Guest post by Humanities Careers Consultant, Delia Goodwin.
First things first- this is not the end of the world as you know it! After all the time you spent thinking about applying, deciding who to apply to, slaving over the application forms and possibly getting as far as interviews or assessment centres, it can be a big disappointment if you think you had your heart set on a particular company or scheme and you’ve not made it. This can be a real knock to your confidence, especially if you have friends and fellow students who have got through. However frustrating (and annoying) this is, try to see it as another challenge to overcome rather than being tempted to lick your wounds for too long.
I’ve met countless graduates over the years who haven’t got onto the graduate schemes of their choice but have gone on to do other things they’ve really enjoyed. Some decided to travel for a while (remember that after graduation is a great time to do this- you may never get the chance again!), some have gone onto further study and others found great graduate jobs that just aren’t badged as a “scheme”. Recently I’ve been at a few events where graduates have spoken very openly and positively about the fact that they were in fact glad that the path they’d taken was a different one to the one they had originally hoped for. Ever seen the film “Sliding Doors”?!
So what can you do to re-group and bounce back? What might be helpful is to think about the feedback you received, good and bad, and think about this for next time you have an interview (which you inevitably will at some point). Maybe you didn’t have quite enough experience, work or other, which you could draw on in the assessment process. In which case, go and get some more! Or maybe it was the reflective part of the questioning that threw you off course- it can be hard to articulate your thoughts in a pressurised situation, but the more interviews you go to, the better your chances of improving with practice, and above all convincing the recruiter of your suitability.
You might be stuck for ideas about what you can do instead, but fear not. Graduate schemes actually represent quite a small percentage of the options that graduates go into (approximately 10-12% depending on what data you look at), so the majority of graduates in reality don’t go into a graduate scheme. Look at the figures for Manchester: 93.2% go straight into employment or further study, and again, those on graduate schemes form just a small proportion of that. So hopefully this will give you some reassurance that there are lots of other options out there. Plus- you don’t have to rule yourself out completely of your dream scheme- some graduates re-apply the following year and are more successful second time round.
Still, if you decide that a graduate scheme isn’t for you, then at the Careers Service we can give you some advice about your next steps and where you can look, so don’t hesitate to call in and see us for a chat or book an appointment with a careers consultant. And remember this in the words of the poet Robert Frost:
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference..”
Student Engagement Consultant at The University of Manchester. Manage marketing and communications for The Careers Service.