Working in the UK – Information for international students attending the Grad Fair 2017

On the day – Making a good impression

Do not talk about visas with the employer at the fair. Consider how you approach an employer with your questions about the company. It is still important to be interested in the organisation and their opportunities and not just interested in finding any company that sponsors work visas. This will create a poor impression.

Should you discuss sponsorship or visas with employers at the fair?

We advise you do not talk about visas, sponsorship or hiring of international graduates with recruiters at fairs or events. Usually the employer representatives at the fair are not visa or immigration experts and are not the right people to discuss visas with. 

Do your research first! Know who sponsors and who doesn’t before you go. Make a good first impression by asking relevant questions about the company values, innovations, projects, culture, progression opportunities, development and retention. Visas can be addressed later at interview or offer stage.

Can I work in the UK?

If you are looking to stay on and work in the UK after graduation, you can find out more about work visa regulations for the UK on the Careers Service website: www.careers.manchester.ac.uk/international/ukworkafterstudy/ These pages link you through to excellent sources of visa information as well as links to UKCISA and UK Government site – visa.gov.uk

Any queries around your Tier 4 visa should be referred to the Student Immigration Team www.manchester.ac.uk/study/international/why-manchester/student-support/immigration/

What about work visas?

Employer sponsored visas (Tier 2 visas) are the most common way for UK employers to hire international graduates who need permission to work in the UK. To sponsor a visa, an employer must be on the Register of licensed sponsors: workers and the job must meet certain minimum requirements (such as a minimum salary and skill level for the role which is RQF Level 6). 

You can also check if a firm is on the Sponsor Register at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/register-of-licensed-sponsors-workers

Minimum Salaries

You can also check if the job you are interested in meets the minimum salary RQF Level 6 and skill levels for tier 2 sponsorship in the Codes of Practice:

www.gov.uk/guidance/immigration-rules/immigration-rules-appendix-j-codes-of-practice-for-skilled-work

Other Options

Tier 5 – Getting work experience

If you are looking for a short period of work experience in the UK (up to12 months) there are also options with a Tier 5 visa under the “Youth Mobility programme” or the Government Authorised Exchanges. There are no minimum salaries for this route and you can work for any employer. If you find an employer willing to offer you an internship, you can pay a private organisation that sponsors Tier 5 visas to arrange the visa for you. www.careers.manchester.ac.uk/international/ukworkafterstudy/tier5/

Tier 1 – Starting your own business

The University of Manchester is a sponsor for the Graduate Entrepreneur visa if you are looking to start your own business in the UK. Find out more at: www.careers.manchester.ac.uk/international/ukworkafterstudy/gradentrepreneur/

PhD students

A 12 month visa extension scheme has been introduced for students completing a PhD in the UK. The scheme allows PhD students to extend their student visa for an additional 12 months allowing them extra time to find work with a Tier 2 employer or set up as an entrepreneur. More information can be found at: studentnet.manchester.ac.uk/crucial-guide/academic-life/immigration/des/

Working in the UK – Work visas for international students Webinar

You can find more information on visa’s and your options ON THE University of Manchester Careers YouTube Channel in the International Student Playlist www.youtube.com/user/manchestercareers

What rules apply for internships?

Most undergraduate international students are able to work full-time during vacations on a student visa enabling them to take internships. Postgraduates are encouraged to confirm vacation periods with their School as your dissertation time in the summer is not classed as a vacation. For more information on working in the UK whilst on a student visa, see: careers.manchester.ac.uk/international/workduringstudy/

What about international jobs?

Some firms are happy to direct you to vacancies across the globe. Others may provide you with a contact to approach/website to use. Some international firms also hold international recruitment events at their Head Offices in the UK – so do ask them.

In addition to this consider the option of a J1 Visa to the USA if you are looking for some international experience before going home. You can apply for this visa in the UK and gain up to 12 months experience overseas. For more information see our Blog on J1 Visas manunicareersblog.com/2017/04/03/j1-visa-for-the-usa-for-work-experience-overseas/

Think about your motivation for getting experience outside of your home country? Have you considered working for an international company back home and then transferring to another office overseas after a couple of years? You would have more to offer an employer including experience, building your reputation in the company and a global network.

Finally look at your chosen occupation for countries like Australia and New Zealand, is it on their Skilled Occupations list which you can find online.

J1 Visa for the USA for work experience overseas

Are you looking for work experience during the Summer or after you graduate. Are you an international student struggling to get sponsorship for employment in the UK under Tier 2 or Tier 5 visas? Are you looking ultimately to get some experience as an international student and bring this home with you? Or are you a UK/EU student looking to expand their experience on their CV and go overseas for a while?

If you answered yes to any of these questions then a J1 visa could be the answer for you.

What is the J1 visa?

Well it is the Exchange Visitor (J) non-immigrant visa category for the USA and is for individuals approved to participate in work-and study-based exchange visitor programs. Graduates from the UK whether you are a British National, EU citizen or International student you are eligible to apply for Internship programmes in the USA for up to 12 months. These internships enable university students or recent graduates to go to the USA to gain exposure to culture and to receive hands-on experience in USA business practices in your chosen occupational field. It enables graduates and students to get some great brand names on their CVs and experience abroad range of business opportunities. Equally all students no matter where you are from can apply within the UK to get their J1 visa and there is no limit to how many J1 visas you can have as long as you meet their criteria. Unlike the UK the employer is not your sponsor for a J1 visa it is an agency and a full list can be found here https://j1visa.state.gov/participants/how-to-apply/sponsor-search/?program=Intern

So what now? Well the first step to getting experience in the USA and a J1 visa is to find opportunities.

Finding Experience

You can do this by using the websites Vault, Glassdoor.com (ensure Glassdoor is .com not .co.uk) and LinkedIn. In the USA you will be looking for opportunities titled “internships” whether it is graduate experience or summer experience. In the USA the terms “graduate scheme” or “graduate programme” does not exist and in fact the term “scheme” means something illegal in the States.

You can search the 3 websites mentioned above with your field of interest for example if you are looking at engineering then you would search “engineering internships” On the various websites there are filtering options which include location, salary etc. When using LinkedIn ensure in your Summary section you have the phrase “J1 Visa Candidate” at the start so employers who view your profile know that they are not responsible for your visa. If you use LinkedIn you can apply with your profile instead of a CV and cover letter so ensure your profile is up to date with a professional photo. Similarly if you applying using a cover letter and CV ensure “J1 Visa Candidate” is visible on both documents. A CV in the USA is 1 page only so make what you put on there count. Use Glassdoor to help find work but also to research what an intern can earn as it contains company, interview and salary reviews.

If you are applying via the company directly and are filling in an online application form then make sure when they ask “Are you authorised to work in the United States?” you answer yes as you will have a J1 visa. When the question comes up about sponsorship on the application form “will you now or in the future require sponsorship for employment visa status?” you answer no as you have an independent sponsor and you will not require the company to sponsor you.

We recommend using the cover letter from Parenthese a J1 Visa Sponsor who visits the University of Manchester twice an academic year to talk to students about J1 visas. On their website under the Student tab you will find links to really helpful information including how to get started and most important the “Pick Me” section which details application advice. You can click on the following link to access their recommended cover letter format which informs the employer in the USA of the advantages of hiring an overseas intern as well as the financial benefits http://www.parenthese-london.co.uk/students/internship/pick-me/let-us-be-your-network/ use the cover letter template keeping the sections in bold only changing the sections not in bold. There is lots of great advice and information on this website.

Paid or Unpaid Internships?

We recommend only looking at paid internships rather than unpaid. Do your research regarding the company using Glassdoor.com and LinkedIn. Make sure you know what the basic living costs are for the area of the USA you want to work in and that the job you are applying for will cover those expenses. For instance San Francisco you would require a job that paid $3500 per month and new York $2500 for basic living costs: food, rent, internet, travel etc. These salaries are not unreasonable for these areas. Avoid companies that want you to pay a fee up front to work for them to cover the cost of materials etc as these are usually not legitimate. If it sounds too good to be true the rule is it usually is too good to be true. If in doubt however contact the Careers Service at the University or your chosen J1 Visa Sponsor and they can let you know if it is a reputable organisation.

Getting a J1 Visa

To get a J1 visa you will need to have successfully been given a job offer. Once you have your job offer and you have ensured the salary is good enough to sustain you in the USA then you can approach your sponsor. As previously mentioned we have worked with Parenthese in the past and you can access slides from one of their sessions on our website for more details: http://www.careers.manchester.ac.uk/media/services/careersandemployabilitydivision/careersservice/talkshandouts/Parenthese-J-1-USA-Visa-talk-for-Engineers.pdf

What do you need to look for when picking a sponsor?

  • Ensure you research your sponsor and you understand what is included with the offer of a visa.
  • Make sure the medical cover is high enough although $1million may sound like a lot health cover for a broken finger can be very expensive.
  • Does the sponsor do checks on your potential employer to ensure your safety at work and that you will receive proper training and supervision!
  • Do they offer support while you are in the USA in case you need help or get into trouble?

I have my job offer and a sponsor what next?

Well after you have been approved by the sponsor and the company you are working for is checked and confirmed you can then apply for the visa which includes a trip to the US Embassy for your fingerprints, fee and short interview. This is standard and very straight forward as long as you do not have a criminal record. Your sponsor should give you all the information you need to know regarding fees for your sponsor as well as your SERVIS fee and what steps need to be taken. It can take as little as 3 weeks to turn around an application for a J1 Visa.

Good luck and remember to make the most of your experience.

What are the ways of staying in the UK as an International Student?

Today I was asked what are the ways I can stay in the UK as an international student?

Here are all the ways I know but see our website for more details as well as an immigration lawyer!!!!! Bear in mind this is a general overview of your options with visas and not meant as visa advice. Seek professional advice.

1. Take on further study and stay on a Tier 4 visa

2. If you progress to a PhD you can request from the university a 12 month extension to your Tier 4 visa to allow you to find work

3. Find an employer who will sponsor you on a Tier 2 visa up to 5 years then apply for residency

4. Once you have been in the UK 5 years in a valid category not in education, you can apply for residency and then British Citizenship

5. Look for a graduate internship up to 12 months on Tier 5 visa (employer can be anyone as an agency will sponsor your visa like BUNAC)

6. Become a graduate entrepreneur and set up your own business with the support of the university

7. Or apply for a Tier 1 entrepreneur visa with £200,000 investment

8. If you have capital of £2million you can apply for a Tier 1 investor visa

9. If you have a grandparent born in Britain, on a British registered ship or aircraft you can apply for a British Passport

10. If you have a great-grandparent who is Irish you can apply for an Irish passport

11. If your home country is affected by war or you feel at risk you can apply for asylum see here for more details: https://www.gov.uk/browse/visas-immigration/asylum

12. Marriage is an option but you must prove to the UK Government that you have been together for some time and co-habitate, sharing bills, rent etc it can be a difficult option so think hard before pursuing this

Finally do your research the more knowledge you have the more power and influence you have and the better your chances of staying in the UK – BE INFORMED!!!!!

http://www.careers.manchester.ac.uk/international/ukworkafterstudy/

 

33Sixty-Commonwealth Young Leaders

To rewrite Steve Jobs’ quote ‘Great things in the world are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people.’ I had the opportunity to participate in the leadership programme- 33Sixty, alongside 99 aspiring young leaders across the Commonwealth, spreading from the rich diversity of South Africa and New Zealand, and, to the passion of Jamaica and Scotland. Each representative gathered into one room for a common purpose, a common wealth of knowledge, skills and experiences. It was no longer about where people had originated, it was about creating change, and a better future for our generation to live upon for many.

 

Which leads to the question; what is 33Sixty? It is a branch of the programmes that Common Purpose facilitates enabling participants to engage in furthering their leadership and cultural development. This year’s workshop was based in Glasgow and was kindly sponsored by the Scottish Government and Legacy 2014 with welcoming support from the University of Strathclyde. I made my journey to Scotland to be involved in this fantastic opportunity between the 11th and 14th of April.

jack 33-sixty 1

Unfortunately for the first three days I had been struck with the flu, therefore my engagement was limited and little opportunity to partake in any of the workshops and listen to guest speakers from a range of organisations and sectors. These activities gave the foundation for the project work. We then joined our respective teams and worked on our project until the final day of the programme where we then gave our pitch to a panel of judges.

 

When the final day came round I was excited to work with my team on an exciting initiative that could be endorsed. Before each pitch there was some nerves and tension but we remained calm and the pitch went well. We as a team had received positive feedback about our pitch which in turn lifted our spirits as we entered an important evening.

 

At dusk, we young ambitious leaders had the chance to greet senior leaders from far and wide around the Commonwealth. There was the chance to network and feast on a buffet… my ideal setting to showcase my passions and strengths to the world. After concluding this programme, I have imported a new sense of the Commonwealth and making an everlasting difference in the world that I will live in.

 

To bring to a close, I would like to thank all the staff at the University of Manchester, in particular Noeleen Hammond Jones, one of the careers advisors. Who had strongly encouraged me to get involved in this programme and break down ceilings, understanding that anything is possible! So thank you Noeleen. I was also fortunate to be supported by the team at the British Red Cross who trusted me to pursue this and I take great pride that I am representing a fantastic organisation.  I thank all the team at 33Sixtty, in addition to their sponsors, partners and supports  as they all contributed to a fantastic 4 days. My final remarks are that as one, we can achieve greatness, ‘If many can help one, one can build a generation for many’.

 

Thank you and yours sincerely.
Jack Milne

MSc Business Analysis and Strategic Management, University of Manchester

Can international students be self-employed?

The simple answer to this question is no, unfortunately this is not an option open to international students studying in the UK on Tier 4 visa’s. An international student can get involved with internships, placements (as long as they are part of their degree programme), work experience, part-time jobs, work shadowing and volunteering.

Freelancing or working for yourself is not an option but it can be confusing when you look at job descriptions what is self employed and what isn’t. I was approached recently by an employer who regularly “hires” international students on a freelancing basis. In reality the employer is not hiring anyone they are engaging with the student for their services. The employer does not pay your tax, pension or National Insurance and this is classed as being self-employed/freelancing.

It can be a very serious matter if you are found to be working for yourself in the UK on a Tier 4 visa. If you are in the UK on a visa you must be fully aware of what the restrictions on your visa are as well as what you can do whilst you are here studying. Which lets be honest is quite a lot. So don’t be caught out if you have a question about a role and are not sure if it is suitable for you to apply then consult with your careers service and they will let you know. In addition if you have any questions about Tier 1, 2 or 5 visas consult the UKCISA website which is designed for international students http://www.ukcisa.org.uk/

 

For the Tier 4 guidance and what the UKBA consider self employment you can look at their website

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/514308/T4_Migrant_Guidance_Apr_2016.pdf

and see the excerpt below:

Self-employment and engaging in business activity

  1. You cannot be self-employed or engage in business activity. Everyone in the UK undertaking self-employed work must be registered with HMRC; you must check HMRC guidance to see if you need to be registered as self-employed.
  2. You will be considered to be engaging in business activity where you are working for a business in a capacity other than an employee in which you have a financial or other significant beneficial interest.
  3. This would include the following:
  • setting up a business as a sole trader or under a partnership arrangement and that business is either trading or establishing a trading presence;
  • being employed by a company in which you hold shares of 10% or more (including where the shares are held in a trust for you); or
  • working for a company where you also hold a statutory role, such as a director.
  1. You are permitted to be self- employed when you have made an application for leave to remain as a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Migrant and are you are yet to receive a decision on that application. This provides an additional period for preparation and development work before you make the switch to the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) route and establish your business in earnest. Everyone in the UK undertaking self-employed work must be registered with HMRC.

Do you have a story to tell? Can you help the University attract quality students?

The International Office are looking for students to be profiled across their digital channels. The University needs students who are involved in lots of extracurricular activities, enjoy student life and are willing to participate in marketing videos. Sound like you?

 

The following nationalities are of specific interest: Korean, Ecuadorian, Indonesian

 

The following languages are of specific interest: Chinese, Bahasa Indonesian, Korean, Arabic

 

If you want to take part please send us a copy of your CV, that way we will have all your contact details. We need roughly 2 hours of your time in total.

 

Students who are selected will be invited to an informal session so the team can learn more about them.  The project will take place towards the end of April and the closing date for applications is Wednesday 13th April. Please apply as soon as possible.

 

If you have any questions about the project then please contact Tracey Campbell Monks on 0161 275 8269 or studentmarketing@manchester.ac.uk

Did you hear the good news? No changes to the visa regulations for students on Tier 4 Visas!

iStock_000011817723XSmall Communication

So we have had the announcement from the government to say what changes the will be enforcing from April 2016 to the current UK visa regulations.

The main messages that government have released that will affect students on a Tier 4 visa looking to go to a Tier 2 are as follows:

  • Tier 2 minimum salary threshold of £20,800 for new entrants will be maintained
  • Tier 4 students switching to a Tier 2 visa will not be subject to a limit on numbers and their sponsor will not have to carry out a Resident Labour Market Test
  • the Immigration Skills Charge will be levied on Tier 2 employers at a rate of £1,000 per person per year from April 2017, with a rate of £364 for smaller businesses and charities, and an exemption for PhD occupations, Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) Graduate Trainees and Tier 4 students switching to Tier 2

If you want to read all the highlights see the following webpage:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/migration-advisory-committee-reviews-of-tier-2 

International student job search FAQ UK

I was asked recently by a colleague to answer some frequently asked questions that all careers advisers/consultants who work with international students get. Here are my answers to these questions.

1. How easy is it to get a job in the UK?

It is not easy getting a job in the UK but it can be done.  If you are looking to stay on and work in the UK, you can find out more about work visa regulations for the UK and how they affect international student hiring on the Careers Service website at: www.manchester.ac.uk/careers/international UKCISA and UK Government site – visa.gov.uk are excellent sources of visa information

The students that succeed in getting jobs in the UK work just as hard on their job search strategy as they do their degree. The do the following:

  • Attend employer events, networking sessions, skills sessions and open evenings
  • Join relevant industry clubs
  • Attend fairs and prepare for the fairs through researching the employers attending
  • Engage with their careers service to ensure their CV and applications are good enough and portray the right information
  • Attend careers events on campus
  • Attend alumni events on campus
  • Research thoroughly their sector and the companies they want to work with
  • Reach out to alumni working in those organisations of interest
  • Engage with employers at events and on campus and ask for business cards

2. How likely is it that I will get sponsored?

It depends on your job hunting strategy? No employer wants to hear the question “do you sponsor visas?” this makes them nervous and they feel that is all you are interested in, not a career with them but to stay in the UK. Your approach to employers is key but you need to be education yourself. Know the visa regulations by referring to the UKCISA website for the latest updates and how they may affect you and in turn you may be able to educate employers who show interest in hiring you. It is more likely that you would get sponsored by a large multinational than by a small to medium sized company but there are many different firms who sponsor. For the latest list of Tier 2 and Tier 5 sponsors see here: Register of Licensed Sponsors 

3. At what stage do I tell companies that I need to be sponsored for a visa?

This will depend on you and how risk averse you are. It also depends on what information you have researched on the company. For instance if they are not on the sponsor register then they are unlikely to sponsor you but if they are on the sponsor register they are more likely but not guaranteed. Some organisations are only on the sponsor register to hire experienced professionals but you won’t know this until you apply. If the organisation states on the job description that you “must be eligible to work in the UK “or “have the right to work in the UK” then again it is unlikely they will sponsor.  Some companies are put off by becoming sponsors as they feel it will be too much work this is where your knowledge of the visa system can work in your favour. A conversation and a referral to an immigration lawyer can put them at ease.

Most students will be upfront on their application and cover letter. If the company asks your eligibility you must be truthful. The rest of the students will go through the process of recruitment and take the risk at the end when the question is asked at interview or offer stage. Both approaches have their own advantages and disadvantages. To see an example of a cover letter that includes discussing your visa requirements see our Starting points guide area http://www.careers.manchester.ac.uk/services/downloads/startingpointseriesofhandouts/ and look for Covering Letter Guide.

4. Who sponsors international students?

To see who sponsors refer to the sponsor register. This is continually updated and has over 29,750 employers listed. It is a PDF so can be navigated holding down the “ctrl” button and “F” key together to give you a search bar at the top right of the document. To see the latest document follow the link Register of Licensed Sponsors 

5. Which career sector is more likely to sponsor me?

I have put together a list of some of the sectors I believe are happy to sponsor international student applicants for graduate roles. This is provided in good faith, but do check with the organisations themselves to confirm their position and that they are on the Sponsor Register.

  • Banks/Finance
  • Consulting
  • Law firms
  • IT
  • Engineering/Manufacturing
  • Scientific

6. Can I get some UK experience and then go home?

All work experience is important to employers and if your intention is to go home but get a little experience first then Tier 5 could be a valid option for you.  Tier 5 visas are available through particular agencies who act as the visa sponsors so that your employer does not have to sponsor your visa or be on the sponsor register which gives you far more options in terms of potential employers.

Tier 5 Temporary Worker (Government Authorised Exchange) is intended to give university students the chance to gain work experience related to their course before they return home. You can find more details on the UKCISA website and the university careers webpages http://www.careers.manchester.ac.uk/international/ukworkafterstudy/tier5/

Each agency has different criteria for sponsoring under Tier 5 so read their conditions thoroughly before applying but most follow these rules:

  • The role must not be for longer than 12 months (BUNAC this is 6 months)
  • The work must be related to the graduate’s course of study
  • The role must be supernumerary (outside regular staffing requirements)
  • The internship must be paid at least National Minimum Wage and be in line with all applicable employment legislation
  • The work must be at a skill level of NVQ Level 3 or above

When your tier 5 is up you must leave the country and apply for a new visa from outside the UK, so this is only for graduates looking for a short period of work in the UK. Remember you must consult with an immigration lawyer when applying for a visa the Right to Appeal no longer exists so you only get one chance to get your application right!

7. Where can I find Tier 5 schemes and sponsors?

There are over 70 schemes under Tier 5 Temporary Worker. Tier 5 sponsors are listed alongside Tier 2 sponsors in the Sponsor Register or you can find a list of all the current Tier 5 schemes and sponsors on the UK Visa and Immigration website.

8. Can I work during the summer?

Gaining work experience whilst you study through a part-time job, vacation placement or internship will help you develop skills to add to your CV. UK and international employers value the range of transferable skills and commercial awareness which you can gain through work experience in addition to academic qualifications.

If you are an undergraduate student the Summer Vacation is part of your vacation period and under your Tier 4 visa you can work full time. You can also work full time during Christmas and Easter.

If you are a Postgraduate student the Summer Vacation is considered your term time and therefore you can’t work full time. You can however still volunteer and work part-time for up to 20 hours per week during this period. Your vacation time for full time work only includes Christmas and Easter vacation periods.

9. Can I get part-time work in the UK which is related to my future career?

Part-time work can include work experience, volunteering and a part-time job. Employers are increasingly looking for students who have diversified their CV’s. They aren’t interested in hiring academics even though your final degree result is important. They want you to develop soft skills such as leadership, team work, communication, interpersonal skills and many more which can be done in the workplace.

Your work experience can be in your field of interest but you have to be diligent to find this and ensure there are opportunities in this field where you are studying as commuting long distances for a part-time job may affect your studies. All work experience is held in high regard by employers.

It is down to you to communicate effectively to employers what it is you want them to know about you. If you are applying for a job don’t list what you did during your part-time job in a hotel as a list of tasks be more creative and think of this as an opportunity to market your skills effectively to employers through quantifiable key achievements rather than “answered email, answered phone, cash handling” these tell me nothing about you, but if you said “worked as part of a diverse team of 15 people across 2 departments” then I would be more impressed.

There is no quick fix or an easy way for an international graduate to get a job in the UK

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!

The Importance of a Placement & Work Experience

Guest Blogger Post

Belinda Mbuthia, Health Check Analyst – UKI Systems Currency Team, IBM & University of Manchester Student.

Hard to believe that it was just the other day that I was wondering what scheme to apply for, what company or even whether I should take the year out to get some work experience. Now almost half-way through with my placement at IBM and I can confidently say that doing a placement was one of the best decisions I have ever made!

So why do a placement?
The opportunities to develop your skills (soft or technical) are numerous. It’s finally a chance for you to experience how the industry actually works and to apply some of that knowledge gained at university to real-life situations at the work-place.
The networking opportunities are also invaluable. Making the right contacts will prove fruitful when searching for jobs after you graduate.
Lastly, taking on actual responsibility that affects the performance of the business is just the preparation you need to start your career.

What is my role at IBM?
I am an IT placement student on the Leading to Africa (L2A) scheme at IBM currently based at South Bank, London. My daily role is as a health check analyst supporting different accounts in the Global Technology Services (GTS) business unit. Being on the L2A scheme allows one to take part in events, virtual conferences, webinars and basically activities aimed at increasing your knowledge of IBM’s strategy in Africa and different projects taking place in Africa.
The scheme is for students who are interested in working in Africa after they graduate. For more information about the program, checkout the Q&A blog.

My experience at IBM:
My time at IBM has been invaluable. I have been able to represent the company at conferences where a head of state, ministers and other delegates were in attendance, collaborate with other employees on different projects, take on extra responsibilities and even take up different modules to develop my skills. All these in a span of only five months!
I definitely look forward to the rest of my placement!

Tips when applying for a placement:
– Complete the application as early as possible
This gives you a higher chance of getting the role that you want before they fill up.
-Give evidence to support your skills mentioned in the application form e.g. projects, positions of responsibility in societies
-Show your passion for the company and role during interviews and assessment centres
-Lastly, prepare well. This applies to all levels of the application process. L2A

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