How the Careers Service can support international students
Information for International Students
How can you improve your employability skills whilst at University?
In order to boost your chances of getting a graduate job after university, it is really important that you make the most of your time at university from day one to enhance your skills and experience:
- Step out of your comfort zone – you have chosen to come and study in the UK so ensure you make the most of what a British university experience has to offer. Get involved with societies, go to events, meet new people and put yourself forward for positions of responsibility such as course reps, open day helpers or student ambassadors.
- Develop your English skills – high quality written and verbal English is a real necessity for UK employers and can also be a great selling point if you want to return home to work. Take every opportunity to practice your English and seek out any support available to you through your school or consider doing a Professional English Course through our Modern Languages department.
- Get involved in extra-curricular activities – getting involved in societies or university sports are not only a great way of making friends but can also help you develop your transferable skills. Instead of just turning up to socialise, consider helping to organise an event, sitting on a committee or taking a leadership role.
- Get some work experience – The University of Huddersfield has fantastic links with industry and there are lots of opportunities for you to gain some work experience during your study. For more information see our Working during your studies tab.
- Build your networks – networking is equally important if you want to remain in the UK or if you want to return home so make sure you keep in touch with people you already know and try to gain new connections whilst you are here. Attend events we run with employers and consider developing a LinkedIn profile to give you an online professional presence.
- Come and see us! We are here to help so if you want more support with how to develop your employability come and speak to our experienced and qualified Careers Advisers.
Graduate recruitment in the UK
If you want to work in the UK after you complete your course at the University of Huddersfield it is very important that you understand how the job market works and how it may differ from what you are used to in your home country.
Employers place great value on high quality applications so don’t forget to come to the Careers and Employability Service for expert advice.
There are two key types of job for graduates in the UK:
Graduate schemes tend to be offered by large national and multi-national organisations who recruit a mass intake of graduates each year. These vacancies are directed at final year students and are advertised from September with closing dates sometimes as early as November and December for a start date the following summer. They tend to offer training programmes of 12-36 months which aim to progress the graduates through to management roles within the organisation.
There is usually a long recruitment process for these schemes starting with an online application form and often including psychometric tests, telephone or video interviews, assessment centres and final interviews.
These schemes are highly competitive so if you want to apply, get prepared – understand the employer expectations and take your time over the application process.
Direct Entry Positions
Your skills are not just sought after by large organisations – small and medium sized companies will also look to recruit graduates but they tend to advertise positions as and when they need a new member of staff. With this in mind you need to apply for direct entry jobs nearer to the time of your course completion.
For these roles the application process tends to be shorter with an initial application form or CV and cover letter followed by an interview.
What do employers look for in graduates?
In some countries when recruiting graduates employers are only interested in the academic qualifications and the degree/modules taken by the candidate. Whilst this is still important for UK employers, they will expect graduates to have much more to offer than just a degree. Graduate recruiters will ask for a range of transferable skills from their graduate applicants. This can include things like communication, team work, leadership, initiative, analytical skills, organisation and much more.
Check out our Working in the UK tab for more information.
Working during your studies is an excellent way of developing the valuable skills and commercial awareness sought after by employers. There are lots of options available for you to work during your studies from part-time work to 12 month placements.
Key points for international students:
- As an international student you will be able to work in the UK during your studies in line with the restrictions allocated on your visa. For most this is a maximum of 20 hours per week during term time and as many hours as you wish during vacation periods but you must check the details of your visa to be sure. For further advice or information please contact the international office on firstname.lastname@example.org
- In order to gain paid work in the UK you must apply for a National Insurance Number. Call Jobcentre Plus on 0345 600 0643, Monday to Friday 8am-6pm. For more information see the gov.uk website
- For more information check out the useful pages on the UKCISA website.
Working during your studies – your options:
Part time work
- We advertise lots of part time job opportunities on our JobShop. You can view the vacancies and apply for opportunities online here.
- When searching for part time work, try to look for opportunities which match your current skillset and experience. It is very important that you get your applications checked before applying so that we can ensure you are promoting yourself effectively. You can bring your applications along to our quick query sessions and one of our Careers Advisers will assist you.
- Sign up to our international student workshop programme for help with finding part time jobs and top tips on how to impress with your application.
Internships are normally 6-12 week project based work experience placements and are a great opportunity for gaining experience in vacation periods during your study or after graduation. For more information on your options and The Huddersfield Graduate Programme, exclusively for our students. Have a look here
12 month placements
For those of you on Undergraduate courses, you can take a sandwich placement as part of your degree between your second and final year. This is a great opportunity for you to get a whole year of hands on experience to add to your CV. For more information check out the pages on the University website. If you are interested in this option, you must contact your school placement unit who will be able to help you further.
Volunteering is a great way to develop the transferable skills employers are looking for. It can help you to improve your communication, team work and interpersonal skills as well as enhancing your student experience and helping you integrate to into the British culture. Volunteering is particularly important if you are interested in working in the charity sector, health and social care related roles or within the arts. There are lots of volunteering opportunities available through the Students Union.
Please see the following section of the UKCISA website for information on volunteering and your visa.
If you want to stay in the UK to work after graduation we can offer help with understanding the UK graduate recruitment market, finding jobs and the application process.
What are your options?
To stay in the UK to work after study you must have an appropriate work visa. Information around ‘right to work in the UK’ is complex and changes frequently so it is important that you are informed on your options. We have outlined some of the key options below however please note the Careers and Employability Service is not authorised to give advice on visa applications.
Immigration and visa enquiries can be sent to the Immigration Team at the International Office on email@example.com
For full information on any of the options below please visit the UKCISA website
Tier 2 Employer Sponsored Visa
Tier 2 – Sponsored Employment is the primary route for most international student looking to work in the UK after their degree.
Who can apply for this visa?
All graduates with a graduate level job offer offering at least £20,800 from a company registered as a Tier 2 sponsor.
What do I need to do next?
You must find a job with a tier 2 licensed sponsor. The full list of organisations with a tier 2 sponsorship license can be seen here.
Just because an organisation is on the list, this does not necessarily mean that they are hiring at this moment in time. It is advisable when you find a job you would like to apply for, to check the organisation’s policy on recruiting international students, this information can sometimes be found on their job advert or you could check on their website, email or telephone them direct.
For more information on regulation and application guidelines see here.
Recruiting International Graduates
The Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services has also published a useful resource called Recruiting International Graduates Although targeted at employers, it is recommended that you familiarise yourself with the content so you fully understand your options for working in the UK after graduation. It is also a useful document for you to send on to any employers who may be interested in sponsoring you.
Tier 5: Government Authorised Exchanges
Tier 5 GAE are an option for students who are looking for short term work experience in the UK. These visas are available through external organisations who act as the sponsor meaning the employer does not need to hold a sponsorship license.
This visa is usually for work experience opportunities for up to 12 months and you can apply from within the UK if the opportunity is directly relevant to your degree.
Some of the organisations running these schemes include:
AISEC Access Tier 5: http://www.accesstier5.com/
Tier 5 Intern Scheme: http://tier5intern.com/
You can find a full list of current Tier 5 schemes and sponsors on the UK Visa and Immigration website: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/tier-5-government-authorised-exchange-schemes
Tier 4 Doctoral Extension Scheme (for PhD students)
International students completing a PhD or other Doctorate-level qualification will be able to stay in the UK on a tier 4 visa for 12 months after they complete their course under an initiative called the Doctorate Extension Scheme.
For more information on this scheme and how to apply please contact the International Office.
Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur (for students who wish to start their own business)
If you have a genuine, credible and innovative business idea and would like to start that business in the UK, the University of Huddersfield can sponsor students under the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa scheme.
For more information on this scheme and it’s requirements please contact the International Office.
- Start Early! Do not leave it until your student visa is about to expire to look for work, many employers in the UK run graduate recruitment schemes with initial application closing dates up to 10 months before the job is due to start.
- Promote your skills and attributes as an international student - you should be promoting the language skills, cultural awareness and adaptability you possess as an international student and targeting organisations where this would be an advantage. For more information see our blog post.
- Understand your sector – Employers expect you to have a good awareness of industry trends and the current affairs affecting their sector. A good starting point for this is the sector profiles section of the prospects website.
- Research your organisation – It is really important that you can demonstrate your knowledge of the organisation throughout the application process. So, what do they do? What projects are they currently working on? Who are their clients? What makes them stand out from their competitors? How could you add value? Looking at their website, checking out their social media channels and doing a Google news search for them are all good ways to start.
- Come and see us - We can support you with identifying opportunities, checking your CVs and applications, offering mock interviews and assessment centre advice. Come along to one of our quick query sessions or book a longer appointment with one of our Careers Advisers.
- Stay positive! A positive attitude and enthusiasm goes a long way when job hunting. Do your research, work on your applications and have confidence in your ability to secure that job. After all – if you don’t have assurance in your skills and experience – how is an employer going to have the confidence to hire you?
For more useful resources on working in the UK after study see our career resources.
You may wish to return home after your time at the University of Huddersfield, or work in a different country. If this is the case for you, here are some things you should think about.
If you are planning on returning to your home country after graduation, it is important that you are aware of how to sell the benefits of your UK education to future employers. Here are some top tips:
- Emphasise the advantages of studying at the University of Huddersfield – you have completed your course at an award winning University with great industry links. Promote the knowledge and expertise you have gained, the contacts you have built and your awareness of the UK culture and English language.
- Keep up to date with the labour market at home – what are the industry trends? Where are the skills gaps? How could you fill them? You may want to consider focussing on organisations where you can add value such as international firms with offices or clients in the UK. Check out the Goinglobal or Prospects country profiles for great information on industry trends.
- Build and maintain your network – It is important to sustain good connections with your contacts back home as they may be very useful when it comes to finding graduate employment. Similarly, keep in touch with people from the University and consider using your link to Huddersfield to your advantage. Join alumni associations and utilise the alumni tool on LinkedIn to find out where University of Huddersfield alumni are working in your country.
Working in a different country
If you are looking to work in a different country there are many things you need to consider so ensure you start your research early and take the time to familiarise yourself with important factors such as:
- What are the visa requirements?
- What are the cultural differences and language requirements and how would you adapt to these?
- How does the job application process work – what are the timescales and application methods? For example, do you need a different CV format?
- How competitive is the job market for your chosen sector? How can you promote your skillset and experience?
- Where are vacancies advertised?
We also subscribe to a great website called Goinglobal giving University of Huddersfield students full access to overseas jobs and internships listings. It also has useful country profiles (as well as USA and Canada city guides) detailing visa requirements, CV and interview tips, cultural advice and much more making it a great starting point when considering your time overseas.
For a guide on how to create a personal account for Goinglobal, please read our Goinglobal userguide
Remember, we are here to support you with these decisions so come and see us to discuss your options and work out a plan of action.
Guide for International Students
We are an award winning Careers Service
2015 National Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services Award for Excellence – Student Engagement (runner-up)
THE Award 2013 – Outstanding Contribution to the Local Community (finalist)
2013 National AGCAS Award for Excellence – Research (winner)
Times Higher Leadership & Management Award (THELMA) 2011 – Outstanding Initiative in IT (winner)
AGCAS Awards for Excellence 2011 – ‘Overall Winner’
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