How I got my UK graduate job during the pandemic

Written by Mia Zhang, MSc Human Resource Management, 2020

I am an international student from China and graduated from The University of Manchester in 2020 with a degree in MSc Human Resource Management.  After graduating, I embarked on the difficult task of finding a job during the pandemic. At the end of 2020, I secured a graduate role and joined a Chinese company that is based in the UK. Currently, I am working from home (my bed!) in my ‘Zoom office’ every day. In this post, I will briefly share my personal job search experience, and some of my insights and skills that may inspire and help other international students who find themselves in a similar situation.

I came to the UK in 2019 to study for my Master’s degree here at the University. When the first semester began, I was made aware that the graduate programmes had already started but my spoken English was not good enough to apply. Therefore, I decided to begin my job search in July 2020 but after completing several online tests, I soon realised that I still had some shortcomings. Having a limited English proficiency and a non-business background it made it difficult for my applications to ‘stand out from the crowd’.  As a result, I quickly adjusted my strategy.

Fortunately, the graduate programme for British companies is often aimed at students who are about to graduate or have just graduated, so after submitting my dissertation in September 2020, I officially started my job search. I only chose companies that didn’t require online tests, had a short interview process, and clearly provided visas. This strategy allowed me to devote myself to preparing for interviews and researching target companies. At the same time, I avoided fierce competition from those applying to the ‘Big Four’ or investment banks.

Finally, in November 2020, I received a call from the company I am currently working for inviting me to their assessment centre. After I successfully passed both the assessment centre and the manager interview, I was offered a position as a Channel Sales Specialist. I joined Hikvision UK & Ireland in mid-December and finally got my Skilled Worker visa and signed a formal contract in early 2021.

Looking back on my job search journey, I would like to share the following three points:

  1. Form a clear strategy before job searching. Think about your dream job and the jobs that match your abilities. Determine your target position and company, and make preparations for the job after you know where you are heading. Blindly submitting your CV will waste time and affect your confidence in the job searching process.
  1. Surround yourself with people who share your ambition. The process of finding a job is full of frustrations and self-doubt. Having a job-seeking friend to encourage you can relieve stress and help you obtain more job-seeking information. I met a friend while searching and we encouraged each other to find a job together, and now we are working in the same company!
  1. Make full use of the University’s Career Service. The University of Manchester provides a lot of support for students in their job search. Although I did not find a job when I was in the university, I used the Careers Service in order to improve my CV. I also participated in the webinars for international students where I was able to meet other international students who also want to stay in the UK.  Finally, I wish any international students who wants to get a job in the UK good luck!

As a graduate, you have access to the Careers Service for two years after you finish. Remember to look on CareerConnect for upcoming opportunities and events you can get involved in.


Mia Zhang, 曼彻斯特大学人力资源管理硕士(2020届)

我是一名来自中国的在英留学生。2020年,我获得了曼彻斯特大学人力资源管理硕士学位。毕业后,我踏上了艰难的疫情下求职之路, 并于2020年底,成功入职一家在英中国企业。目前,我每天在家(床上!)工作中。接下来,我会简单分享我个人的求职经历,以及自己的一点感悟和技巧,希望能够对其他的国际学生有所启发和帮助。





三,充分利用学校的就业指导服务(Careers Service)。曼彻斯特大学会为学生的求职提供很多帮助,我虽然在上学期间没有找工作,但是有申请过修改简历的服务,也会经常参加针对国际学生的webinar,认识其他也希望留在英国的留学生,也可以了解到其他校友如何在英国开拓自己的事业。此外,毕业后也可以使用就业指导服务哦


毕业生在毕业后两年内仍可以使用就业服务。记得查看CareerConnect 了解最新的工作机会和活动。

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