Careers Perspectives – from the Bath careers service

Focus on your future with expert advice from your careers advisers

Tagged: International Careers Week

My story: working internationally - broadening your horizons

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📥  Advice, Career Choice, Finding a Job, Graduate Jobs, Uncategorized

Broadening your horizons – working internationally

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Working abroad can be an incredible experience. I have worked in three different countries; USA, UK and Norway (I am Norwegian) and I have volunteered teaching English in China and Argentina. I have had some amazing experiences which I don’t want to change for the world, but at the same time it is important to be prepared and realise that applying for jobs and working abroad may bring its own issues as well. This is my personal story on how working internationally has changed me, broadened my horizons and made me who I am today, but I will also share some important lessons as well.

 

Thinking about working internationally?

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You want to work overseas and have a real wish to explore the world? Then go for it! However, do consider any language, visa or work permit requirements of the country you are going to. Finding a job in Argentina without speaking Spanish will limit the job opportunities straight away. In addition, if you would like to work in Norway you are pretty much limited to bar and café work if you do not speak Norwegian. You may also have visa limitations. After going to University in the US, I had a year’s work permit, which I was sure I could extend. I was six months in to a job I loved, with colleagues I loved in a city I loved (Seattle), when I found out that the work permit could not be extended. I did not have a job that fit the visa requirements and had to leave the country within the next 4 weeks, saying goodbye to everyone in the process. My lesson to you is therefore to research as much as possible before you go!

 

Applying for jobs internationally?

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Be aware that applying for jobs and selection processes may be slightly different depending on which country you are looking to work in. After 15 years in the UK I moved back to Norway in 2014. Networking and who you know is very important with regards to applying for jobs in Norway and as I had not kept many social networks, I discovered that in the interview process many of the interview attendees already worked for the company or knew someone in the company. In addition, the interview questions were personality-based (similar to strength-based), as they did not care too much about your skills or experience but instead they wanted to figure out whether you, as a person, would fit in the company. The whole interview normally just turned into an informal chat. Being used to competency-based questions from the UK I must say it took a couple of interviews to adapt! Researching how different countries have different selection processes and also what websites to look at to find work, is therefore important.

We have some excellent links and resources on our website, also Prospects and TargetJobs have wonderful resources and country guides for you to look through,

 

Working internationally

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So you have researched where you want to go and have successfully applied for a job overseas. Well done, your year(s) ahead may be full of new adventures, new friendships, perhaps learning a new language and, of course, a new job. In my last job in the US I worked at a US-Asian NGO and I learnt so much in few months I was there (before my visa expired) and met some amazing people from the US as well as many Asian countries. In some ways it laid the basis for the person I am today, I learnt to work with people from different cultures and with different ways of communicating and working. For example, any decision whether small or large always had to be made together, so I attended lots and lots of meetings in this job with people from all levels of seniority. In addition, I learnt the importance of company health insurance in the US and the very limited number of holiday days you get! In Norway, on the other hand, I learnt that in addition to your normal sick days, as a mother (or father) you get additional sick days for your child. You learn quickly that there are different ways of working, of communicating or solving issues. These are just some of the charms of working abroad and will really benefit you in any jobs and teams in the future.

Apart from the job, you now have the opportunity to explore the city and the country you are in. Be a tourist, be a local, try new food, connect with people, learn new customs, find new activities, explore your new life! I still think that some of the best seafood I have ever had is from Seattle harbourside, the best food overall is from China, I have visited old castles and palaces, volcanoes and mountain ranges, learnt that I actually do like walking in nature and have met some wonderful people along the way.

 

After working internationally

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So, you have decided to come home again from working overseas.  I have learnt a lot from working abroad, but it is my ability to adapt to different circumstances and different people which I value the most. You learn different ways of working, different ways of applying for jobs and you get to know a different country, often getting to know the country “the local way” if you stay long enough. In addition, I have learnt a lot about myself in the process, increasing my self-confidence and awareness of myself and other people, whatever area of the world they are from.

Employers in the UK really look positively on people with international experience, as they bring back valuable skills, a creative outlook, different experiences, networks and the ability to adapt to any situation and communicate to people from a variety of backgrounds.  Maybe you can find a job in an international company that can take advantage of your expertise in a specific country? I have found that my international experience has interested employers, it is usually a topic of conversation in interviews and I have gained employment at least in some part owing to my experience overseas. Therefore, if you feel up to the challenge and think you will truly enjoy and thrive living in a different country, then go for it! It will be an adventure of a lifetime and you will change as a person.

Want to get to know other people who have worked abroad? Have a look at our international case studies.

So what happened to me?

I still work “overseas” as I have found my second home here in the UK, learning to live life “the local way”.  Now I can’t imagine to be anywhere else. I have lived here for nearly 16 years in total. So be aware that “a few years working abroad” may turn into a lifetime........

 

 

 

Navigating the British work culture - how to be a chameleon

  

📥  Career Choice, Career Development, International Students, Networking

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Whether you have worked before or not, starting a new work experience or internship or placement in the UK can be a bit of a challenge. What are the rules this company plays by? What are the rules that everyone follows but are never written down? What are the customs - and how is it different from where you have worked before?

This conundrum is even harder if your previous work experiences have been in a country where the culture is very different.

From talking with international students, one of the things that concerns them is that where they have worked, speaking up with ideas, or questioning the way something is currently done, is not acceptable - yet it seems to be expected by British employers. So how can you know when you are doing what is expected, and when you have crossed an invisible line into being disrespectful?

This is where getting advice from other international students that have made similar journeys can really help - try registering with the Bath Connection or using LinkedIn to contact Bath alumni who have worked there. Or, if you are about to embark on a placement, speak to your placement officer about which students have worked there before and ask them about the workplace culture and any conventions you should be aware of to help you fit in.

Similarly - social gatherings seem often to be centred around pubs/bars and the consumption of alcohol. If this does not sit well with you - try suggesting an alternative venue for a change, maybe going to a restaurant instead.

To help you navigate these issues, we've written a handy guide to help you. And remember, Careers Advisers are always happy to talk to you about your concerns and how you can ensure you get your experience off to the best start and give yourself the best springboard into your future career. Just book an appointment to speak to one of us.

 

An international student's guide to succeeding in the UK job market

  

📥  Advice, Applications, Career Development, Commercial Awareness, For Taught Postgraduates, International Students, Interviews

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Welcome to the first of our international -themed blog posts to mark International Careers Week.

This post is aimed at any international students looking to build their career right here in the UK. We know that many of you are very career-minded so here are a few tips to make sure you are making the most of your time here and giving yourselves the best chance of success.

  1. Get informed
    Make sure you are aware of your rights as regards work permissions. The Student Immigration Service are putting on a talk to refresh your memories on working in the UK after your studies and I really do recommend you go. The rules are complex and ever-changing so find out what the law actually says, and pick up a copy of our advice for employers too.
  2. Get ready
    We have laid on the complete series of our popular workshops for international students this week, as well as an assessment centre workshop, so you can perfect your skills and stand out for all the right reasons to employers.
  3. Get involved
    It's never too late to join a society, start volunteering, maybe even take the opportunity to build up some part-time work experience. All these things will be useful boosts to your CV as well as helping you pick up that sought-after commercial awareness and improve your English language skills.
  4. Get feedback
    Our expert team of Careers Advisers are very happy to give you feedback on your CVs, applications, cover letters and also help you prepare for interviews. It might seem a little scary to come and ask us to give you feedback - but that 15 minutes can make the difference between being on the 'no' pile and being invited to the next stage of the process.
  5. Get Connected
    They say 'It's not about what you know, it's about who you know'. Now this is not the whole truth, but having access to a large network of connections and being ale to ask them for help is surely a good thing, right? So, we have worked together with the Students Union and Alumni to offer you a skills session on networking and getting ahead in business, followed by Get Connected, a chance to ask alumni how they got to where they are now, and get a free drink along the way.
  6. Get ahead
    You'll see we have many jobs being advertised on MyFuture at the moment. But before you excitedly apply to all the ones that look interesting, do make sure you check on the employer website whether they are accepting applications from international students. Not all of them do, and checking will ensure you don't waste a lot of time preparing an application only to have it rejected.

 

Eight good international careers web sites for International Careers Week!

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📥  Advice, Careers Resources, International Students, Tips & Hints

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To celebrate our International Careers Week, we thought you might like to step away from your search engine of choice, and take a look at these hand-picked (by Tracey Wells, Head of Careers) international-relevant resources.

1.      GradlinkUK

Let’s start with the award-winning GradlinkUK from our friends down the road at UWE Bristol. It’s actually 6 different careers sites covering Africa, ASEAN, China, Canada, India and Bangladesh. Jobs, CV and careers advice. There are some nice case studies too.

2.      Targetjobs

Covering 40 different countries from Australia to the US, these handy quick overviews give an insight into the jobs market, applying for jobs and even some background on the countries themselves.

3.      EURES

The European Job Mobility Portal. More than just a web site with 1 million+ jobs in Europe. You can also chat online to a EURES Adviser. That’s new.

4.      GoinGlobal

Even without a subscription you can still access careers information on 35 countries. One day we’d love to subscribe to this site!

5.      LinkedIn

Not just for networking, there are thousands of jobs and internships around the world on LinkedIn. Use it for company research as well as networking. Don’t neglect your profile either – you never know who’s looking for a candidate like you.

6.      EURAXESS

Researchers in Motion…research and funding opportunities in Europe and further afield. There are nearly 9000 opportunities advertised at the moment.

7.      Prospects

Country profiles from Prospects cover 30 different countries including European countries, the USA, China and more. Sections on work experience and internships as well as general careers information. Beautiful photos on the homepage.

8.      The University of Bath Careers Service 

And finally, we’ve brought together loads more fantastic international careers resources in our online catalogue. Some of these are actual books that you can access here in the Careers Service. Yes, books. Other listings include some of the best web sites for both work and study internationally.

 

Extra events for International Careers Week!

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📥  Careers Service Update, Event

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We have been finalising some last-minute details, but are now pleased to announce some extra events as part of International Careers Week.

On Wednesday afternoon, we will have the return of our popular One-stop CV clinic run jointly with the Academic Skills Centre. Just drop in between 3.15 and 4.15 and our team of experts will be able to give you feedback on your CVs according to your needs - either for English language or structure and content, or both.

And on Thursday lunchtime, Becky Gallagher from the Students' Union Joblink service is doing a presentation on internships and work experience with local companies, highlighting the Santander internship scheme they have been running for the last few years. This scheme is open to international students, several of whom have taken it up, hence its inclusion in this week's events.

To have a look at the full schedule, do visit our events listing, I'm sure there will be something there to interest you. And if not, please do get in touch with us using the Comments facility - we'd love to know what you'd like next year's International Careers Week to contain!

 

Get Connected in International Careers Week

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📥  Advice, Career Choice, Career Development, Event, Finding a Job, International Students, Networking, Sector Insight, Tips & Hints

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We know that one of the best sources of career advice and inspiration is someone who is doing, or has done, the thing you are wanting to do. So we are delighted that Alumni Relations have organised another of their highly successful Get Connected events this week - and to make it even better, it is right here on campus and has an international theme to match the week!

Students will be offered short, informal appointments with alumni to ask any burning questions about their future career. There will also be opportunities for general networking and staff from our Career Service will offer advice on CVs and the evening will conclude with an informal networking opportunity.

Advice will be available from the alumni experts on how to start your working life around the world, including international students looking for tips on how to enter careers in the UK. The volunteers come from varied careers and can give advice on staying in the UK and working abroad in many different career areas.

Get Connected - International Careers will be this Thursday 3 March between 6pm and 8pm in the Plug Bar in the Students' Union. It's free to attend but you will need to register in advance to claim your free drink! A list of those who have already registered is available on our website - so if you're a little shy about going and want to know if any of your friends or classmates are going, you can have a look! (And if they're not - why not tell them about it?)

Opportunities to ask one-to-one career questions of alumni are very rare, and people before have found this a very valuable experience – not just for the advice but for getting some experience in the important skill of networking.

Find out more about the alumni volunteers - and make sure you book your place in order to meet the alumni experts and also a free drink!