The experts’ advice – home to get a job in your home country

Members of the Midlands International Group were asked what was the best advice they would give to international students looking for a job in their home country. These are their responses:

My advice would be research recruitment agencies and university alumni associations in your home country before you leave, make contact with them and stay in contact with them during your studies in the UK. We have a saying….the early bird catches the worm…

Michele Zala, Nottingham Trent University

Be prepared for reverse culture shock and that it will take anything from 3-12 months to find a suitable graduate position once home.  Maintain your network whilst you are studying and start putting out expressions of interest 3 months before you go home. Be realistic in your expectations of salary and status and think about how you will sell your extra- curricular UK experience to employers.

Ellen O’Brien, University of Birmingham

Reflect on the value you can bring to the role having studied in UK. Your time studying has not only helped you better understand the subject you studied, but has giving you a unique insight into life outside of your home country, so why not use that to your advantage? Maybe there are roles where your enhanced language skills and cultural awareness could be put to use. These could be organisations which have dealings with UK markets, or are international organisations who highly values those who have a wider perspective that only studying and living in another country could gain them. While many people do now study overseas, think about how your experience has helped you develop the skills that employers are looking for, and practice how you could communicate that message clearly when you make an application or during your interview.

James Heritage, Aston University

Utilise the resources in your Careers Service namely websites they’ve subscribed to on your behalf. Resources like: “Passport Careers” or “GoinGlobal”. In Addition “GradLink” have some useful resources for some places like: Bangladesh, Canada, Africa, India, Middle East, Asia etc

Teresa Corcoran, University of Nottingham

It is vital to develop and maintain links and relationships with companies and professional industry bodies back home.  Keep in touch and comment on the articles and blogs being created. Attending online events and basing a university project upon the key issues for the industry/ business within that country, can prove your genuine interest in their needs.

Chris Steventon, Coventry University

We can’t emphasise enough the value of gaining relevant work experience whilst studying. Not only in terms of building your networking opportunities to support your case for staying in the UK but also to show the added value of your UK qualification when you return to your home country. What kudos to be able to say you have real-world insight into UK business because of your work experience! Take advantage of paid placements and internships offered.

Merlinda Charley, University College Birmingham

  • Give some thought to what you already know about the recruitment process in your home country and how you can apply this
  • Use your network! Think about the industry you want to work in and any connections you may have that can help you

Mark Blaber, Northampton University

Use your home based network, friends, family, old employers this will allow you to remain updated on employment situations back home. Make sure to keep yourself relevant to those employers you are interested in,  follow companies on LinkedIn that you are interested in back at home – connect with recruiters for these companies ( but also make sure that you LinkedIn page is good enough to share with them) this will also allow you to keep in mind deadlines for applications etc.

Judy Turner, University of Lincoln

The experts’ advice – finding a job in the UK

The expert’s advice – finding a job in the UK

Members of the Midlands International Group were asked what was the best advice they would give to international students looking for a job in the UK. These  are their responses:

Be prepared to take up a range of positions and opportunities that quickly show your commitment to working and contributing within the UK.  Thinking over more diverse ways of demonstrating your interest in particular industry issues and employer needs can help employers see the research you have done.  This can work especially well if you can write and express succinctly how your previous experience, study specialisms and skills link to their needs.

Chris Steventon, Coventry University

Start early, be targeted in your approach, make the most of university recruitment fairs and UK recruitment agencies. Network, use any Mentors available at the University and contact Alumni from your course (try LinkedIN), especially if the Alumni is an international student who is now working in the UK.

Michele Zala, Nottingham Trent University

Understand the Tier 2 visa rules – UKCISA is a good website to help you to understand the requirements. Ensure you understand the Tier 4-Tier 2 Visa switching process and have the list or Tier 2 sponsors . Student Circus is a website designed to only advertise Tier 2 Sponsored roles (for Tier 4 students)

Make sure you speak to the Careers Service so that you can fully prepare for UK recruitment and selection activities, they’ll have resources to help with: Psychometric testing, job search, interview skills, assessment centres etc.

Teresa Corcoran, University of Nottingham

Make sure that you understand the graduate labour market in the UK – this means that you will have a better understanding of the job roles that you can apply for and the companies that may be able to sponsor you. Attend any session within your Careers & Employability Dept. that will give you an understanding of this. Attend careers fairs and speak with employers directly about opportunities.

Judy Turner, University of Lincoln

We can’t emphasise enough the value of gaining relevant work experience whilst studying. Not only in terms of building your networking opportunities to support your case for staying in the UK but also to show the added value of your UK qualification when you return to your home country. What kudos to be able to say you have real-world insight into UK business because of your work experience! Take advantage of paid placements and internships offered.

Merlinda Charley, University College Birmingham

Make the most of your time in the UK by developing employability skills.  Get work experience of any kind- apply for summer internships and part time work or join Societies.  Aim for fluency in English and educate yourself regarding the UK labour market and which employers recruit international students.  Identify key employers and seek an internship. Use the help offered by your Careers Service especially with preparation for assessment centres.

Ellen O’Brien, University of Birmingham

  • Have a good understanding of the UK VISA requirements
  • Understand the graduate recruitment process as well as the opportunities available to you and where to find them
  • Don’t forget to use your university careers service for information and advice
  • Attend as many networking opportunities such as careers fairs as possible.

Mark Blaber, Northampton University

While a degree is still a valuable asset to have, UK employers are overwhelmed by high class graduates applying for jobs each year. As an international student it is important to consider the additional value you can demonstrate through your application or CV, and be able to offer things that other people may not have. If you are someone who needs a sponsored visa, then you need to demonstrate that you are worth that investment, and that you can offer something that no one else can! So maybe think about doing some of these things:

Many students now see the benefit that undertaking part-time work or volunteering brings when applying for work after University, and a significant placement year available as part of some degrees offers a depth of experiences and on the job work skill development that cannot be gained anywhere else. Experienced workers are often preferred by employers, a degree along is not enough.

Clubs and societies are not just for fun, the network that you create during your studies may help you find work, or encourage you in a direction that you may not currently know about. Many University Societies offer students the chance to meet guest speakers and attend events that would allow you to meet people and make friendships that could influence your career – don’t miss out by not participating!

Soak yourself in the UK culture! It’s sometimes all too easy to stay in our comfort zones and stay within our own community groups. It’s a challenge to make ourselves broaden our friendships and engage with the wider community. Do think about seeking out opportunities to volunteer with local charities or companies, join community projects and whatever else you can find out about to constantly develop your language skills and the region you study in. Your international cultural awareness is a very strong selling point for many jobs!

James Heritage, Aston University


Launching your global career – Virtual Seminars

We have developed a series of virtual events during the month of March.

Providing a fantastic opportunity for you to find out more from a wide range of organisations and skilled professionals to further develop your global mind set.

Click on the E-Brochure below to find out more and to book your place on a wide range of virtual events:

Give your studies a global dimension

 Do you have what it takes to compete in a global market of today? Not sure what else you can do to develop your global competencies? Check our tips and advice on how to give your studies a global dimension and gain that edge over other graduates.

Now more than ever, it is vital that you make the most of your studies to develop the so called global mindset really sought after by employers in today’s challenging and highly globalised job market.

Whether you are an EU/Overseas student already studying internationally in the UK or a HOME student considering a career abroad after graduation, there are many ways you can increase your global competences and create an outstanding personal brand to impress future recruiters.

Give your academic work an international angle
Regardless what subject you are studying, there are simple ways on how you can make your studies more international.

Talk to your lecturers and tutors about the teaching and research they do. Many of them are engaged in international partnerships or writing on topics of global relevance. When choosing your modules, consider those with international and intercultural perspectives and try to cover these angles in your assignments and dissertation.

Where possible team up with students from other countries and cultures during class discussions or group projects. If your course is ‘with a Year in Industry’ consider an international placement or one with a company with global links.

If you are a postgraduate student, join any relevant international research networks or organise a conference that would bring students from other countries to share and discuss the research you are all involved in. Last but not least, follow global developments in your subject by reading international journals, magazines or expert blogs.

Go on a semester or a year abroad

Speak to your tutor and the International Office at your university about an opportunity of studying and/or working abroad for a semester or even a whole academic year.

Opportunities are endless and depending on your university’s international partnerships, they can range from Erasmus+ in Europe (both study and internships), working as a Teaching Assistant abroad with British Council, studying in the USA or Mexico or even doing an exchange at one of the satellite campuses of your university.

You don’t necessarily need another language to take part (as many courses abroad are also taught in English) and there is lots of support available to help your brush up on your language skills before and during your year abroad.

Studying or working abroad will equip you with amazing new skills, such as intercultural communication, planning and organising and resilience. It will also give you a fantastic opportunity to make new friends all over the world, as well as gain new perspectives on your studies and potential future career. Finally you’ll come back more mature and confident and with a clearer idea of what you like and don’t like doing after graduation!

Employers value the ability to adapt to new environments and practices, as well as people who can communicate effectively with others across different cultures and languages and your experiences abroad can provide evidence of the qualities they need.

On your return, make sure to come and speak to your careers service. The advisers there will be happy to help you articulate and present your international experience in future applications and interviews. They also organise regular workshops and events that bring along international companies to campus, so make sure to attend them, ask questions about international and intercultural opportunities and grow your networks.

Get involved with volunteering

If your course does not allow you to go on a year abroad, consider taking part in volunteering. Volunteering with local and international organisations gives you the chance to contribute to the community, improve your CV, develop new skills and have fun.

Volunteering can be a great way to gain global experience by taking part in diverse projects, from helping people to learn English to supporting local immigrants and refugees or participating in intercultural mentoring schemes.

Check out your careers service’s website to find out more about the voluntary organisations they are working with and how you can get involved. Or if you have a particular idea in mind, why not starting your own student-led project overseas?

Join a society and meet students from other countries

Through your university’s Students’ Union you can meet people from many nationalities, learn about other cultures, take on new challenges and get work experience by holding a position of responsibility in a society.

Participating in university life and the local community will enrich your time at the university and make you attractive to employers as it suggests that you can make a valuable contribution to the workplace too.

Student groups and societies welcome all students and are a great opportunity to widen your social circle, learn a new language and get familiar with different customs.

Learn another language

Ability to communicate effectively in more than one language will greatly enhance your career prospects in a global job market. It will help you develop your cultural self-awareness and give you insights into other countries and cultures. Employers value graduates who can interact confidently with diverse people personally and professionally.

Stephen Isherwood, Chief Executive of the Association of Graduate Recruiters confirms:

“More and more employers are looking for graduates with a global mindset. This means an ability to work across different cultures and borders, an awareness of the global forces affecting organisations and the diversity of thinking to tackle challenges in a global environment. If you can also communicate effectively in more than one language, you will be well placed to make the most of international opportunities.”

Learning a new language can be sometimes  added as a new module or a pathway to your degree, or taken up university’s languages centre. Check your university’s website for more details or discuss options available to you with your personal tutor.

Inspired by any of the ideas above?

Take action – visit your careers service’s website, research your options and book a careers guidance appointment to discuss your next steps.

The post was written for the Midlands International Group by Gosia Mobbs (University of Leicester), 28 June 2017.