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Graduate Programs vs Graduate Positions

October 21, 2014 by Curtin CEL Team

Graduate Programs vs Graduate Positions

Graduate Programs

A graduate program is like an organised paid internship. You could periodically move between departments or you be trained up in a specific role. These roles often involve formal mentoring arrangements and the opportunity to progress with the organisation and develop your strengths.

An Australian graduate program is generally:

  • Structured
  • Set to commence in January of each year
  • Aimed at final year students or graduates a few years out of uni
  • For multiple graduates
  • Available in both the public and private sector
  • Offered for a set period (often one – three years)
  • Open to Australian citizens and permanent residents

The application process for a Graduate Program is competitive. You will need strong transferable skills, an excellent academic record and be prepared to shine throughout the application process (which can be quite arduous).

Graduate Positions

A graduate position differs from a grad program. This is a position where a company is advertising to fill a specific role, so this can emerge at any time of the year and will often not have the structure that is characteristic of a grad program.

Regardless, be prepared for competition to be fierce. Always keep in mind that it’s important to be able to demonstrate your strengths and point of difference and highlight any related work experience or strong work examples.

Extra Tips…

  • Graduate Opportunities and GradAustralia provide comprehensive info in terms of who is offering graduate programs. They both produce really handy booklets, in February each year, featuring company profiles, the disciplines organisations are seeking to recruit from and how to apply. You can also subscribe to get the same info online. Curtin Careers & Employment Centre’s CareerHub also advertises Graduate Programs.
  • Grad Program advertisements often stay up all year, even when positions have closed, so you can get a good idea of who’s looking for what if you are thinking ahead.
  • Who advertises for Humanities students? MCCA students are more likely to be targeted by government departments as they recruit from all disciplines. Organisations that are of interest to humanities students can include the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection and the Department of Communications, to name a few. See here for a full list of Australian government departments and agencies.


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