Graduating in 2021? Now is the best time to start your graduate job hunt

Sally Bracegirdle
Head of Marketing

If you’re not due to graduate until next year, we know that it probably seems way too soon to start thinking about applying for graduate jobs.

At this point, with another year of university ahead of you and a global pandemic going on, it’s perfectly normal if you’re still not even sure what you want to do just yet.

But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start taking steps to get your job hunt going.



Why do you need to start looking for graduate jobs so far in advance?

Lots of graduate jobs – particularly graduate schemes – open for applications months, sometimes nearly a whole year before they actually get started, and many of them are only open for a very short period of time. If you miss your chance to apply, you’ll usually have to wait another year for your next opportunity.   

Between the months of September and December lots of the UK’s biggest employers (and some smaller ones too) will begin recruiting for next year’s intake of graduates.

They start hiring so far in advance because their screening processes are often quite long, with multiple stages of interviews, assessment centres and training days to get through before the programme commences.

It's not just graduate schemes, either. CV-boosting internships and placements tend to pop up throughout the academic year. They rarely hang around for long, so you need to have your job hunt in gear to avoid missing out.

This year more than ever, with lots of economic uncertainty caused by the coronavirus, even if you’re not quite sure what it is you’re looking for yet, it’s going to be really important for you to know what’s out there. Believe us when we say there’s nothing worse than discovering a job you like the sound of after it’s already closed for applications.


How to get your graduate job hunt started.

First things first, give your CV a refresh before your final year starts. It's one of those tasks that's easy to put off, so better to do it now while you have a bit more time than waiting until you're under pressure to do it before a job's application deadline. You can find lots of CV writing advice here.

If you think you already have a good idea of what you want to do after university, then you can make things really easy for your future self by getting a lot of the job hunting admin out of the way now.

Sign yourself up for job alerts on careers websites to ensure you never miss an opportunity that matches your preferences.

If there’s a particular employer you’ve got your eye on, follow their social media accounts and have a look on their website to see if they have a careers page where you can subscribe to job updates. If they don’t, be proactive and send them a message to enquire about whether they’re going to be hiring graduates soon and when.

If you’re undecided on your future career, it’s best not to leave it until you’ve graduated to work it out; start looking what's out there now and, who knows, you might just stumble across an opportunity you didn’t realise you wanted.

Some websites, like GradTouch, allow you to sign up and instead of selecting your career preferences you can say “I don’t know, inspire me”. Then you’ll receive advice and inspiration to help you come to a decision.

Also, speak to your university’s careers service sooner rather than later. They should have access to a wealth of resources to help you figure things out, and they might also be able to signpost you to exclusive opportunities with employers who are specifically looking for graduates from your university.

Finally, get your LinkedIn account sorted if you haven’t already. Not only will you be able to browse jobs advertised on there, but you’ll also be able to network with other students, graduates and employers. Building your profile on LinkedIn can be a great way to stand out to employers and ask for advice from a more diverse pool of people.


Tick the first step of getting your graduate job hunt going off your list right now by creating a free GradTouch account.

Once your profile is set up, we'll email you every time a job that matches your preferences becomes available, so that you always know what's out there and when to apply.