I should be applying for these grad schemes. But most have a deadline between now and March. So all of a sudden, a great amount of pressure bubbled out of nowhere as I feel like if I don't get into a grad scheme when I graduate, I will be much less successful compare to those who have.

    I feel the advertisement makes it sound like if one gets onto a grad scheme, they will have a faster progression in their career compared to those to did not go for a grad scheme. This this true?
    Generally grad schemes will allow you to progress faster and feature rotations to different areas/functions compared to a normal graduate level job, hence why they are usually more desirable.

    If you wait until after you graduate you would miss out on the grad schemes starting in 2018. You could get a graduate level job, and apply for schemes starting in 2019 but if you can spare the time I think it's worth applying now.
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    (Original post by Bookler_Natsu)
    Hi, I am currently a fourth year undergraduate studying chemistry. I am planning on focus on my studies for the time being and start job hunting only after graduation.

    After seeing a couple of company presentations all talking about grad schemes, it makes me feel that I should be applying for these grad schemes. But most have a deadline between now and March. So all of a sudden, a great amount of pressure bubbled out of nowhere as I feel like if I don't get into a grad scheme when I graduate, I will be much less successful compare to those who have.

    I feel the advertisement makes it sound like if one gets onto a grad scheme, they will have a faster progression in their career compared to those to did not go for a grad scheme. This this true?
    One reason grad schemes are so desirable is that they tend to offer more support and training than a regular role, which can help with your CV and career development in it's own right. They sometime also offer rotation of roles, so you can experience more of a company, which is especially helpful if you're not 100% sure of the area you want to work in.

    Naturally it's not a guarantee of faster progression, but it does allow you more opportunity for development, in my view, and some schemes offer direct progression into a permanent role once the scheme has completed, which also puts you at an advantage in terms of employment.

    Personally I would recommend putting out some applications if you have the time - a lot of the initial applications, at least, aren't that time consuming, and can take some of the pressure off down the line. From my side, I put out a fair number of application in October/November which took a bit of time, but after that it would come back to one or two things to do for it at most after that, as different companies would take different lengths of time to feedback, so I don't recall it being too overwhelming an addition to my workload!
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    (Original post by Bookler_Natsu)
    Hi, I am currently a fourth year undergraduate studying chemistry. I am planning on focus on my studies for the time being and start job hunting only after graduation.

    After seeing a couple of company presentations all talking about grad schemes, it makes me feel that I should be applying for these grad schemes. But most have a deadline between now and March. So all of a sudden, a great amount of pressure bubbled out of nowhere as I feel like if I don't get into a grad scheme when I graduate, I will be much less successful compare to those who have.

    I feel the advertisement makes it sound like if one gets onto a grad scheme, they will have a faster progression in their career compared to those to did not go for a grad scheme. This this true?
    Not necessarily true - sometimes graduate programmes are quite structured and within large organisations with greater lines of hierarchy. You might find it easier to progress outside of those constraints.
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    Do you know how I can find graduate schemes at SMEs?
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    (Original post by Dominoes)
    Do you know how I can find graduate schemes at SMEs?
    Depends on. what type of job you are looking for and where you are based.
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    (Original post by Dominoes)
    Do you know how I can find graduate schemes at SMEs?
    What sector are you looking in? And are you concerned about the location of it?
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    (Original post by shadowdweller)
    What sector are you looking in? And are you concerned about the location of it?
    accounting and finance. anywhere in england or wales.
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    (Original post by Dominoes)
    accounting and finance. anywhere in england or wales.
    Have you tried Prospects? I'd recommend that as a good place to start!
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    (Original post by Dominoes)
    accounting and finance. anywhere in england or wales.
    Look on the icaew or acca websites for jobs, or LinkedIn.

    But be aware accounting roles in SMEs tend to be quite limited. Due to their size many will outsource accountancy work where it is not the equivalent of a full time job in a SME. If there is someone, then they tend to be experienced/qualified.

    Will be possible in more established and larger SMEs though.
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