Job hunting timeline for aspiring IT graduates
We’ve put together a timeline to help you search for IT graduate jobs and internships while you’re in your first, second or final year of university.
What to do in October and November
- Apply for summer internships or placement years for 2018. Some employers won’t take students until their penultimate year, but that’s not the case across the board. Application deadlines can be before Christmas and many recruiters will not wait till the closing date to start filling places.
- Take steps towards actively helping to run a university club or society. You will develop valuable transferable skills.
- Register on targetjobs.co.uk to receive job alerts, get headhunted and save your favourite jobs and internships to your personal dashboard.
- Apply for graduate jobs and schemes. Some have application deadlines before Christmas, while others fill many of their graduate scheme places by then, regardless of the stated closing date.
- If you want to pursue postgraduate study, applying in the autumn term is ideal. Popular courses fill up quickly and for some universities you need to accept a place before you can apply for funding. Funding deadlines vary widely so getting onto a course early may give you more options.
What to do in December, January and February
- Apply for any remaining internships or placement years.
- Do a skills audit. Make a list of the technical and transferable skills you have and where you gained them (eg personal projects, group work). Use this publication to find out where your skills gaps are and decide how you will work on them.
- Keep applying for graduate schemes. Some will accept applications into the new year or have ‘open’ deadlines (though they will still close once they’ve recruited enough people).
- Make any remaining applications for postgraduate study or funding.
- Be prepared for interviews and assessment centres. Ensure you factor in time for assessment centres and interviews alongside your university work. Have a respectable interview outfit at the ready.
What to do in March, April and May
- Got any choice as to your modules or projects for the next academic year? If so, find out which options would tie in best with the work of employers that interest you. You can always phone the company’s recruitment team if this information isn’t provided on its website.
- If you want a trip abroad this summer, consider organising some independent travel, rather than a package holiday. It’s likely to develop your planning and problem-solving skills, which employers will like, and is more likely to provide job-interview-appropriate experiences.
- No luck finding an internship? Investigate other options for the summer vacation. Top of your list should be technology-related experience such as a temp job in IT support or a few days’ work shadowing. However, any role will help you to develop transferable skills.
- Ensure you get through your exams – take a break from job-hunting if need be. With a 2.1 you will be eligible to apply for many more jobs than with a 2.2.
What to do in June and July
- Doing an internship, job or voluntary role? Keep a record of what you do, who you work with, any improvements you make and any challenges you help overcome. This will help with applications and interviews later on.
- If you can’t find any summer job or internship, consider initiating your own IT project for the summer – could you design and develop a website, app or database that would be useful to you or your family and friends?
- Research which IT companies interest you for internships or graduate jobs so you are ready to apply in the autumn. Start with our IT employer hubs.
- Look out for immediate vacancies with small employers who don’t run graduate schemes.
- Find graduate internships via Step (www.step.org.uk) – many employers who use this scheme like to offer good interns permanent jobs.
- See if you can find the odd graduate scheme place still available for the autumn with companies that have struggled to recruit or have had graduates drop out at the last minute.
- Got a job? Give yourself a decent break but make sure you’re prepared for work so as to make a good impression from day one.
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