April 16, 2018, by Carla Froggatt
Studying STEM? How to Find Your Ideal Graduate Opportunity
By Gradcracker, the UK’s careers website for STEM students; intro by Chris Jones, Senior Careers Adviser – Faculties of Science and Engineering
As a Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) student, you and your skills are in high demand across many sectors. Scientific, engineering and technical fields need you as well as broader occupational areas, where employers of all kinds value the analytical, problem solving and other transferable skills you have to offer.
This can make it difficult to decide just where and how you would like to apply your skills and start your career. Do you want to do something closely related to your degree, and if so in what area? Do you want to do something where you will use the broader transferable skills from your course?
If you’re interested in STEM-related careers, but unsure what industry, employer or sector you’d like to work with, read Gradcracker’s step-by-step guide below to find your ideal STEM job opportunity.
Choosing the industry you want to work in
Your first step is deciding which industry you’d like to go into. You may already have your heart set on a certain area, or feel daunted by the vast range on offer.
One way to start might be to think about your degree course. What industry sectors require your skills? Do employers within those sectors regularly recruit from your discipline? Which of these industrial sectors appeal to you the most? Which of the employers within your preferred sector/s offer you the most attractive career pathways?
You might be surprised by how many options are open to you.
Top Tip: You can use Gradcracker to search through each STEM industry sector, and view the companies and opportunities it encompasses.
Doing company research
Once you’ve found your ideal industry, make a shortlist of the possible companies that you want to apply to. Try to broaden your horizons by being flexible about location. And remember that smaller employers (SMEs) may pay less than large multi-nationals, but may also offer other benefits such as quicker progression to senior level.
It’s then essential to research them inside and out to ensure they’re the right fit for you. This will also help you be prepared for possible interview questions.
Examples of what to research:
- In which industry sector do they operate?
- What is their principal activity?
- Where are they located?
- How many people do they employ?
- Are they expanding?
- What are their key current projects?
Top tip: Explore the 200+ ‘Company Hubs’ on Gradcracker, which are full of all the information you need to make a quality application. When you see an employer you’d particularly like to join, click ‘Follow’ to be alerted of any new opportunities.
Applying for the job
There are primarily two types of opportunities available to graduates: programmes and vacancies.
Graduate programmes usually involve a structured curriculum of learning and development over a set period of time – typically two years. Although a permanent job is not always guaranteed, employers are unlikely to invest time and money in your training for another company to benefit.
Graduate vacancies often require an immediate start. Smaller companies are more likely to have specific job vacancies, which is often because managing graduate programmes requires more time and resources. They will still provide training and development to new graduate recruits.
While you may have a personal preference, rest assured that they’re both equally successful steps on your career path. So be open to both.
Top tip: Gradcracker has developed a system to help you organise your job hunting: the My Gradcracker Dashboard. This is a personal area where you can manage your favourite employers, upload your CV, save opportunities to your ‘Job Diary’ and practice key competency questions. So, what are you waiting for? Sign up here.
Don’t forget that you can explore a range of scientific, technical and broader options in the types of jobs section on our website. You can also book a one-to-one appointment on My Career, which is a great way to talk through your options.