How to be the first international graduate to be sponsored at a company – 101

Posted in: Department of Architecture & Civil Engineering, Undergraduate

Author: Omar Elnagar -

View from the author's desk overlooking London

Many of us international student face the problem of not finding jobs after we graduate. Whether the issue is high competition, or if there is enough skilled workforce in the country, or even “we are an equal employee but don’t offer Tier 2 visa”. It can be anything! The bottom line is, if they need you they will embrace you!

I don’t believe that the problem is with any of the above. If you are international student who excelled in their home country and made it all the way overseas to come and study in the UK, YOU have already achieved something great! So you have got something that many others don’t have. So if they don’t want you, you don’t need them.

Yet, don’t take this for granted and work hard. Really hard! You need to have a good degree, as well as experience to really appeal to companies. Go out there, learn the culture, mingle with people, and actually be involved! Join clubs, go to talks, know people, and know more people. Be well rounded. For that person sitting at the other side of the screen to give the ‘YES’ to your application, they need to feel that you will be a positive addition to their team. You are not just applying to an imaginary organisation behind your computer screen. Get in their heads and convince them why you! Know yourself and know your strengths. Go out there and find out more about the team you will join and see what you can bring to it!

Be patient

Just like how you are keen to get a job and fear losing an opportunity of working overseas at a world-class company, companies are also keen to get good candidates like you. Don’t be put off by the amount of applicants per position. You just need to put in the time to write the best application you can, making sure you meet the needs of the job description. And make sure you check and recheck your application, you would be surprised by what some applicants overlook in their applications. I’ve seen an applicant write in the wrong company name and send it without realizing! The smallest error can make a big difference.


Don’t be lazy. When you’re putting in lots of applications, you could be tempted to use one cover letter and just change the company’s name. Don’t do this! You need to focus on the company you’re applying for and really understand them. Showing that you’ve taken the time to learn more about what they do and what they believe in will make you stand out.  Write to them as if you are texting a friend (but in formal language). Address them! If you can, find the person in charge and address them. Try to get in their head and leave a mark.

Excel in one thing

Try to find a skill or learn a programme that not many people know, and excel in this one thing! Highlight this skill in your CV and make it shine in your application. Let your future company know that you have this skill, and that you know how this will be an addition to their team.

Jobs are not sacred

A lot of people might not imagine how work will be after they get an offer. The key to being good at your future job is to be good with people NOW! Be confident! Next time you are walking past someone in front of the library or on your way to class, stop them and speak to them. Be nice and try to run a conversation. This will help you a lot on your job.

If they don't want you, you shouldn't want them 

If they don’t sponsor international talents, it’s probably because they are short sighted or their resources are limited. This means simply they are not the best fit for you. Get over it and find another company. Find a company that you like!

Posted in: Department of Architecture & Civil Engineering, Undergraduate


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  • Great advice and encouragement Omar.