The basics
THE UK: Career Prospects

Top tips: Graduate schemes

Hotcourses' Singaporean editor, Danny Simpohai is a current student in the UK. He gives his top tips on finding employment after graduation.


Whether you are a domestic or international student; there is often only one question on your mind: 'how can I find a job after graduation?' Job markets around the world are very competitive, so employers are looking for candidates who have something extra that can set them apart from the crowd.

So how can an international student stand out from the crowd when there are hundreds of other students in the same position? Hotcourses Abroad gives some tips to help you make the transition from student to professional, and suggests ways to improve your credentials while you study:


Your CV represents a golden opportunity to really sell yourself to employers. Take some time to find a template online, so that the document you create looks professional. Also try to avoid the clichéd phrases that are used on all CVs - employers will generally have to look at dozens if not hundreds of documents, so make sure that yours stands out. Grammar errors and spelling mistakes will immediately harm your chances, so if you are not entirely confident in your written ability, ask someone to check it for you.

Top tip: Promote your personal achievements. Make sure you focus on the skills gained from your experiences and how they would be of use to the company if they chose to employ you.


This is perhaps the most nerve-wracking part of the application experience, but there are ways to prepare. Always do your research before going to the interview. Showing an awareness of the company you intend to work for suggests that you are willing and able to succeed if selected. This will also give you a feeling of readiness that will help to steady your nerves. Most employers will finish an interview by asking if you have any questions for them - this is a chance to show some initiative, so it is a good idea to prepare one or two simple questions (although asking about money or holiday entitlement at this stage is probably not such a good idea!).

Top tip: Try to mention the company's recent activity. If they have an online blog or newsletter then do your homework - if they put it in there then they are obviously proud of it and would be pleased to hear you are aware of their achievements.


Useful skills:
Foreign languages are always a strong skill set to take to an interview. Being multilingual could come in handy when dealing with clients from overseas, but the main thing is to have a good command of written and oral English. You should also possess the required level of English and the relevant documentation. For more details about English proficiency exams and qualifications, see Hotcourses' IELTS article.

Top tip: Be pro-active. Volunteer for extra credits and work on projects outside of your regular studies which will show that you are dynamic and separate your application from the rest.


Where to look:

  • Your university or college will probably have a notice board that is updated with vacancies either on campus or in your local area
  • Local newspapers also contain a jobs section
  • Online recruitment sites are an excellent resource and most employers are using these to recruit staff. You can search by sector, salary and the number of hours available.
  • Employment agencies work to help students find jobs that are suited to their skills and experience.
  • Social media has become a major source of information relating to careers. In general, multi-national companies are most likely to have a facebook, twitter or linkedin page. If you have a twitter account, here are a few pages to follow:
    @GradFutures_UK; @LondonGradFair; @graduatejobsUK; @milkroundonline
  • Your lecturers and student advisors remain the best available resource for employment advice - they have seen it all before and will often have links to employers or graduates who have trodden the same path. They will know about any graduate schemes that are relevant to you and may even be willing to write a letter of recommendation.

Top tip: Speak to other students who have graduated before you to build up a picture of the job market and to find out what is available.


Internships - Becoming an intern is a great way to gain some professional experience and take a step towards your future career. For more information about this option, see our internships article.


Legal Requirements - Before you begin working in your study destination, you must make sure that you have the right legal documents. To read more about this, see our article about visas and national insurance in the UK.


Other useful websites:
When you are using the internet, type in 'Graduate scheme UK' or any other study destination of your preference. This will give you a series of links to websites related to the graduate scheme. Here are some useful sites from which you can start your search:

The Graduate
Tops 100 graduate employers

This article was written for Hotcourses Abroad by Danny Simpohai and Marcelo Beltrame.

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