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When Should I Apply for Banking & Finance Graduate Schemes?

You know what they say about early birds catching worms? Well the same wisdom applies to a finance graduate scheme. Competition is fierce, so learn from our timely feathered friends and apply as soon as possible.

While you’re at it, it makes sense to apply for multiple grad schemes to improve your chances. But be wary: closing dates come around quickly, especially if you have a penchant for procrastination. The majority of positions that aren’t on rolling recruitment will close for applications around November or December in the academic year, so preparation is vital if you don’t want to get caught out with a dozen things to do during your revision period. So keep organised and give yourself plenty of time if you want to write great applications.

That’s not to say that you can’t be too early. Most graduate schemes in the financial sector work on the basis of a yearly cycle. The earliest windows generally open around the September of second year for jobs starting in the September after graduation.

Avoid the school boy errors…

Without wanting to state the obvious, don’t apply for a graduate scheme if you’ll still be studying when it begins! Make sure that any work experience you want to include in your application is completed (or at least planned) before you send it off – and be accurate in the dates you provide. The windows for submission tend to close by January or February, meaning that if you miss the deadline, you’ll have to wait nearly months before applying again.

The most competitive of organisations have notoriously long application processes. These are comprised of many stages of interviews and tests designed to test your numerical and verbal abilities amongst other things. With this in mind, familiarising yourself with the style and content of applications beforehand can save vital time when it comes to doing the real thing. If you’ve got the time, having a careers advisor look over your draft answers to questions on the form is a great way to make sure your responses are polished.

Career fairs across campus in the autumn term can be also be an invaluable advantage. Gathering advice from recruiters and recent graduates on the intricacies in the graduate scheme process can pay off in a big way when it come to your own application.

The finance sector remains exceptionally competitive when it comes to the graduate job market, with hundreds of applicants battling it out for each vacancy. And spaces fill up quickly. In past years, some employers have even closed their windows early after being flooded with applications, so get in quickly if you want a chance of being considered! 

By Nile Davies, AllAboutFinanceCareers.com