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STUDY ABROAD : Once you arrive - Must read

Top 10 job seeking tips for international students

Getting the ideal job after graduation is high on the priority list for many international students. We've got some helpful tips on how to search for and secure that perfect job.

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Finding a job after university is pretty much every graduate's dream. After years of hard work and late-night cramming in the library, it’s time to enter the professional world of work to gain a well-deserved salary and experience. But how easy is it to find work as an international graduate? Well, it firstly depends on whether you have permission to remain in the country to work. This should be your first step if you wish to stay in your study destination or move to another country.


You must apply for a working visa so that you are legally allowed to remain. Once you’ve got that sorted, it’s time to start looking for work. Depending on what sort of career you’re interested in, it’s likely that there will be other graduates applying for the same or similar roles as you. So, to give yourself the best possible chance of securing a role, follow these ten easy tips when searching for a job as an international student.


1. Speak to the university careers team


Don’t forget that many students have graduated before you and they will have felt just as fearful about leaving education and entering the professional world. That’s why universities and colleges tend to have their careers services with trained experts who can point you in the right direction.


You can discuss your qualifications, aspirations and concerns. Plus, universities will usually have close connections to certain industries and companies that might be open to hiring graduates or offering graduate schemes. So, this is an excellent way to find out about work opportunities when you graduate or even during your course if you’re keen to do an internship.


Find out more about the post-study landscape for international students.


2. Networking


There are different ways to network to find a job. Firstly, you can look online to find networking events relevant to the industry you want to break into. You could speak to friends, your lecturers or family members to see if they have any useful contacts that you could contact. This might all seem daunting at first but once you’ve asked around, you’ll see that it’s not that bad. You could know someone who knows someone who is looking to fill a role that would be great for you. You never know unless you try.

3. Careers fairs


Whether you know what field you want to work in or not, careers fairs can be a great way to meet employers to learn more about their line of work. These will be run by your university/college, and are aimed at students in their final year of study. This is also a great opportunity to find out about work placements, graduate schemes and the criteria you need to hit to be considered.


Before attending a fair, you should enquire about the types of companies that are due to attend and jot down some questions to ask. This will prepare you for conversations with employers and ensure that you get the answers you need.


4. Check online job boards


A popular and quick way to find a job is by looking on reputable websites such as Indeed, LinkedIn, Reed and others, it will depend on the country you’re in. These sites advertise all sorts of jobs and you can use filters to specify what it is you’re looking for. You can then apply for jobs directly by uploading your CV and a cover letter.


By using these sites, you will gradually gain a clearer idea of what employers are looking for as outlined in their description of the desired candidate. You can then start to tailor your CV to the job description which is recommended for any job application.


5. Contact a recruitment agency


If you’re struggling to find work or you need further support, you can sign up to a recruitment agency which is generally free of charge. A recruiter will ask you what sort of work you are looking for, your qualifications and salary expectations. They will send you potential roles and can help with the admin of starting a new job. Signing up to a recruitment agency can also take some of the stress out of job hunting. Someone else is hired to help you find work- hurrah!


6. Prepare your CV


A hugely important tip is to make sure your CV is up to date and formatted professionally. While your most recent copy might have landed you that job at the student union café, it will probably need tweaking to suit the role that you are applying for.


There is always competition when applying for jobs and so you want to make sure that you aren’t losing out on spelling mistakes or grammatical errors. You may even need to change your CV for every role you apply for so that the employer can see that you are best suited to the role.


Need help writing your CV?


7. Gain work experience


One way to set yourself apart from other candidates after you graduate is by showing that you have worked in a professional environment before. While gaining a 1st class degree is impressive, employers will also be looking for relevant interests and experience. You can gain this through:


  • Internships (work with an organisation for a fixed period)

  • Shadowing (working closely or alongside an employee to learn about their role)

  • Work placements (supervised experience within a company)

  • Volunteering (unpaid work)


Having at least one of these will boost your CV and help you land a job. However, you need to be organised. It is advised that students gain work experience during their first or second year so as not to take away time from their final year.


Applications for summer internships in places like the UK and Canada usually open between September and October with deadlines from  November to April but make sure you check with the organisations you are interested in.


One option that can enhance your employability is gaining a professional qualification while working. Certain institutions offer courses that can be completed while in full-time employment and directly related to your industry. Boston Architectural College has a unique learning model with architectural and design degrees structured to incorporate work placement, professional accreditation and industry certification into the curriculum. 


For advice on finding work as an international student in a specific country, check out the below guides:



8. Study hard


This one might seem obvious, but we live in a world where grades matter. If you don’t make the grades you expected, all is not lost though. Experience, personability and drive are also desirable, but having the required grades is usually the first hurdle.


For some roles and graduate schemes, a filtering system is used to start the selection process based on achieved grades. So, before you start spending all of your time and energy doing work placements and volunteering, make sure you also stay on track with your academic work. This can be a challenging balancing act but managing your time effectively is great practice for the professional world and will be well-regarded by employers.


9. Be realistic


It’s important to have goals and aim high but at the same time, you are just graduating from university with a few years of experience under your belt so it’s also helpful to recognise that it can take time to reach your goals. You might follow a path you didn’t expect, and you will probably face challenges along the way, but this is all an opportunity for growth and learning. Be open to criticism and learn from your mistakes as this is one of the best ways to improve.


10. Don’t give up!


Finally, don’t let rejection get you down. Everyone faces setbacks and disappointment sometimes, but this doesn’t mean you aren’t good enough. It’s normal to feel like giving up at times and feel demotivated, but you’ve just got to keep trying. Eventually, something will come through, especially if you follow the tips provided here.


Before you go, we have plenty more career advice for you. Check out our articles on:


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