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Job Hunting in the UK? 8 tips for International Graduates

July 21, 2015

We understand that it can often be difficult to find your dream job after several years of university education. This pressure can be even worse if you are planning to stay to work in the UK, since non-EU international students will have to find work soon after graduating.

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Although some international graduates do decide to find work elsewhere in the world, there’s an number of graduates who decide that they want to work in the UK. Therefore, many apply for a Tier 2 Visa.

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To be successful in obtaining a Tier 2 Visa, all non-EU graduates must be offered a job at a particular skill level by an employer who also holds a Tier 2 Visa sponsor licence.

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There is a minimum salary that you have to earn, which at the moment has to be at least £20,800 a year, but this can depend on the type of role. You must also have £945 in savings, unless your sponsor is fully approved. These amounts can change at any time, so always check Home Office guidelines for all the latest information.

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To help increase your chances of landing your dream job in the UK, here are 8 important tips that are guaranteed to help you succeed in your search.

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1. Start your search early

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A lot of big companies have graduate employment schemes. These sorts of schemes follow a cycle that usually starts in Autumn during the final year of study. If you’re looking for work in the banking or finance industries, employers may start advertising as early as September.

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If you are successful, you’re likely to start work straight after graduation, so do make sure you are prepared when it comes to your visa!

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2. Gain work experience

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UK employers are also interested in any work experience that you may have completed before, during or after your studies. Listing any voluntary or placement work that you’ve undertaken certainly helps to show them that you are a hard worker and have a positive attitude as an individual.

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3. Include extra-curricular and academic activities

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Similar to work experience, it’s also important to list any extracurricular or academic activities that you may have completed during your time at university. From leading group projects to being a student representative for your course, UK employers are interested in your personality, as well as your academic achievements.

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4. Advertise your international skills

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In certain industries the UK job market is extremely competitive for recent graduates, so it’s important to advertise your international  skills to help you gain an advantage over your fellow UK based applicants.

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When applying, make sure you reference your language skills, your ability to work with people from a variety of different cultures, as well as being able to resolve potential problems i.e. becoming self-sufficient by having to arrange to visas and accommodation.

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5. Is the employer sponsored?

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It’s crucial that you check whether your new employer is registered to sponsor international migrants. The UK Home Office provide an updated list of employers that are registered to sponsor international graduates, with reference to the Tier 2 and Tier 5 Visa application.

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6. Understand the UK job market

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For international graduates it’s very important to understand how the UK job market works when you begin to apply for full time work. Knowing which of the industries are growing, most competitive and relate to your university degree can often make a huge difference.

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We also recommend taking the time to understand the normal process of job application in the UK, as well as what skills and attributes employers are seeking besides your academic capabilities.

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7. Network

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Networking is often seen as a good step forward when applying for work once you have graduated from university.

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Attend international career fairs and use social media, but as an international graduate you should certainly take advantage of your university’s alumni to contact previous international graduates who have been successful in finding employment after graduating.

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8. Useful advice

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Remember, there’s plenty of useful advice on offer to help you after you have graduated. The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) provide a dedicated service for international graduates who are seeking employment in the UK during and after their studies.

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