Dee Clarke, head of graduate recruitment at Amazon, gives her top tips for students and graduates on how they can win themselves a place on a grad scheme this summer.
"Why enroll on a grad scheme rather than an entry level job? What are the benefits? Well, a grad scheme is essentially a career ramp up. It equips you with the tools and techniques to be successful, plus you benefit from mentorship, guidance and training throughout," Dee says.
"The first two weeks of the Amazon Grad scheme includes a boot camp, which gives you all the training you need to get stuck into the role. This is great, because it allows graduates to be part of a cohort and follow their peers on the same journey. It also provides successful candidates with a valuable lifelong networking group. Rather than starting out alone in a job, people on grad schemes are a part of a community, going through various milestones together, as well as networking and events. Here are my top tips for winning yourself a place on a grad scheme."
1. Go and speak to as many companies as you can to make sure you get a full understanding of the role, culture and environment you want to work in.
2. 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.
3. It’s worth casting the net a bit wider and applying for schemes that aren’t advertised on campus, if you want a greater chance of success.
4. 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.
5. 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? 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.
6. 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.
7. Most companies will have a checklist of attributes 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.
8.Put some time into working on your own internal brand. This includes everything from your attitude, to behaviour (both in and out of the workplace, and on social media), and managing expectations. Employers want to be sure that you’ll keep them up to date with what you’re working on, and to prove this you’ll need to be able to demonstrate that you’re analytical and 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 failures. Successful candidates are always self-aware, humble, authentic, responsible and resilient.