Marketing graduate schemes: How to get one and jobs to consider

Updated 8 August 2023

Marketing graduate schemes can provide the training and experience a recent graduate needs to accelerate their career in marketing. Choosing to complete a marketing graduate scheme after university can give you a broader understanding of the industry and help you narrow your marketing career path. In this article, we describe what a graduate scheme is, how to get into a marketing graduate scheme and the careers available to those who complete a marketing graduate scheme.

What are graduate schemes?

Graduate schemes are entry-level training programmes that help companies attract, nurture and train recently graduated talent. Graduate schemes give practical experience to new applicants and a comprehensive understanding of the industry. Everything from multinational companies, public and private organisations, charities and other businesses offer graduate schemes. It's also a way for new talent to learn about different areas of a company before they become official employees. Graduate schemes last between one and four years and most require an upper, second-class honours, or a 2:1.

Related: Top tips for successful career progression

How to get into a marketing graduate scheme

It's important to prepare yourself when trying to get into a marketing graduate scheme. Acceptance can be competitive, and many companies often receive thousands of applications. Consider these steps to follow when looking for a marketing graduate scheme to increase your chances of acceptance:

1. Find a graduate scheme

The recruitment cycle for most graduate schemes starts from the summer onward, with many companies advertising schemes between September and November. Some companies recruit year-round, while smaller companies recruit only when a position becomes available. Here are the best places to look for graduate schemes:

  • Student and graduate websites where recruiters post vacancies

  • University careers service

  • Employer events and career fairs

  • National recruitment exhibitions

Much like internships, it's up to the applicant to seek graduate schemes. If you plan to enter the marketing field, it's important to network and learn about companies early in your university career.

2. Review your CV

Review your CV to ensure it accurately reflects all you can offer a company. Although graduate schemes are entry-level training programmes, students apply for them only after they complete their time at university. So most companies may expect you to have some volunteer or work experience related to the industry. Completing an internship with the company you apply for a graduate scheme with can help you, as many companies use internships to evaluate your fit for their organisation.

Related: How to create an effective graduate CV

3. Develop and practise your skills

The best way to prepare for a marketing graduate scheme application is to develop and practise your skills. The application process will look different for every company but most companies expect applicants to:

  • Complete an online application form

  • Take a series of online psychometric tests

  • Complete a telephone or video interview

  • Complete online tasks like e-tray exercises

  • Have a last face-to-face interview

One effective way to prepare for all these requirements is by seeking feedback from a careers service to take part in mock interviews, workshops and practice tests. There are even free psychometric tests online that test your verbal and numerical reasoning and situational judgement.

Benefits of marketing graduate schemes

There are many benefits to completing a marketing graduate scheme, which is one reason they are so competitive. A major benefit is that many graduate schemes put graduates on a rotation schedule. Through rotation, students work in three or four different departments within the company. For three months you may help launch campaigns for a new product, work with digital engagement specialists and collaborate with data analysis. Rotation allows you to experience many aspects of a company so you can better determine in which area you want to work.

Once graduates finish their marketing graduate scheme, usually in two to three years, they are free to leave the company. However, many companies use marketing graduate schemes as training sessions for potential employees. Some companies may even expect you to enter a position upon finishing your scheme. If you complete a marketing graduate scheme with a company you plan on working for in the future, it can help you advance in your career.

Related: Guide: Marketing career paths and progression

Potential jobs after completing a marketing graduate scheme

Here are some potential jobs that you can apply for after completing a marketing graduate scheme:

1. Market researcher

National average salary: £25,478 per year

Primary duties: A market researcher finds out what people think about a certain company's product or service. Beginner market researchers conduct in person, online or phone surveys, asking consumers specific questions about the company and its product. People who complete a marketing graduate scheme will usually start at a higher position in the research department. They will analyse the results of the survey using statistical software and present the findings to marketing executives. They may also help manage relationships with important clients and speak to them directly to better understand their needs.

2. Digital marketer

National average salary: £26,301 per year

Primary duties: Digital marketers promote a company's image, products and services using websites, social media and relevant apps. Many people who complete a marketing graduate scheme rotate through the digital marketing department as recent graduates are more in touch with the latest and most popular technologies. Digital marketers work with clients to create digital content and campaigns that fit the company's brand. They also have to keep up to date with current digital trends and provide analytics and reports on digital activity.

3. Web content manager

National average salary: £30,112 per year

Primary duties: A web content manager deals with an organisation's online content including text, images, video and other media. Unlike a digital marketer, a web content manager doesn't work with social media interactions but focuses on the framework and architecture of a company's site. They also work with clients to make sure the website reflects the company's vision. They do have to work closely with the digital marketing department as the tone of the website matches the tone of the company's social media and apps.

Related: Management skills: Definitions and examples

4. Media planner

National average salary: £34,544 per year

Primary duties: Media planners help decide what media is best suited to represent and advertise a client's products and services. They analyse how customers interact with different media and then create a media strategy based on this. They work closely with the creative team to help create different product campaigns for different media. Once they decide what media is necessary, they work with media buyers to negotiate costs and book advertising space. Media planners have close relationships with the media outlets they use the most and usually work on several accounts at the same time.

5. Public relations officer

National average salary: £35,137 per year

Primary duties: A public relations officer helps manages a company's brand and reputation. They monitor and analyse the public's perception of their client's company and even speak on behalf of the company at conferences or in radio or TV interviews. In order to do this, they must maintain an excellent relationship with the local media as well as write and edit press releases regarding any new products or changes in the company. They also work with the digital marketing department to create positive content for the company.

6. Marketing manager

National average salary: £37,107 per year

Primary duties: Marketing managers supervise all general marketing activities related to promoting products, services and brands. They manage a team of marketing executives and help them develop strategies and campaigns for various products in the company. They set budgets, timelines and targets for members of their departments and lead meetings that report on the effectiveness of campaigns. Marketing managers must also work to plan events where they can meet new and existing clients. This is an ideal position for someone who has completed a marketing graduate scheme and is familiar with the many elements of a company.

7. Product manager

National average salary: £51,027 per year

Primary duties: A product manager works to help create and produce a product that represents their client's company which is then sold to their customers. They must coordinate with different departments to ensure they produce the product on time and under budget. They must also pay attention to the product after its release, listening to customer opinions and analysing their feedback. Product managers stay involved in the entire life cycle of the product, ensuring that they make any necessary changes or updates when needed.


Explore more articles

  • How To Become an Intelligence Officer
  • How to become a detective without being a police officer
  • How to become a veterinary physiotherapist (With skills)
  • What does a performance manager do? (With salary info)
  • How to become a watchmaker (including tips and skills)
  • Lowest paying jobs: primary duties and entry requirements
  • 10 fulfilling and rewarding jobs you can do anywhere
  • What does an IT officer do? (With types and requirements)
  • What does a historian do? (Plus salary and skills)
  • How to become an engineer: a step-by-step guide
  • How to become a butcher (with steps, skills and salary)
  • What does a project officer do? (Including skills)