Student and Graduate Publishing

How to win a Graduate Scheme Placement

Wednesday, 22 November 2017 12:40

As some of you might be finding out, competition to secure graduate placements is fierce!
There are fewer jobs than ever before and more students applying!  Being successful in a graduate placement requires research, a considered approach and bundles of passion but what else can you do to stand out?We spoke to Dee Clarke, a Senior recruitment manager at Amazon, to find out her top tips for graduates budding to secure a placement.

Do Your Research
Get a full understanding of what the companies you’re applying to work for actually do. Make sure you ask what the day to day work involves, so you can match your skillset - and most importantly – think about whether you’ll enjoy the work. Most UK grad schemes accept graduates from any discipline - the options are huge. Think broadly about all the different sectors available, and what you’d be most suited to and what makes you tick. Go and speak to as many companies and business representatives as you can to make sure you get a full understanding of the role, culture and environment you want to work in.

Tailor Your Approach
Most companies will have a checklist of attributes and core skills that they look for in applicants. If you can find out what they’re looking for in advance, then you can tailor your application to give you the best possible chance. For example, Amazon’s Leadership Principles can be found on our website.

Think Outside the Box
It’s worth casting the net a bit wider and applying for schemes that aren’t advertised on campus. Major industries such as banking, consulting and the public sector have been traditional major players in the campus space but don’t just follow the crowd. Start looking into technology companies, start-ups and alternative employers who offer different career paths.

Engage with graduate recruiters at careers fairs and events to find out as much as possible about the company and the available roles. It’s also worth speaking to past graduates or interns who’ve worked for the company you’re interested in to hear an unbiased perspective of what it’s really like to work there and help demystify the roles

What Do YOU Want?
Think really hard about what you actually want from your career. Ask yourself, do I want to get a big brand on my CV? Do I want the opportunity to work internationally? Do I want high earning potential? A laid back or fast-paced culture? Do I want an informal or formal environment? It’s important you ask yourself all these questions and do a lot of research to ensure you’ll get what you really want out of the role.

Personal Development
Put some time into working on your own personal brand. This includes everything from your attitude, behaviour (both in and out of the workplace, and on social media), and being authentic. Getting feedback from peers can help you to identify your strengths and areas of development. 

Employers want to see you demonstrate that you know your story, have problem solving skills and are self-aware. This comes across quite early on in our phone screening stage of the interviews process, where we ask competency based questions and ask graduates to give key examples of their achievements and examples from extra-curricular activities. 

Dee Clarke is Senior Manager, Campus Recruiting and Global Talent Acquisition at Amazon at Amazon