Summer work experience and internships could give some graduates the edge when they apply for jobs, an expert suggests.
Elspeth Farrar from the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services (AGCAS) said employers often looked for experiences other than just having gone to university.
Programmes that offered students opportunities to gain skills and experience and network were "very valuable", she added.
Research by the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) in 2007 revealed the extent of the competition for jobs - an average of 29.2 applications per vacancy were received by AGR employers, a slight increase on the previous year.
"Within some sectors possibly as much as 70 per cent of their graduate intake is filled from offers to interns," Ms Farrar went on to say.
"Most employers nowadays are looking at what else an individual has done, other than just a degree course."
She said relevant work experience was not always possible but any work experience was a chance to pick up vital skills, such as behaving professionally and working in a team.