Graduate Blog

So, what exactly IS a ‘Graduate Job’?


Throughout university life, most students’ underlying focus, aside from partying and fancy dress, is that of their career goal, that magical position that you want to secure upon completing your studies. For some of us, it’s as easy as 1-2-3, having known our ultimate ambition since being out of nappies and being able to comprehensively put it into words. For the rest, it can be more difficult, often being a trial and error process before realising where you want to be in the world, with perhaps more than one tear shed in the process. One thing however, is certain, and that is that you want achieve your best, in order to have the best future prospects possible. And that leads us on to the wonderful world of the Graduate Career.

It’s a phrase that’s familiar amongst all university establishments, from the Careers Department through to online chat rooms, from Tutors to parents – all these different people and places stressing the importance of the ‘Graduate Job’! We are all well aware of the highly sought after Graduate Schemes offered by some of the larger, well known organisations, offering a tantalisingly attractive salary (even more so, if your experience at university has left you hoping to never buy Smart Price loo roll or ‘Vodka flavoured spirit’ again, EVER), and a structured training programme. But what of the ‘other’ Graduate Jobs, those not so publicly brandished around and promoted? Further pondering of the subject prompts me even further to question – what exactly is a ‘Graduate Job’?

Having worked previously in student and graduate recruitment, the question was often debated between the four walls of our office. Historically, a Graduate Job was a job that required a degree in order to enter the profession; however this no longer seems to be the case. Do your research and you find that there are now other routes into careers (albeit often lengthier) not all requiring an initial university degree. Recent research has classified Graduate Jobs under four headings, and each individual will have their own unique interpretation of the question.

We however came up with the following: A Graduate Job is simply a job that is done by a Graduate. Sounds daft doesn’t it? Let me explain…. I believe a Graduate Job is a role that you undertake following your graduation, one which your degree undoubtedly helped you to secure and one that takes those initial steps into the career direction that you hope to take. If you feel that your work enables you to use the skills you acquired at university, whilst pushing you forward to learn new ones and providing further challenges or progression, then this satisfies what I would call a Grad-Job.

If you’ve managed to reach the end of my somewhat puzzling and complicated attempt to define the words, you’ve probably already started to make your own (and probably better) conclusions with regards to the topic. But by looking at it in a similar light, you recognise the importance of these ‘other’ jobs. So you didn’t make it onto the Audit Programme of that Top 10 Company you applied for and instead have secured an Auditing role with a local high street company? Big deal – chances are, your role gives you more variety, more time to focus on you and your skills, and less other competition between you and the top – and isn’t that what we all want?

About the Author

Rachel Hill Rachel Hill

My name is Rachel and I have been lucky enough to study at two UK Universities. I first studied Law at Leeds Metropolitan and then went on to study at Masters in Management and Human Resource Management at Nottingham Trent. I now work as an HR Assistant and hope eventually to become a fully qualified HR Officer, having a particular interest in Learning and Development.

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