How to Prepare for Your Graduate Scheme in 2020

Apr 20


Graduate programmes are well-structured programmes companies use to teach potential future staff how they operate. These programmes offer graduates training and work experience.

International graduate programmes are basically graduate programmes that offer the opportunity to travel and work abroad at some point during the course of the programme.

These special programmes are offered by companies that operate internationally. Examples are Airbus, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield SE, HEINEKEN, Diageo, etc.

If you desire an international career, then international graduate schemes are a good way to begin. They give you the chance see new places, learn about cultures and connect with people globally.

So how do you prepare for an international graduate program in 2020?

These programs are coveted by people around the world and the competition is usually high. Snagging yourself a spot, in the first place, can be tough. Every company has its unique recruitment process. But overall they involve at least two or more of the following:

-Filling of forms and questionnaires

-Video interviews

-Face-to-face interviews

-Assessment events

You cannot be sure of exactly what the company would expect of you. You can, however, get ready for things that you are most likely to encounter. 

Give yourself a competitive advantage with these tips on how to prepare yourself for an international graduate program in 2020:


Write a great CV and cover letter

The first step in the application process usually involves an online application where you might be asked to send in a CV and cover letter. Some companies might, instead, ask you to fill out an online form and some questionnaires. They use these to discover your skills, experiences, studies, personality, etc.

You might be confused about what exactly to put on your CV, especially if you don’t have much experience. One way to hack this is to research the company you are applying for and tailor your CV to them.

Also, start preparing early and work in advance to develop skills and gain experiences that they find valuable. If you already have those skills and experiences, then make sure they are very clearly communicated in your CV.

There are countless resources on how to write a good CV and cover letter online. When you sign up for a paid membership with us, you will have access to our detailed Success Guide where we provide a step-by-step guide to writing winning CVs. You will also have access to one of our mentors who will provide personalized guidance to you.

Submitting a CV is usually your first point of contact with the recruiters. Remember that first impressions matter!


Practice for online tests and assessments

You might be asked to take some tests in the initial stages of your application or later during the process.

These tests are referred to as psychometric tests. They are objective tests that are favored by lots of recruiters. This is because they help to assess how suitable a candidate is for a particular role based on the candidate’s personality, knowledge, and skills.

There are many types of psychometric tests. They can broadly be divided into two main categories:

1. Aptitude tests: They assess your intellectual capabilities and your reasoning to help determine if you have the right set of cognitive skills for a particular job. There are many types of aptitude tests. Some examples are verbal reasoning, numerical reasoning, and diagrammatic reasoning.

2. Personality tests: They explore your behavior in specific situations, preferences, values, motivations and more in order to see how much your personality fits the job.

You can put yourself in the best position to ace these tests with consistent practice. There are resources online that have practice psychometric tests to help you prepare for them in advance. We provide a waelth of these resources to our paid memebers.



Prepare for Interviews

Interviews are inevitable parts of most application processes. Your recruiters can read your CV and cover letter. They can analyze your test results. But they will still need to have contact and interact with you to truly get a feel of who you are and what you can offer them.

The world is now a global village. Interviews are no longer always conducted face-to-face. Most recruiters for international graduate programmes will have an initial video interview with you and a face-to-face interview later on.

Whether it is a video or a face-to-face interview, there are some things you can do to prepare for it:


Don’t leave this very essential step till the very last minute. You need to conduct research on:

·         The Company - find out how it is run, its various departments, and what they do. Find out what challenges the company faces, its achievements, its competitors, etc. During the interview, this will help you demonstrate your knowledge of the inner workings of the company and also show that you have a keen interest in it.

·         Roles and responsibilities - Make sure that you understand what exactly is required of you during the programme. Figure out ways to explain how your skills and experiences fit into the role you are applying for, why you want it and why you should be picked over the other candidates.

·         Panel - make efforts to find out who will conduct the interview. The email they send to you concerning the interview can clue you in. You can then research them and find out about their skills and areas of concentration. This can help you connect better with them during the interview.

·         Nature of the interview - Video interviews can be of two types – live or pre-recorded. If you are to prepare for a video interview, find out which of the two it is going to be. This will help you prepare better.

One way to gather useful information is social media. You can use social media handles to network with graduates that have gone through the program you are interested in and learn from them.


You cannot know exactly what you would be asked during the interview but you could make some good guesses. Some questions are very commonly asked.

Consider the questions and do some introspection to figure out how you would go about answering them so that you don’t end up floundering when they are posed to you during the actual interview.

You can write down a list and ask someone to help you conduct mock interviews. Or you can record yourself answering the questions and review them to see how you can improve. Pay attention to your body language, attitude and clarity. Below are some commonly asked questions:

·         Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?

·         Why did you decide to apply for this programme?

·         What do you know about this company?

·         Can you tell me some of your strengths?

·         What are your weaknesses?

·         How do you think we can improve as a company?

At the end of the interview, you may be asked if you have any questions. It is best for you to say yes. It shows that you are enthusiastic and curious about the role. Prepare some questions to ask beforehand. Some examples are:

·         What is a typical day like at this company?

·         What do you expect of me during the first few months?

·         What will the training programs be like?


Take practical steps to ensure that you appear at the interview on time, in a great state of mind and body, and well-presented. Here are a few tips:

·         Find out exactly where the interview would be conducted. Then make sure that you book or organize transportation in advance.

·         Eat enough before the interview and make sure you take a bottle of water along with you.

·         Carry all essential documents like your CV, interview invitation, ID, certificates, etc.

·         Make a check-list if necessary so that you don’t forget anything.

·         Dress well and appropriately for the interview. If you’re not sure about what dress code is expected, you can always ask.

·         If it is a video interview, choose a good location in advance. Make sure you consider lighting and background noise. Also, test out your computer, camera, and internet connection beforehand to make sure that everything is running smoothly.


Get ready for assessment day

Most recruiters for international graduate programmes use assessment days as the last stage of the recruitment process. They gather many candidates together in one place –an assessment centre -- and assess them all at the same time. This can last for a whole day or more.

Assessment days are events that involve various tasks and tests to assess the suitability of candidates for a role. Some of the tests are done individually. But most of them are geared towards assessing your interpersonal skills and so you are joined with other candidates and assessed as a group.

Some of the activities employers use to test candidates on assessment days are impromptu presentations, group discussions, role play, case studies, group interviews, psychometric tests, etc.

Sounds daunting, doesn’t it? Here are a few tips that you can use to prepare yourself for an assessment day:

·         Make sure you find out exactly where the event is going to be held and figure out transportation details. Most companies take care of travel costs and provide accommodation if it lasts for more than a day.

·         Read up any information they send you before the event and make sure you remember key details.

·         Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you are not given any information beforehand or if you are confused about anything.

·         Reflect on the roles and responsibilities that are expected of you because, just like with the interview, you will be observed to see if you fit into their requirements.

·         Find out everything you can about the company so that you can demonstrate this knowledge during the activities.

·         Brush up on your presentation and public speaking skills.

·         Be polite and try to be sociable at every point of the event. Demonstrate a capacity for teamwork.

·         Pick an outfit that is appropriate and also comfortable.

·         Practice possible scenarios with a friend. You should also practice psychometric tests as they can form a part of assessment days.


For your international graduate programme, preparation is key.

To place yourself in the best position for an international programme, you must prepare in advance. Start as early as possible and do what you can to give yourself a competitive advantage.

It is even advisable todecide on applying for a graduate program years before you graduate. That way, you can plan and position yourself better. You can research the company that you are interested in and find out their requirements so that you work on them. You can also apply for internships and volunteer in a bid to gain experience and develop skills that will make you stand out. 

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