Careers Perspectives – from the Bath careers service

Focus on your future with expert advice from your careers advisers

Tagged: international

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

international horizons

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........

 

 

 

Considering further study? Why not consider studying internationally?

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📥  Advice, Career Development, Postgraduate Study, Tips & Hints

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This tine of year is a prime time for students to think about embarking on a course of further study, most often at masters level but also at PhD level.
So with many courses internationally being taught in English - and not just in English-speaking countries - you might want to consider spreading your wings and going elsewhere for your higher degree.

As well as considering the normal things when thinking about further study - what subject, what course, what institution - there are some other things that are particularly important when thinking about studying abroad.

Firstly, the timescales for applying may be different from here and are almost certainly longer - the Fulbright Commission who advise on studying in the US have a lot of information about timelines and recommend you start in your penultimate year ideally.

You may need to sit a test - have a look at our web pages on studying abroad to get more information about the sorts of tests and how to prepare for them.

Funding may also be an issue and is one of the reasons that you may need to start early. But of course, one of the attractions of studying especially in Europe is that education fees are substantially less than here. Do check though, the duration of the course - a UK masters course will be normally 1 year but the standard in mainland Europe is 2 years.

Do also pay attention to any information you get about study styles and cohort sizes - lower fees sometimes mean larger classes and more lectures, rather than the small group seminars which are a common feature of masters courses in the UK.

For more detailed information about studying internationally, specific to individual countries, have a look at the AGCAS country profiles for studying abroad. Considerations here include how much of the host nation's language you speak, what the city you'd be based in is like, and what the common customs are that you should be aware of. You could always take advantage of our Foreign Languages Centre to brush up your languages before you start!

Applications may vary considerably - some institutions require only a CV and transcript, others want a personal statement which can be very detailed. So if you would like advice on how to put one together, or some feedback on the application you are preparing, please do come in and see us.

 

Developing a global outlook

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📥  Advice, International Students, Tips & Hints, Uncategorized

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In today's increasingly international world, it is becoming quite common to hear organisations talking about wanting individuals with an international outlook. But what is this?

At its simplest, it is an awareness of difference and a willingness to accept and work with that difference. So when you are on holiday in Spain, you find yourself slipping into the way of eating later in the evening because that is the accepted way of doing things there. And you don't complain loudly abut it - at least not if you want to have a meal that tastes good and is served with a smile. You may even try to use a few words of Spanish while you are asking directions or shopping for souvenirs.

So it is with the world of work. Global outlook is a willingness to look outwards. To work with those who are from different cultures, understanding that there may be differences in the way you speak, or the jokes you tell, or other cultural norms - and taking account of that when you do business with those people.

If you want to build a career that spans countries, either by working in a British organisation that operates internationally, or an international company that has a base here, then it pays to develop this cultural sensitivity and also an interest in what is happening in other parts of the world.

And if you are really serious about it, why not think about developing a second language (for the Brits among us who only speak one!)? There are plenty of resources here at the University to help with that, including the Foreign Languages Centre, Self-Access Language Centre, Students' Union Cultural Societies and the simplest of all, talking to the many international students that have chosen to study here.

To deepen your understanding of other cultures and make it easier to work internationally, read news stories about world events and also try reading them on non-British producers - the English version of Al-Jazeera is very good for giving a non-British perspective on events both home and away.

Embracing the global nature of university and work life will develop skills such as tolerance, sensitivity (think emotional intelligence!), flexibility,m adaptability, and inquisitiveness and open-mindedness. Many employers value these particular characteristics, so what have you got to lose?

 

Making full use of your gap year!

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📥  Finding a Job, inspire, Tips & Hints, Uncategorized

Making full use of your gap year!

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Before I took a year off to go travelling, I was worried that I would return to unemployment and worst of all, having to go back to living with my parents!! However, returning to the job market after a year away, I found myself with a whole new skillset, with new ideas and experiences and last but definitely not least, I returned with a sense of direction and passion which re-affirmed my career path in guidance and advice. So what did this year away teach me? How can what I learnt help you take full advantage of your gap year?

I learnt a new language - After a year in South America I was near fluent in conversational Spanish. I did a beginner’s course while in Buenos Aires, and this course taught me all the basics needed and gave me the opportunity to connect with the locals. In addition I practised my language skills as much as possible, whether that meant on the bus, in the hostel or on a night out.

Learning a new language can open up doors with regards to employment opportunities, not only in other countries but also in international jobs in the UK.

I volunteered teaching English - I had already taken a CELTA  course before I went travelling. With a CELTA I could have easily found a paid teaching job in Argentina but I decided to volunteer, teaching in disadvantaged communities.

Because of my teaching experiences abroad, I had a range of options teaching English when I returned to the UK, although most were low paid. With a CELTA qualification and teaching experience abroad, you will easier be able to teach English in the UK. Although I did not pursue a career in teaching, I continued volunteering teaching English when I returned to the UK.

I learnt that I had no problems travelling alone - I travelled alone almost the entire time and loved it. I found that I never ever got bored, was able to be social whenever I wanted to and had 100% trust in myself to find my way around.

Travelling alone was one of the skills that was highly valued by employers after my travels, and was one of the reasons I gained employment as an international student recruiter, working and travelling in the US for three months.

I learnt that I love people and their stories - What I loved most about travelling was meeting people of all different cultures. I made some intense friendships along the way. I also met random people on busses or ferries who would tell me their life stories. I cherished almost every human encounter and enjoyed listening to what they had to say, whether that was an American woman travelling the world to deal with the grief of losing her mum or listening to Inca women in Bolivia talking about the historical impact of Spanish imperialism.

Increasing my people skills and interpersonal skills re-affirmed my desire to work in guidance and advice. My travelling experience and my increased cultural awareness were also some of the reasons why I gained employment in international student support.

Travelling gave me new energy and direction - One of the reasons why I took a year out was to “find myself”, and I somewhat did! I came back full of ideas about what I wanted to do in both my life and my career, I came back with tons of self-confidence and with a belief that I could do whatever I wanted, as long as I put my mind to it.


So how can my learning experiences from my gap year help you take advantage of yours? Well, here are some pointers:

  •      Think about doing something else than just backpacking, such as learning a new language or volunteer, doing something you are interested in. Employers will look positively on using the year productively
  •      Really think about the different types of skills you acquire, such as people skills, organisational skills or increase in confidence. Show examples of them in an interview, employers will take them seriously!
  •      Think about what you learnt about yourself during your year away. How can this benefit the role or the company/organisation you are applying to?
  •      If you are applying to international jobs, show evidence to employers about your ability to travel, alone if you did that, make decisions, solve problems, communicate in a different language or manage different cultural encounters. These skills are highly valued. Perhaps some of the people you met along the way could help you gain employment abroad? Networking is key.

But most of all, fully immerse yourself in the travelling experience, meet people of all different cultures and enjoy the freedom and confidence that travelling gives you.

Bath Careers have more information about how to take advantage of your gap year: http://www.bath.ac.uk/students/careers/get-work-experience/gap-year/index.html

 

 

 

China Disability Scholarship!

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📥  Diversity, Internships, Work Experience

Applications for the 2016 CRCC Asia and the British Council China Disability Scholarship are now open.


Now running for a fourth year, the scholarship was established in January 2013 to offer students with a disability the opportunity to participate in CRCC Asia’s award-winning China Internship Program. With the support of the British Council in China, CRCC Asia is able to offer two fully-funded places on the 2016 China Disability Scholarship, one in Beijing and one in Shanghai.
The Disability Scholarship Program is run in conjunction with the British Council in China and is specifically designed for academically excellent students with a disability. The successful candidates will undertake a two month internship working with the British Council in Beijing or Shanghai in summer 2016. The interns will live in the centre of each city, gaining transferable business skills and hands-on experience whilst working in an international setting. They will also benefit from CRCC Asia’s full social program with cultural activities, Chinese language classes, and professional networking events. Upon completion of the program, the students will be able to boost their CVs with their international internship experience, stand out from the crowd and prepare for their career ahead.

The recipients of the 2015 Disability Scholarship were Laura Gillhespy (Beijing) and Jasmine Rahman (Shanghai), graduates of the University of York and Durham University respectively. Both Laura and Jasmine recorded their time in China through weekly blogs. Since completing their internships, both Laura and Jasmine have returned to China to pursue their careers. To find out how they got on, you can read Laura’s blog here and Jasmine’s blog here.

Application deadline is 1st April 2016. 

 

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 ready for International Careers Week!

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📥  Career Development, Event, International Students, Networking, Uncategorized

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Next week sees the return of our annual internationally-themed week of events. We have tried to have a little bit of something for everyone so do have a look at our events for that week to see what takes your fancy!

The week kicks off with Mars China coming in to talk about their management leadership opportunities for Chinese students wanting to return home after their studies.

We then focus on Japan, with DISCO International talking about opportunities for Japanese bilinguals - as well as PwC talking specifically about their opportunities for international students. With UK recruitment currently tightening up for international students, this is a great opportunity to meet a company who embraces internationalism. Also that day we host Withers & Rogers talking about the future of global organisations and how IP Offerings and protection are a key way to enhance that.

Thursday brings the Fulbright Commission here, offering their annual tips session on Postgraduate Study in the USA. We know that many of you are interested in this, so do come in and speak to the experts!

Added to all these external presentations, our Careers Service experts are offering a programme of workshops to help students both home and international prepare themselves for an international career. There are two assessment centre group exercise sessions - it's peak season for assessment days just now so book your slot soon. We also have repeat sessions of our popular workshops for international students looking at covering letters and also interview skills. If you are finding these hard to master then come along and learn how to demystify them and feel more in control of your approach.

You may have heard us talk about networking and advise you to develop and make best use of your LinkedIn profile. If you know you should but aren't sure how, book onto our workshop on Wednesday afternoon which will give you tips and strategies to boost your profile and show you how to extend your reach by leveraging the Bath Connection.

Finally, we are delighted to say that this year we are working with Alumni Relations who are offering one of their highly successful Get Connected sessions right here on campus on Thursday evening. It also has an international focus and the experts are all either international alumni or alumni who have worked overseas during their careers. Added to this they are launching a Get Connected webinar on Friday, for those of you who'd like the chance to ask your questions remotely.

Hopefully this will have whetted your appetite but do remember, if you'd rather just come in and ask one of our Advisers your questions, we are available every day for 1:1 appointments - we're looking forward to seeing you!

 

Job-hunting in the UK? 9 things you need to know.

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📥  Advice, Applications, For Taught Postgraduates, Graduate Jobs, International Students, Networking, Tips & Hints

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For many international students, starting their job search in the UK is one of their top priorities. But if you've just arrived here, how should you start? What are the key things to be aware of? And is there anything to avoid?

Especially if you have only just arrived and are still experiencing an element of culture shock, decoding the UK recruitment market might seem like a big ask. So have a look at our handy guide to job-hunting in the UK and start feeling more in control!

 

1. Recruitment starts early

The top firms, who recruit a lot of graduates, like to start early and give themselves plenty of time to select the graduates they are looking for to start in 2016. Even though start dates vary between July and September, some schemes are already open for applications. Many organisations recruit on a rolling basis, which means they continue until all positions are filled. So applying early to them works better; leaving it later means you may miss that opportunity. However, some companies do advertise much later so there will always be jobs to apply for.

 

2. 'Graduate' jobs are for postgraduates too

In the UK, Masters degrees are not as common as in many other countries and also not required by the majority of recruiters. So postgraduates will need to apply for the same positions as graduates from Bachelors degrees. From the company's point of view, the training they give you will still be the same. However, you may find as a postgraduate that you are able to progress through the company at a higher rate, as you will have additional experience.

 

3. Vacation time - when it is and when it isn't

Non-EU students are able to work for 20 hours during semester time and full-time in vacations. This means that internships in the summer vacation period are not available to postgraduate students, as their intensive Masters courses count that period as study time, allocated to the research and writing of the dissertation. Check with your Department, and also the International Student Advice Team, as to when you are able to start full-time work following the submission of your dissertation.

 

4. Don't be in a rush to write your CV

Many students come in and get CVs checked, only to start their graduate job hunt and realise that CVs are not always needed or asked for. Instead, focus on thinking about what jobs you would like to do. If you know, that will make your job search more strategic and targeted. If you don't - don't panic! Come and speak to us - we are experts at helping people work out what jobs interest them and what skills they enjoy using.

 

5. Do something non-academic!

Employability in the UK is about a whole range of skills, not just academic excellence. Organisations seek graduates who are great team players, have the emotional intelligence to work with a range of people and situations, and that can communicate well with others whatever their status. To develop these skills, join a club or society, take up a sport and/or get a part-time job.

 

6. Learn the language of employers

For organisations here it is really important to hire graduates who share their values and beliefs - such graduates are more likely to make decisions and choose actions in the 'company way'. So attend some employer presentations, talk to past students and visit the Careers Fair to get the inside track on what matters to each company. That way, you will find out which companies match your own beliefs and values - and you'll be a lot happier working for them.

 

7. Get connected

You may already be familiar with the saying 'It's not what you know, it's who you know'. It completely makes sense, then, to try and expand your network so that you know more people, and in more places. We encourage students to put together a LinkedIn profile and start building a network - initially within Bath, and with friends elsewhere, and then expanding to include organisations you would like to work with, Bath alumni and outwards. If all this sounds really hard - come to our LinkedIn Day in October or come and speak to one of our Advisers.

 

8. Read the news

Or watch it, or listen to it, or stream it on the phone when you are waiting for the bus. Companies prize business awareness very highly - if you know what is happening in the economy, or which company your target organisation has just merged with, or what effect the cold weather will have on biscuit consumption, you will come across as exactly the sort of well-informed graduate likely to be snapped up. And starting now means you can do little and often, rather than having to cram it all in in the two days before your interview.

 

9. Get some expert advice

Careers are complex. The pressure to make 'the right decision' or submit 'the perfect application' is hard to resist. If you would like just to talk it over with someone, or have a friendly pair of eyes look over the answers to your application questions to make sure you are doing yourself justice, then please book an appointment. We are very much looking forward to seeing you! And remember - coming early means you're more likely to make better applications - please don't wait until you have had 20 rejections to come and see us. We can still help you - but better to come in after 2 or 3 rejections to check you're making the most of your applications.

 

 

The British Council UK Alumni Recruitment Fair China

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📥  Advice, Graduate Jobs, Labour Market Intelligence, Networking, Sector Insight

Did you know its International Careers Week? We have a packed week of live links with employers, on-campus presentations and skills sessions such as how to use LinkedIn to build networks. That's not all, our blog this week will feature opportunities and advise tailored to support your international job hunt.

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We are aware a number of our Alumni may be looking for work or are looking to take their careers to the next level.  The British Council will be running a UK Alumni Recruitment Fair and a series of career development workshops in China from 21 to 29 March 2015. This year they are working in partnership with Zhaopin.com to invite well-known businesses to take part in the event. This is a chance for Chinese students to gain a better understanding of the job market in China, explore job opportunities, and seek guidance on their long-term career ambitions. Participants will also have opportunities to talk directly with business representatives who will be on site to offer career development advice and information on job opportunities with their companies.

Chengdu session
Time: 13.30 - 17.00, 21 March 2015 (Saturday)
Address: Sheraton Chengdu Lido Hotel (No.15, Section 1, Ren Min Zhong Road, Chengdu)

Guangzhou session
Time: 13.30 - 17.00, 21 March 2015 (Saturday)
Address: China Hotel, A Marriott Hotel Guangzhou (No. 122 Liu Hua Lu, Yuexiu District, Guangzhou)

Shanghai session
Time: 13.30 - 18.00, 28 March 2015 (Saturday)
Address: Crowne Plaza Shanghai (No.400, Fanyu Road, Xuhui District, Shanghai)

Beijing session
Time: 13.30 - 18.00, 29 March 2015 (Sunday)
Address: Landmark Tower Beijing (No.8, North Dongsanhuan Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing)

Please refer to the below link for further information on the event and registration details:
http://www.alumniuk.org.cn/cn/baomin/xyhd/xyzhaomu.aspx?aid=369

There is no admittance without advance registration. Students must register for the event in advance at www.alumniuk.org.cn. Students can get further information by visiting www.alumniuk.org.cn or contacting alumniuk@britishcouncil.org.cn and following @留英校友会AlumniUK on Sina Weibo.

 

International Careers Week: the world is your oyster

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📥  Careers Resources, International Students, Networking, Sector Insight, Tips & Hints

Today we are launching our second International Careers Week, which will run from 2-6 March. Whether you are an international student looking for opportunities to work here or at home, or a British student looking to expand your horizons and work globally, there is something for you.

There will be live links with international employers such as Unilever and our very first virtual presentation from the Hong Kong conglomerate Jardines, as well as advice on how to get hired in China and Malaysia.

On-campus presentations are coming from the British Council, Dyson, GKN China and DISCO International.  But it's not all about work opportunities - we are fortunate to have the UK-US Fulbright commission coming to tal about study opportunities in the US, and Erasmus opportunities and TEFL are also covered.

For those who feel they would like to brush up on some skills useful for working or studying abroad, we have a full programme of workshops from Careers Advisers including a one-stop-CV clinic run jointly with the Academic Skills Centre.

There will also be a session on building international networks using LinkedIn and the Bath Connection - so if your perfect job is in another country and you're not sure how to find it, do give that one a try.

The full programme is available for you to look at, and events are bookable, through MyFuture from this week.