When is the best time to start applying for graduate jobs?

Lara Billington
Content Marketing Executive

When it comes to applying for student or graduate job opportunities, there's a lot to think about. 

From graduate jobs and schemes to industrial placements and internships, working out what to apply for is hard enough, let alone when to apply. If you're not sure where to start, we've done the work for you. 

Here's everything you need to know about when to apply for different student and graduate job opportunities, so you don't miss any important deadlines. 




Graduate Jobs 

Graduate jobs are available all year round, so there's less pressure to have an application in for a certain deadline. Saying that, if you want a job lined up as soon as you've graduated, your best bet is to start looking towards the end of final year (around April - May time). There's often a surge of jobs available around this time, followed by another surge around September and October. If you want a summer of freedom before working life starts you should probably hold back from applying until September, given that most jobs ask you to start as soon as possible. 

If you sign up to GradTouch we'll make the job hunting process much easier - you'll receive tailored alerts all year round when jobs become live that might interest you. So whether you're a final year student who wants to keep tabs on the latest opportunities or you've already graduated and are kick-starting the job hunt, we'll make sure you don't miss out. 


Graduate Schemes

The first thing you should know when deciding whether to apply for a graduate job or scheme is difference between the two - if you're unsure, everything you need to know is right here.

Applications for graduate schemes are usually open for a set period: if you miss them, you might have to wait a while for the chance to apply again. Many schemes open for applications almost a year in advance of them actually starting, around September to October time, and the recruitment process often spans all the way until late spring. This is to allow plenty of time for multiple interview stages, assessment centres and training. Because of this lengthy application process, it's wise to have a think over the summer about what schemes might interest you. 

If you do miss the deadlines, there's no need to worry. Some graduate schemes work on a rolling basis, so you can apply all year round. You also don't have to be straight out of uni to apply for most schemes - as long as you're a graduate, you're eligible to apply to schemes for at least a few years after graduation. 



Internships are a great way to stay productive over the summer break if you're a student, or to boost your CV if you're a graduate who lacks experience in a particular industry. Like graduate jobs, internships are often available all year round, however it's better that you apply sooner rather than later. Particularly if you're a student who can only intern during university holidays, spaces on internships will be competitive; apply early to boost your chances of securing one.


Industrial Placements

The application process for an industrial placement is similar to a grad scheme. Most open in September, so you need to be proactive about applying to ensure you secure the placement you want (especially if it's with a large company). As with graduate schemes, the recruitment process is often long and might include numerous interviews and an assessment centre. They give you good practice for applying to graduate schemes though, and let you get your foot in the door at companies that might end up hiring you come graduation. 


Now you know when to apply for jobs, why not check out GradTouch for all the latest student and graduate opportunities?