Tips for international students seeking work outside the UK
Having completed your studies in the UK, you may be considering working elsewhere. This could involve working for a multinational company or a local employer back in your home country or in another location abroad.
Your careers centre can provide information and advice on your career options and finding work, and can help you prepare for the selection process.
Different types of employers will be looking for international graduates. These range from multinational companies with offices around the world to local SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) looking to expand or trade abroad. Large international recruiters may well have graduate schemes for your home country.
To find companies that may be interested in international graduates, you can:
- Search the membership directories of business organisations and trade associations.
- Search the international websites of professional bodies, for example ACCA Global for accountancy.
- Network with contacts back home, such as family and friends, previous employers and contacts made through school or university.
How to research vacancies
- Use the guides to working abroad for links to job websites and other sources of job hunting advice in a range of countries.
- Check the websites of companies you're interested in: most international companies will have a 'careers' or 'current vacancies' section.
- If you return to your home country during vacations, use the time to network with employers and with family and friends who have employer contacts.
- Visit or contact high commissions and embassies in London, which usually provide information about jobs in their countries.
- Check for jobs in UK and foreign newspapers and professional journals using online directories such as Onlinenewspapers.com.
- Use online recruitment agencies such as OverseasJobs.com. In the UK it's not usual to pay for agency services.
- Send speculative enquiries, using a targeted CV and covering letter, directly to companies even if they're not currently advertising jobs.
- Visit graduate recruitment fairs or virtual fairs which attract global organisations. Ask your careers centre about upcoming international fairs or events.
- Research international job-seeking resources, for example Going Global.
What to expect from the recruitment process
The recruitment process varies between countries, industry sectors and even companies. Multinational companies with offices in several countries may use processes similar to those in the UK, for example online application form or CV and covering letter, psychometric tests, assessment centre and interview. Some companies may be prepared to interview you by telephone, Skype or video conferencing. The process for smaller companies may differ. Speak to your contacts and check online resources to find out what to expect.
Find out how to fine-tune your job hunting skills, but be aware that these resources are UK-focused and requirements for your home country may vary.
Handling job offers
Successful candidates may receive a job offer whilst still in the UK. When you get an offer of employment, check it carefully to ensure the job title, job description, terms and conditions are accurate. If there's anything that you're uncertain about, check it with the organisation before accepting.
If you're offered a job in a country different from your own, check that the offer covers important issues such as healthcare costs, relocation allowances, minimum employment periods, bond conditions, if appropriate, and accommodation assistance.
Returning home? Checklist before you go
To increase your chances of finding employment in your home country, you'll need to show employers how your experience in the UK has prepared you for your chosen career. Prepare examples to demonstrate the skills that employers in your country require and emphasise these in your CV or applications.
Before leaving the UK
Before returning home, make sure you:
- Join the alumni association at your university.
- Contact alumni associations in your home country. The British Council has information on alumni networks worldwide.
- Get your LinkedIn profile up to date, if it isn't already, adding in details of the skills and work experience you've gained whilst in the UK and getting endorsements where possible.
- Join relevant professional associations for the latest news and networking opportunities.
- Subscribe to specialist magazines and other publications that aren't available in your home country.
- Subscribe to job websites that can email you with relevant vacancies.
- Speak to your academic supervisor or employer to see if they can provide a written reference outlining your skills and abilities.
- Keep your network of contacts in your home country up to date with your movements and let them know when you'll be back in the country.
Keep in touch with your careers centre for further support and to let them know about your progress.
Relocating outside the UK
You may be responsible for making relocation arrangements for yourself such as immigration, flights, shipping your belongings, insurance and finance arrangements. You should consult the employer and the embassy of the country you're relocating to when making arrangements.