The employability checklist every international student needs for their first term at university

It’s the start of a new academic year, and for many of you, this also means studying in a new country and the start of your university career. This year will bring new surroundings, friends, and challenges, but it’s important to remember what you would like to gain from your university experience. In your final year, some of you will begin to search for roles in your home countries, and others in the UK or across the globe. By focusing some time on your employability early on, you will equip yourself with the skills to produce standout applications and secure your graduate role. We’ve put together a checklist to help orientate yourself in your first term and beyond. 

Intercultural activities

Cultural awareness and understanding are sought after by many graduate employers so exchanging ideas and working alongside other international students can gather vital skills that can be used in the workplace. When you arrive for orientation, ask what your university has to offer. Many provide language café’s where you can meet people from different countries and engage with new languages. Again, having some grasp of another language might be useful if working for a global company. If your university has a Global Centre, you might find an international lounge where you can meet other students and be involved in a number of cultural exchange events and activities.

Research the schemes at your university

Most institutions will have a variety of schemes that you can sign up for that are the perfect graduate job stepping stones. UWE’s International talent scheme is a great example as it’s built to find international students work experience with local companies, gaining valuable experience while earning money. If you’re attending an endorsing institution and have a business idea, you could apply for the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa. Many campuses provide support and even workspace for those who are granted funding. It may seem early in your first term, but finding out how the process works early on means you can understand what sort of businesses succeed and use the next few years thinking of ideas.

Meet the careers team

Get to know your careers team and find out how they can support you. Careers teams across the country work to provide face to face careers guidance, CV and interview advice, events, workshops and much more. Make the most of the service while you are at university as they will be able to advise you on the best route for your chosen industry.

Gather some work experience

The graduate job market is competitive, so adding to your qualifications with other skills is a way of getting yourself noticed by employers. There are a number of ways to gain work experience while at university. Volunteering can be a useful way to gather ‘soft skills’ as you can find a role that not only fits in with your studies but helps you meet new people. Soft skills include communication skills, problem-solving and other attributes which help you work within a team and think creatively. By gaining this sort of experience, you are widening your opportunities when it comes to finding a role. Something that is often overlooked is part-time work which can be beneficial to international students who want to increase their language and soft skills.

If you’re looking for careers advice, the latest employability news or a global jobs page then GradLink can help. By registering for this free service, you will gain full access to the site and specific information tailored for international students studying abroad.


By Jen Garmston Published: Sep 14,2018