I get asked on a regular basis how as an international student/graduate is the easiest way to find a job in the UK? The answer is there isn’t an easy way to find a job in the UK as a UK graduate or an international graduate.
The situation is not helped by the fact employers on most job posts indicate “you must be eligible to work in the UK” at the bottom of the job description. This can be very frustrating for international graduates as they have paid large sums of money to study in the UK with the hope of a career after. As it stands the visa regulations in the UK are very strict and are expected to be even more restricted in the coming months.
But what can you do if there is no easy fix or search engine to help you. Here are a few pointers to help you as an international student/graduate looking for work in the UK or in fact anywhere.
1. Use job search engines like www.prospects.ac.uk , LinkedIn, University Careers Services vacancy database CareersLink http://www.careers.manchester.ac.uk/careerslink/, www.indeed.co.uk to help you find those graduate jobs and schemes. From this job search you need to do two things. Firstly ensure that the employers you have listed are on the employer sponsor registerhttps://www.gov.uk/government/publications/register-of-licensed-sponsors-workers. Secondly start to compile a spreadsheet of organisations who are hiring graduates in your field.
2. Once you have your list of employers start to search for alumni in those companies. You can do this through LinkedIn and the “My Network” tab on the tool bar. Hover over the “My Network” tab and a drop down menu will appear. Select the option “Find Alumni” and if your details on your profile are up to date your current University should appear. This tool is fantastic and allows you to find alumni via their location, company, expertise, what they studied and what the are good at. You can then start to find alumni in the organisations/sector you are interested in and that are possibly hiring. But be careful… never, ever connect with alum and ask for a job!!! This is your opportunity to showcase your talent and connect with the individual to build a professional relationship that may in the future benefit you.
3. Attend employer events, workshops, skills sessions, fairs and networking opportunities. Ask for business cards so that you can get the company representatives name to connect with later via LinkedIn or to mention in a job application. Attending these events and getting an opportunity to showcase your commercial awareness to a potential recruiter can be key to getting that graduate job in the UK.
4. Keep up to date with your home market. Everyone needs a plan B! Understand how important is international work experience at the start of your career? Would getting experience in your home country in your field of interest building your knowledge, skills, expertise and network benefit you more initially then in 4 or 5 years time look at developing an international career and utilising the global network you have built for yourself. Employers in your home country value your overseas education and experiences whether extracurricular or work focused when they are looking to hire. Having a year in another country post graduation although difficult to get how beneficial overall would it be? Understand your market and what employers are looking for.
Finally I get asked all the time “do international students get jobs and visa sponsorship in the UK after graduation?” The answer is yes they do, but this is critical to understand, those students that succeed don’t say they haven’t the time to apply for all these jobs or research these companies. They don’t tell me they are too busy to attend employer events or that London is too far to travel for a networking event. They don’t turn up to fairs unprepared and not know everything they need to know about the employers they are interested in, because if they did they wouldn’t get jobs in the UK. Follow their lead, make time for researching jobs, build that resilience when companies turn you down, keep going and maybe you will get that job offer! Good luck!
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