The benefits of applying to placements and graduate roles early

jodiecAdvice, Applications, Final Year, Graduates, International Placements, Postgraduate, Second Year, UK Placements

Three people sitting around a table outside. One is on a tablet, one on a laptop and one has a notebook and pen

2020 is drawing to a close and what a year it’s been, eh? To start your new year right, we recommend using the last few weeks of the year to get a head-start on your placement/graduate job search. If you need some convincing, here are six reasons why you should be looking for roles at this time of year.


Many big companies have deadlines that close before the end of the year

If it’s a graduate or placement scheme you’re after, you will need to get in early. The majority of schemes are run by medium/large-sized companies and places for them are limited – so you’ll want to get in quick, especially as the big-name companies will receive lots of interest from other applicants. A lot of these schemes open around September time and close in December/January.

The following are just some of the companies on Aston Futures that have placement/graduate scheme deadlines before the end of 2020: Mars, Aldi, DCC, Atkins, Nestlé, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Network Rail, Lidl, EY, Rolls-Royce, GSK, Samsung, Cundall and BT Group.

Save The Student have also written this handy list of the most popular graduate scheme deadlines for 2020/2021 roles. Bright Network have also listed some industrial placement deadlines on their website which you might find useful.

Some companies only recruit once a year

While some companies will advertise positions on a rolling or ad-hoc basis throughout the year, some will only recruit for roles once a year – they then won’t be open again until the following year. So, if there’s a particular company you’ve got your heart set on, don’t miss your chance!

Applications for roles may close before the deadline

Have you ever spotted a great looking opportunity with an application deadline of a month away, so decided to come back and apply closer to the time only to realise the applications closed the previous week? Yeah, it’s not a nice feeling.

We hate to break it to you but just because a company has stated that their application deadline will be 31st December 2020, it doesn’t mean they will actually stick to that deadline. A lot of schemes or positions with larger companies are highly competitive, which means hundreds of students and graduates will apply for them. As a result, companies often close their applications ahead of the original deadline once they’ve received a certain number of applications. Some recruiters will also assess applications as and when they are submitted and may even hold assessment centres and make job offers to early-bird candidates before the official closing date has even passed.

So the moral of the story here is don’t procrastinate – if you spot an opportunity you like, make sure you apply to it as soon as you can (however, this does not mean you should rush your application. It’s just as important that you dedicate enough time to tailoring your application and making sure it sparkles before you send it off, otherwise there won’t be any point in applying).

You’ll be making the most of this quieter period

Term one will soon be ending, so you’ll have a good chunk of time over December where you won’t have to worry about your lectures and seminars. While we highly recommend using this time to have a much-needed breather and having a festive movie marathon, it’ll also be a great opportunity to dedicate some time to your job search before the new year kicks in bringing exams and more assignment deadlines with it.

It will be less stressful in the long-run

Just think, if you manage to bag yourself a graduate role or placement earlier on in the academic year, you can spend the rest of the year with one less thing on your to-do list. This will leave you more time to concentrate on your academic work, hosting quizzes on Zoom for all your pals and binging your latest Netflix obsession. Plus, you get to enjoy that smug satisfaction when everyone else is frantically scrabbling around for roles in July and you know you’re all sorted.

You’ll be giving yourself the chance to explore more options

Hopefully you’ll get your dream role sorted sooner rather than later. If you don’t though, you’ll at least have more time to browse opportunities and see what options are out there. By starting your job search early you’ll be able to spend some time properly looking at what’s available and deciding on what role would be right for you, rather than settling for the first thing you see when you’re getting desperate in June.


Hopefully those six reasons will be enough to convince you that starting your graduate role/placement search early will be hugely beneficial to you. However, it’s also important to remember that you can still apply for roles all throughout the year. Please don’t think that if you don’t secure a position before the end of the year, you’ve missed the boat – for example, we often hear pesky little rumours floating around amongst students that if you don’t get your placement sorted in term one, then you can’t do one at all. That’s simply not true!

Just make sure to keep your eyes peeled for roles on Aston Futures to see what opportunities are coming up. You can also check out these websites for placements and these for graduate positions.

And remember, we’re always happy to help – so if you need some guidance with finding the right role for you or want some advice on completing an application for a particular role, make sure to book an appointment with us through Aston Futures. Good luck with the search!

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