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How international graduates can get the edge back home

Studying overseas is a fantastic opportunity but it does come with its own unique set of challenges – one of the trickiest being how to reconnect with the jobs market and present yourself to potential employers back home.

Students who have studied internationally have a plethora of skills that make them stand out from the crowd but how can you turn these talents to your advantage?

So what makes an international student different?

According to Huffington Post, research conducted by Erasmus has shown that not only are students who study abroad less likely to suffer from long-term unemployment, 64 per cent of employers “value international experience and consider it important for recruitment.” In addition, the University of California found that a staggering 97 per cent of students who had studied abroad found work within 12 months of graduating.

It appears that across every country, students with an international education are favoured and sought after. This is due to the transversal skills gained by studying abroad – skills which 92 per cent of employers prefer and actively seek out.

But what are these skills and how can you effectively market them?

Brilliant grasp of English language

While perhaps the most obvious and essential skill obtained, having a firm grasp of the English language remains a highly profitable proficiency.

Bilingualism is a desirable skills regardless of career path, as Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan, Executive Director of the Malaysian Employers Federation buttresses: “Having a good command of spoken and written English increases employability.”

English has long been the lingua franca of business and in an increasingly collaborative world, a common language is more vital than ever. Manoj Vohra, the Asia Director Economist Intelligence Unit for the BBC, reported that: “Even companies in China who prefer to operate in Chinese, are looking for managers who speak both Mandarin and English if they want to expand abroad.” Emphasis your skill in oral and written English and your appeal will triple.

Transversal skills

Transversal skills are valued by all employers across the world. These are transferrable talents gained through international education, such as effective communication, collaboration and openness to different styles of working and diverse workplaces.

In fact, according to British Council Ghanaian Employer Survey, “72 percent of Ghanaian employers prefer to employ a graduate educated in the UK, because they are skilled, creative, can manage different situations and adapt easily.”

Equally, international education works in a very real way to open up students’ minds and horizons, thus bettering them in terms of employment and identity. By being exposed to new cultures, ideas and attitudes students naturally become more flexible and adaptable. These are skills vital to graduates and are noticed immediately by employers.

UK student, global frame of mind

We have spoken already about the appeal of an international student, but what makes studying in the UK better than, say, another European country?

Firstly, in addition to excellent interpersonal skills, UK graduates will have a deep understanding of one of the most powerful economic and political systems, as well as exposure to leading UK industry, experts and businesses. They will also gain an empathetic approach to culture and diversity, making them innovative and creative members of any team. The best ideas come through collaboration and sharing, hence graduates can select the best aspects to implement back home and vice versa.

Moreover, the UK education system has long been heralded internationally. The Ipsos Survey of 800 employers in Canada and the US found that “75 per cent of large employers favour the early specialisation offered by UK study.” Harness this preference and sell your university and degree. Ask yourself, what makes your university special? Highlight the courses, projects, modules and tutors that gave you an insight harder to find elsewhere.

So where do you go from here? Just because you have the skills doesn’t mean the hard work is over. But by following this action plan and you’ll be well on your way to landing your dream job back home…

1. Visit

2. Browse our extensive and geographically tailored job collection

3. Update your CV with our highlighted skills and register on Go-CV! to connect instantly with employers in your home territory

4. Check our news and events section regularly for all the latest information and updates in your home job market and wider international community

5. Follow GradLink on social media and have news and job roles sent directly your newsfeed

Remember, be confident, do your research and tailor each application to the employer. If you need any guidance or inspiration, check out our careers advice for specialised industries, interview tips, application assistance and case studies. It’s free and easy to register at GradLink, so why not join us today?

By David Gee Published: July 19, 2016


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