What can international students expect when looking for jobs in the UK?

As an international student living in the UK, you might not have planned how you will find your first job after graduating. There is a lot of information on how to find a graduate role but not all of it is useful if studying in another country and trying to balance studies alongside thinking about the start of your career. So, here are some ideas for how to find your first job and how to prepare.


First, try to plan your timeline. The overall advice is to start research as soon as possible regardless of your year of study. This may feel early, particularly if you’re in your first year but getting a head start is important to allow yourself the time to research, get advice and create some milestones that will help you successfully find a graduate job. Graduate job schemes may advertise a year in advance of the start date, so being ahead of the game will help.

What job to apply for

Deciding which roles to apply for is next. With the introduction of the UK's new Graduate Route, employers no longer need to sponsor students for the first two years, allowing international students more scope and opportunity. Try to think about how this visa route could help and how to utilise the two years. For example, during the two years after graduation you may decide to apply for a role that will help you gain work experience in areas and skills that you can use to apply for your next role meaning that your first role after university can be more of a stepping stone.

There is a widening skills gap in the UK, including areas such as STEM, Fintech, Business and Digital skills. So, students with connecting degrees are well placed to look for gaps in the market and equip themselves with relevant skills while studying to use their talent to fill gaps. Applying for roles in areas with a skills gap will also widen your pool of roles to apply for. The reality is, UK employers are looking for skilled workers, so try to increase your work experience while studying by volunteering or applying for an internship to match your gained skills to your dream job.

Where to look

Get to know your universities Careers team and see what services they offer so you’re aware of what help is on hand when you need it. Speak to them about work experience opportunities that align with your dream job and work backwards. Check out the noticeboards and careers site at your institution and the newly launched UK section on the GradLink website. There you’ll find specific advice for international students looking for UK jobs alongside our free jobs board with top UK employers such as The Bank of England, Pwc and BT. For more advice and access to our database of employers looking for international talent, register today!

By Jen Garmston Published: Mar 03,2023

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