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.