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When is it too late to apply for graduate jobs?

Read this guide to discover if there’s a time limit between graduating and getting onto a grad scheme.

Happy young woman with curly hair walking in a park while listening to music, surrounded by autumn trees.

You’re in the right place if you’re wondering…

  • “How long can you apply for graduate jobs?”
  • “How long are you eligible for graduate schemes?”
  • “Can you apply for a graduate scheme three years after graduating?”

A common myth about graduate jobs is that if you don’t get one straight out of university, you’ve missed your chance.

This is wrong.

There’s no official limit on when you can apply for a graduate job.

However, you’re more likely to be accepted to a graduate scheme or graduate job within the first three years after your graduation.

Diverse team of professionals collaborating in a creative workspace, engaging in discussion and using colorful sticky notes on a whiteboard.
What is a ‘graduate scheme’?

Read this guide to discover:

  • What it’s like to do a grad scheme
  • How much you can expect to be paid on a grad scheme
  • What makes a good grad scheme
  • How long graduate schemes last for
  • The differences between a grad scheme and graduate jobs and entry-level jobs

Young man studying on a laptop while sitting on a bench at a university campus, with other students in the background.
What is a ‘graduate job’?

Read this guide to discover:

  • What it’s like to do a grad job
  • The skills and experience you can expect to gain from doing a graduate job
  • How much you can expect to be paid in a graduate job
  • What makes a good graduate job
  • How long you might do a graduate job for
  • The differences between a graduate job, grad schemes and entry-level jobs

Focused young woman working on a laptop at a desk in a bright office, reviewing documents.
What is an ‘entry-level job’?

Read this guide to discover:

  • What’s it like to do an entry-level job
  • The skills and experience you can expect to gain from doing an entry-level job
  • How much you can expect to be paid in an entry-level job
  • What makes a good entry-level job
  • How long you might do an entry-level job for
  • The differences between an entry-level job, grad schemes and graduate jobs

Many of the top graduate employers have a rolling annual recruitment process, so it’s worth checking Milkround or employers’ dedicated career portals to see what’s available.

If you’re unsuccessful when applying for your preferred job or scheme, you could still apply again the following year when you have more experience.

We have lots of detailed advice that’ll help you choose the graduate job or graduate scheme that suits you best:

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Jobseeker’s FAQ’s

Am I too late to get a graduate job?

No, you are not too late to get a graduate job. Many companies are interested in the skills and qualifications you possess rather than strictly when you graduated. While some roles may target recent graduates specifically, there are numerous opportunities available that consider candidates who have graduated within the last few years.

Can you apply to graduate schemes a year after graduating?

Yes, you can apply to graduate schemes a year after graduating. Many graduate schemes accept candidates who have graduated within the last two or three years. It’s important to check specific programme criteria as some may have specific requirements regarding the graduation date.

Do you have to be a recent graduate to apply for a graduate job?

Not necessarily. While the term “graduate job” implies that the position is suited for recent graduates, many employers are open to candidates who have graduated within the last few years. This can vary by industry and employer, so it’s advisable to check the specific job requirements.

Is there an age limit for graduate schemes?

Generally, there is no age limit for graduate schemes in the UK. Employers are more focused on your education level and whether you have graduated within a certain timeframe, rather than your age. However, some employers might specify that candidates should have graduated within the last two to three years, so it is important to review the specific entry requirements for each scheme.

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