International students: how to maximise your chances of getting hired by a UK employer

The beauty of the Graduate route is that you can live and work in the UK even if you are not offered a Skilled Worker visa. As you probably know, securing sponsorship can be quite competitive. The Graduate route opens the door for international students to also consider less competitive opportunities, such as jobs in smaller organisations (called SMEs – small and medium-sized enterprises), which in the UK account for over 99% of all businesses. Therefore, targeting SMEs to look for a job seems like a wise move. There are many benefits to working for smaller organisations – and you can find out more in our online guide “What is an SME? Why work for one?

How do I find a job with an SME?

Once you have narrowed down your search and feel you have some understanding of the market, focus on writing quality applications for a few of your preferred employers.

Stand in the hiring manager’s shoes and consider what will convince them to hire you.

Firstly, employers want someone that can DO THE JOB.

If you study a relevant degree, then you should be equipped with the right knowledge; you can include your relevant units and university projects in your CV to demonstrate this. If you have worked in a paid or unpaid role similar to the one you are applying for, detailing this experience is  key so that the employer can benchmark your abilities in the workplace. While in some countries employers focus primarily on academic results, UK employers are often more practically-minded and tend to favour experience in the workplace. We cannot stress enough how important it is to try to get as much practical experience so you can to provide evidence that you are a trusted professional.

Read through the listed skill requirements (which are usually clearly stated in the job description’s “person specification” section) and make sure you can provide varied and relevant examples of these skills.  Remember, when preparing these examples, follow the STAR structure.

You can prepare examples to demonstrate that you have commonly required skills in advance –use a spreadsheet to record your stories. Prospects’ job profile lists some of the typical skills asked for.

Compared with home students, you might have less UK experience and connections, so to counteract this consider your experience from your home country and do not forget your USPs (unique selling points) such as foreign language skills. If the organisation you are applying for runs projects in your home country or is preparing to expand to your home country, then you need to prepare yourself and confidently present your understanding of your home country market.

Secondly, employers want to know you will fit in

This is why most job listings include communication and team working skills as requirements.  If English isn’t your first language, it’s likely that your written English skills for academic purposes have been sharpened during your study at the University of Bristol, but you also need to familiarise yourself with the language professionals use and how they present themselves:

Your personality and values also matter. Connect with employees on LinkedIn and ask them about the work culture to assess whether the employer will be a good fit for you.

Thirdly, employers need to understand that hiring you is easy

SMEs may not be familiar with the recent immigration changes, or may be concerned that the Graduate route only allows them to hire you for a limited period. However, there is no guarantee that any recent graduate would stay longer term. Confidently present the value you can bring during the Graduate route period and make sure you know how to explain longer-term options like the Skilled Worker route: Watch our Intro: Get a graduate job in the UK – your visa options.

For more on getting work in the UK, including sponsored jobs, read our other blogs:

3 steps to making the most of the graduate route

Get a UK Job: A Timeline for International Students

Inline illustration by Mohamed Hassan on Pixabay

Author: Stella Wang, Careers Support Officer (International) 2021

Have you heard of Student Circus? Our time-saving jobs portal for international students

Are you an overseas student, looking for work in the UK, but short on time?

We know there are lots of competing demands on international students’ time. Often juggling both independent and group assignments, and this year, adjusting to doing this remotely online. In normal circumstances adapting to a new culture, city, and education system presents enough to be getting on with. On top of all this, is the task of finding graduate work. This can be time consuming as an international student. From getting to know the UK jobs market to understanding the graduate visas available. Not to mention choosing roles you have an interest in and feel you could contribute to.

International student job portal, Student Circus, advertises internships, placements and graduate jobs across a range of sectors and company sizes, from start-ups to large multinationals.

Photo by Luke Chesser on Unsplash

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3 steps to making the most of the graduate route

It is an exciting time for international students! If you are graduating from this summer, you will be able to apply for the new graduate route, to stay in the UK and work or look for work for two years, or three years if you have a PhD.

The main benefit of this route over the skilled worker route is that you do not need an employer to sponsor you. We expect the government to publish full details on how to apply for the route very soon. In the meantime here are 3 steps you can take now to make the most of this opportunity.

Step One – Clarify your goals

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Shaping the international student experience

 

The #WeAreInternational student ambassador programme is an education policy and leadership development scheme for international students in the UK. With my growing interest in education policy and love for personal development, I thought it would be the perfect fit for me, and I was right!

From the very beginning, UKCISA staff have been nothing but kind and supportive. Even the recruitment process was insightful and enjoyable. It entailed a group activity and presentation, then a one-to-one interview. I remember all the candidates being so passionate, confident, and knowledgeable. We were informed of the decision a couple of days later, and fortunately, I was successful.

The induction training session, being before the pandemic, was an in person two-day event. It covered an introduction to UKCISA, essential policy knowledge and skills, and an individual session going through our personal development plan, tailoring it to our policy area of interest.

Being a #WeAreInternational student ambassador has been one of the best experiences of my university journey. I have been able to have a say in the international student experience! This has included: (more…)

8 reasons why you should do the Bristol PLUS Award!

As the new academic year starts, we are so excited to welcome you all back and *drumroll pleaseopen the Bristol PLUS Award for registration!  (more…)

Good reasons to contact your Careers Service

Picture of long straight woodland road with light at the end
Image from Pixabay

We are often greeted with surprise from both students and graduates visiting the Careers Service for the first time: “I never knew there was so much here!” and “I wish I had got in touch before now” are common reactions.

We also know that students are often reluctant to get in touch with us, feeling that they need to have a specific reason to talk to us – you don’t!

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How COVID-19 is impacting graduate recruitment around the world

You may have seen articles in the UK press about how coronavirus is affecting the UK graduate job market.  Broadly speaking it’s a mixed outlook, with some sectors like hospitality badly affected whereas others, like healthcare and social work, are more robust. You can read a useful summary on Prospects.

Photo by MOLPIX

At Bristol, one in four of you now are from overseas, so we’re actively using our relationships with global recruitment platforms and employers to collate information on job markets outside of the UK.

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Chambers of Commerce: the successful job hunter’s best kept secret

What are Chambers of Commerce?

Chambers of Commerce are membership organisations which businesses can join to access services to help them grow and play a part in their local business community. They exist around the world at the local, regional and national level. Bristol Chamber of Commerce is run by Business West. You can easily find Chambers for your nearest home town or city, or home country, by searching online. For example, “[name of city] Chamber of Commerce.”

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Have an idea? 3 reasons why you should apply for the New Enterprise Competition

It’s an exciting time for the Basecamp Enterprise Team as we reopen the New Enterprise Competition this September!  But why should you apply?

1.) It caters for all stages of your start-up journey

The competition caters for all levels of start-up stages: ‘Ideas,’ ‘Development’ and ‘Growth.’ Funding is available at all stages, and there is pro bono support available from our sponsors in the Growth stage of the competition. You can apply to any and all stages of the competition and do not need to complete them in order (more information below). To read about some of our start-up stories from previous winners of the competition, click here.

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