So, you’ve had a great time in the UK, made loads of new friends and consider this your second home now. You are about to graduate and are thinking it would be great to find a job here, but the thought of how you are going to achieve this makes you feel a bit nauseous.
You’re not the only one. Every year over 500,000 students graduate from UK universities. Whilst 90% are in employment or have started further studies within six months, finding a job isn’t an easy one. But if you treat it as a job and are focused you will achieve your goal earlier.
Go down the graduate programme route
If you are interested in working for a large company then one way in is to apply for their graduate program, a full-time job that gives you experience of all areas of a company. These are typically two-year positions and are paid, on average, about £30,000 per annum. Competition is fierce and timings are crucial.
Applying early is the single most important thing you can do to maximise your chances of securing a place on a graduate program. Vacancies open a year in advance. So, for this year’s graduate vacancies, applications opened last year between July and September. Get your application in within the first two weeks to have a strong chance of being considered.
Apply for first year and second year internship
A lot of businesses, regardless of their sizes, these days take on interns. So identify which ones you’d like to work for and apply for an internship. The end goal would be to impress them so much that they consider taking you on, but if that does not happen having a few good internships on your CV is a good thing. It shows employers you have some experience of working and that you are committed to your career path.
Ideally you should try and do one internship every year while you are at university, so you would have that experience on your CV when it comes to applying for jobs.
Don’t let your degree limit your options
Don’t think you can only apply for jobs that are directly related to your degree. This is a big misconception! Most businesses welcome students with a diverse range of degrees. They focus on a candidate’s personality and soft skills during the interviews. Obviously there are some jobs where your studies have prepared you for a certain discipline, such as medicine, but technical knowledge isn’t always needed as the company is likely to train you as a graduate.
Only apply to tier 2 visa sponsors
A lot of international students waste their time applying to UK companies that are not licensed to sponsor their tier 2 visas. Do not make this mistake. Make sure you verify that the company sponsors international students by going to the FAQ section of its career website. Or you can do so by emailing them directly or checking the sponsor 2 register which is publicly available.
Prepare, prepare, prepare
This is the last but probably most important tip – prepare and prepare some more.
Your universities career department can help you with applications, mock-interviews and getting your CV ship-shape. Also, remember with almost everything, performing well in interviews is about practice. So if you mess-up one or two along the way it is FINE!
If you are applying for a graduate programme and you don’t get in the first time, then you can re-apply after six months.