With an astounding 50 applicants applying for each grad job, PETER HANTON speaks to some finalists about the hectic hunt for work

Whilst the graduate job market is seemingly on the road to recovery with 8,000 more graduates being employed this year than last, new research has revealed that 900,000 18-25 year olds are still out of work.

So as the lucky ones begin to get job offers off the back of summer internships, it is becoming increasingly clear to the rest of us that the scramble for jobs is fully underway.

One issue that an overwhelming proportion of undecided finalists have to face is what to apply for. Durhamites often drift towards banking, accountancy or law; ironically, at the careers fair they all seemed to be muddled into one, as Alex Easdale damningly reports.

Once decided, a strategy is needed to negotiate the application forms. As Rory from Hatfield explains, one way in which to choose jobs is to “only apply to the firms which require a CV, and no lengthy individual essay questions”.

Rory is following a trend picked up by the Financial Times, which claims that one of the ‘big three’ factors putting graduates off applying to certain jobs is the length of the application forms and online tests. Certainly this tactic avoids the demoralisation of spending hours on a complicated form only to be instantly rejected.

And it’s not all just “why do you want to work for this company?” and “what is your proudest moment?” If you’re lucky enough to get an interview, be prepared to think on your feet. Alongside being asked to “sell this pen to me”, here are a few of the other more alternative questions one Castle PPE Student was asked in her interview for JP Morgan:

How many tennis balls could you fit in a car boot?

How many houses in Canada are painted red?

How much milk does Starbucks use in a day?

But what are the chances of actually getting a job? A number of employers that run graduate schemes, including Morgan Stanley, refuse to divulge the success rate of applicants. Perhaps they fear that these stats might put off potential applicants from investing the time in putting together an application, but, armed with a Durham degree the chances are unquestionably better than most.

This month The Higher Education Careers Service Unit announced a 61.8% employment rate for grads, a fall of 1% from last year.

Charlie Ball, deputy research director at HECSU, said: “The figures show that even in difficult times, graduates can and do get jobs.”

And it seems that most of us can expect to be heading for the capital once we have to leave the Durham bubble. According to the What Graduates Do Study, which questioned nearly 250,000 graduates, 21% of UK graduates were working in London, with only 3.8% in the north-east.

It is important to get down to it early. Matt from Hild Bede says that some of the big financial service companies have almost filled their quotas before term even started, with many opening applications on 1st July.

This news, combined with spotting friends helping out on the stalls of future employers, will send shivers down many finalists’ spines. Rest assured, however, you are not alone…for the majority of finalists the search for something to do in 2013 is only just beginning.