Student perspective: Applying to jobs abroad

Posted in: Career Choice, Graduate Jobs

Shreya is a Careers Student Employability Coach and a fourth year student studying civil engineering and has recently become interested in the prospects of working abroad. Read on to find out her tips for applying to jobs abroad.

Looking for work in countries outside the UK can be a daunting experience; it can seem like there are too many things to think about, aside from sending over your CV and cover letter. Where to begin? Hopefully this will give you some direction and guidance on how to go about it.

Exploring your options

It is important to start off researching which career path you would like to pursue and which countries you can see yourself working in. Despite having a specific country in mind, you may find that upon further research, you realise there are different places that could provide you with interesting opportunities and experiences. Don’t limit yourself, the world is your oyster! There are lots of resources on MyFuture that can help with exploring your career options.

CV and cover letter advice

Since the careers team mainly provides guidance on UK standards of CVs and cover letters, it can be challenging to figure out how to structure your documents according to the country you are applying to. There are resources on MyFuture that can give you advice on this; for example, the Kick-start Your Career guide, which provides some example CVs and cover letters specific to each country; This can be a good place to start writing up drafts. The careers team can provide you with general feedback on the quality of your applications, even if it is not tailored to the country’s way of structuring things, so do feel free to get some support. Find out more about how to get help from Careers.

Language proficiency

Check that you can prove your language proficiency if it is not an English-speaking country; some countries will require you to take a language test, so plan ahead and make sure you have enough time to prepare and write the exam beforehand. Some cities may not have assessment centres so make sure to find out where they are being held and organise transport to get there. If you are keen to learn a language or brush up your skills with one you already have experience with, take a look at the University Skills Centre where they offer various language classes for people of all levels.


Some other things to consider in your journey aboard are visa applications and qualification conversions.  Check if you require a visa to work in your target country; after Brexit this may be the case for many. Make sure you check which documents are needed to get a work visa and how long it takes to process this. It can also be handy to look into different routes to settlement, if that is something you would be interested in. In terms of qualifications, a 2:1 will likely translate to something different according to different grading systems. Some countries require time to verify your grades and convert them into their own equivalent; for example, Germany has a similar procedure that takes a few months, so be aware of this. Prospects working abroad country guides can be a useful starting point for finding out more.

Lastly, don’t let these extra steps discourage you from applying; Good luck in your endeavours!


Posted in: Career Choice, Graduate Jobs


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