The Student Room Group

Losing hope on graduate scheme apps

I've applied to numerous grad schemes. Some have gotten back to me saying that their applications are closed despite showing otherwise. Many are entry level and require experience I don't have as I've just graduated. No one has replied to me after two weeks of constant applications. If I receive any acknowledgement, it's never followed up. I have received one rejection straight away without even an interview - this is despite the fact I have good grades, demonstrated relevant experience and skills in my projects, read the job description, and tailored my CV and cover letter meticulously.

I am beginning to feel like I'm applying to these jobs for no reason, I've asked for feedback on my one rejection however I doubt I will even get that. I'm not applying to highly competitive companies - these are specialist engineering/consulting firms so it feels even more personal.

I don't know how to learn/ adapt with the overwhelming lack of response from any of these companies, what should I do? I know rejection is a normal part of the job process but that's all it seems to be for me so far. I have read into these non responses as a quiet rejection.
Reply 1
Original post by roo13
I've applied to numerous grad schemes. Some have gotten back to me saying that their applications are closed despite showing otherwise. Many are entry level and require experience I don't have as I've just graduated. No one has replied to me after two weeks of constant applications. If I receive any acknowledgement, it's never followed up. I have received one rejection straight away without even an interview - this is despite the fact I have good grades, demonstrated relevant experience and skills in my projects, read the job description, and tailored my CV and cover letter meticulously.

I am beginning to feel like I'm applying to these jobs for no reason, I've asked for feedback on my one rejection however I doubt I will even get that. I'm not applying to highly competitive companies - these are specialist engineering/consulting firms so it feels even more personal.

I don't know how to learn/ adapt with the overwhelming lack of response from any of these companies, what should I do? I know rejection is a normal part of the job process but that's all it seems to be for me so far. I have read into these non responses as a quiet rejection.
Are these graduate schemes (development programmes etc.) or entry level jobs? From the ones I've looked at, at least, it's pretty unusual for graduate schemes to demand experience as a requirement (most say it would be 'advantageous'), and at the very least you should be getting to the online assessment stage if you satisfy the degree requirements.
Reply 2
Original post by Pedr0
Are these graduate schemes (development programmes etc.) or entry level jobs? From the ones I've looked at, at least, it's pretty unusual for graduate schemes to demand experience as a requirement (most say it would be 'advantageous'), and at the very least you should be getting to the online assessment stage if you satisfy the degree requirements.
Thanks for the reply. You're right - grad schemes don't require experience. However since I've not been having any luck in getting to the interview stage for the ones I've applied to, I've turned my attention to grad jobs. However I don't think there is such thing. They are just called entry level jobs, many of which require 3-5 years of experience.
Reply 3
Original post by roo13
Thanks for the reply. You're right - grad schemes don't require experience. However since I've not been having any luck in getting to the interview stage for the ones I've applied to, I've turned my attention to grad jobs. However I don't think there is such thing. They are just called entry level jobs, many of which require 3-5 years of experience.
Yes unfortunately the job market is in a state right now, entry level jobs should be for those with no experience but nowadays even people with multiple years of experience are applying to them, and are obviously preferred. If you have relevant experience and a good CV try and contact recruiters, they can recommend you to employers and at least get you to the interview stage.

Also, if the assessment stage is where you're getting filtered out for grad schemes, there are practice tests you can do for the verbal/logical/numerical reasoning type tests that are really helpful.
Reply 4
Original post by Pedr0
Yes unfortunately the job market is in a state right now, entry level jobs should be for those with no experience but nowadays even people with multiple years of experience are applying to them, and are obviously preferred. If you have relevant experience and a good CV try and contact recruiters, they can recommend you to employers and at least get you to the interview stage.
Also, if the assessment stage is where you're getting filtered out for grad schemes, there are practice tests you can do for the verbal/logical/numerical reasoning type tests that are really helpful.

Not so much the psychometric tests - for many of the schemes / jobs I apply to I don't hear back or I get rejected at the online application stage. Not sure if it's because I'm applying to many of them late or if its my CV/pre screening questions. I'd like to think its the former, since I've put a lot of effort into the latter part. At this point I feel like I'm applying to just get rejected, which sucks. I'm about 100+ applications in, being selective enough in what I apply to and making sure I understand the role and say how I could be a good fit etc., but the strategy is not faring well for me. I have improved certain aspects of my application like making my CV more succinct and include more specific keywords for ATS but alas.
(edited 2 weeks ago)
Reply 5
Original post by roo13
Not so much the psychometric tests - for many of the schemes / jobs I apply to I don't hear back or I get rejected at the online application stage. Not sure if it's because I'm applying to many of them late or if its my CV/pre screening questions. I'd like to think its the former, since I've put a lot of effort into the latter part. At this point I feel like I'm applying to just get rejected, which sucks. I'm about 100+ applications in, being selective enough in what I apply to and making sure I understand the role and say how I could be a good fit etc., but the strategy is not faring well for me. I have improved certain aspects of my application like making my CV more succinct and include more specific keywords for ATS but alas.

that's a shame, I'm also inclined to think that it might be because you're applying later on in the recruitment cycle as when i was doing grad scheme apps around wintertime i was getting to the psychometric test stage on nearly all of them
are these ones with a 'rolling' or 'ongoing' deadline cause maybe those ones have nearly filled their quota by now?

You did engineering at uni right? i've linked below some grad schemes with a set deadline (rather than rolling). assuming these are suitable for the degree you did and you haven't already applied for them, hopefully you'll have a better chance cause they'll probably have only opened recently - i got a couple of these in an email alert for 'new positions' from gradcracker last week

https://www.gradcracker.com/hub/536/bouygues-uk/graduate-job/60832/graduate-civil-engineer
https://www.gradcracker.com/hub/262/uk-power-networks/graduate-job/60826/graduate-civil-design-engineer
https://www.gradcracker.com/hub/44/stantec/graduate-job/60285/graduate-civil-engineer-2024
https://www.gradcracker.com/hub/67/sellafield-ltd/graduate-job/60936/civil-engineering-graduate-programme-2024
https://www.gradcracker.com/hub/1249/binnies/graduate-job/58408/graduate-civil-engineer-water-utilities
https://www.gradcracker.com/hub/113/babcock-international-group/graduate-job/54604/civil-and-structural-engineering-graduate-programme
https://www.gradcracker.com/hub/106/atkins/graduate-job/54383/civil-and-structural-engineering-graduate-scheme
https://www.gradcracker.com/hub/106/atkins/graduate-job/54400/ground-engineering-and-tunnelling-graduate-scheme
Reply 6
I’ve learnt to avoid rolling deadlines, I only apply to things with a defined end date now. I’ve tried a few things - recruiters, networking, job sites. Recruiters lose interest in you after a while, trying to network gets tiresome and people don’t want to talk to you. Don’t really know what to do anymore tbh. I have no reason to believe the next 100 applications will be any different but I suppose I can’t spiral and give up.

Thanks for the links btw, that’s nice of you.
Reply 7
I feel you on that honestly. Recruiters were mostly useless for me, 90% of the time I got an initial call and then get ghosted after they'd promised to forward my details. I did get a couple interviews but each time didn't get the job. Applying to regular graduate jobs on Indeed and LinkedIn was a complete and utter waste of time, I might as well have been throwing my CV into the void, literally zero responses, same issue as you they were all looking for experience I just didn't have. For me the graduate development programmes were really the only place I got anywhere with my applications, since lacking 'real world' experience didn't just automatically disqualify me like it did the regular 'entry level jobs'.

As someone who a few months ago was also close to just giving up altogether I would urge you to keep trying grad scheme apps a little while longer at least. This is gonna sound like a useless platitude (and of course i've probably got survivorship bias since I somehow got through the whole application process, I'm aware plenty aren't so lucky) but you genuinely never can tell with these things, even if you think the next 10 or 100 applications you do will be more of the same, one of those could be the one where it finally comes together

hope it all works out for you 🙏🙏🙏
Go speak to your university careers team.

Make sure you are tailoring for the job roles, as well as the company and you are using knowledge that demonstrates a genuine passion and interest i.e. not just information you find off google/youtube.

Through a hundred applications you should have made it through to several final round interviews and as such you must have a weakness or error you need to build on.

In the mean time continue to build your CV with relevant skills/volunteering/moocs for the industry you are applying for and a non grad job of some kind to bolster your resume.
Reply 9
Original post by mnot
Go speak to your university careers team.
Make sure you are tailoring for the job roles, as well as the company and you are using knowledge that demonstrates a genuine passion and interest i.e. not just information you find off google/youtube.
Through a hundred applications you should have made it through to several final round interviews and as such you must have a weakness or error you need to build on.
In the mean time continue to build your CV with relevant skills/volunteering/moocs for the industry you are applying for and a non grad job of some kind to bolster your resume.

Some solid advice. Although as mentioned I've been tailoring my cover letters - not simply whittling off some random facts about the company. I mention their projects/culture/achievements and explaining how this appeals to me and my desired path. I've ditched cover letters on the most part now since I would spend excessive time on every new application just to get rejected anyway. My CV has had at least 6 eyes on them, one of them being a recruiter who's told me he sees nothing I'm lacking. Mentioned my part time job which I've held for 8 years, extra curriculars, various volunteering etc. So as far as content or presentation, I really don't know what to do differently.
Reply 10
Original post by Pedr0
I feel you on that honestly. Recruiters were mostly useless for me, 90% of the time I got an initial call and then get ghosted after they'd promised to forward my details. I did get a couple interviews but each time didn't get the job. Applying to regular graduate jobs on Indeed and LinkedIn was a complete and utter waste of time, I might as well have been throwing my CV into the void, literally zero responses, same issue as you they were all looking for experience I just didn't have. For me the graduate development programmes were really the only place I got anywhere with my applications, since lacking 'real world' experience didn't just automatically disqualify me like it did the regular 'entry level jobs'.
As someone who a few months ago was also close to just giving up altogether I would urge you to keep trying grad scheme apps a little while longer at least. This is gonna sound like a useless platitude (and of course i've probably got survivorship bias since I somehow got through the whole application process, I'm aware plenty aren't so lucky) but you genuinely never can tell with these things, even if you think the next 10 or 100 applications you do will be more of the same, one of those could be the one where it finally comes together
hope it all works out for you 🙏🙏🙏

Thank you. I think if I get anything it will be pure luck. If worst comes to worst I'll start applying to grad schemes in August. I hope it doesn't come to that. I'm glad you found a way, it's comforting to know it's happening to others too.

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