How can international students use advice from top UK employers for their employability?

We spoke to a panel of senior UK professionals and heads of HR at a recent GradLink webinar, who gave their top careers advice for international students to help you get ahead of the crowd in the UK job market. We’ve put together their top tips for success in the UK jobs market to help you meet the expectations of employers in the UK.

How you build your CV is important

One of the themes that came up repeatedly was the value of a good CV. We spoke to Tamsin Simmons, Head of HR at Krispy Kreme UK who advised students to use their CV as a door opener, it doesn’t need to be very long, but interesting enough for the employer to want to continue reading. She mentioned the “8 second rule” which is how long an employer will typically look at your CV for. This means that you have a maximum of 8 seconds where they will decide if they should read any further. Don’t forget that the person who see your CV might not be an expert in that area, so keep it simple so that someone can pull out the key points quickly. Attention to detail is vital, so, to avoid any typos- use your spell check and always get someone to check the final version for you. She advised that it’s a good idea to create a “master” CV that has your core skills and information that can be amended to include the specifics of the role you’re applying for. Try to add some flavour for who you are by including your hobbies and interests. These can also help strengthen presenting your skillset to employers by sharing you showed leadership in your sports team for example.

Another of our speakers was Daniel Benson, an international alumni from UWE Bristol, who has built a successful career in IT in London, and now runs his own business. His direct experience in the UK gave him great insight into the international student experience. His suggestion was to learn extra skillsets outside of your degree to land a job. When it comes to your CV he explained that it’s important to highlight your skills at the top of your CV so they can be seen straight away.

Don’t overlook LinkedIn

Naomi Powell, Global Human Resources Director, Telmar talked to us about the value a LinkedIn profile can bring to your job search. She suggests maximising your holidays to increase your experience. Try taking up a LinkedIn course to up your skills as you won’t have the same level of free time after graduation. If you have a career in mind, start reaching out to people to build your network. This can include your current class however try to also connect with alumni from your institution as you will be connecting with people further along the career path who may be able to help you when you start applying for roles. Start following companies that are of interest to you and try to be unique. What sets you apart from other graduates? Use this information to sell your talent to employers.

Top tips

Speaking to Khadar Musa, a senior Cyber Security Incident Response Analyst, who has worked with companies such as Ford and IBM, he was clear that determination is key. He advised that graduates should try to be adaptable, humble and authentic. To get his first job he had 15 rejections and used this to drive him to success. He reminds students to believe in themselves and your perceptions will become reality.

Now when Daniel Benson recruits for his own business, he looks for people who will add value. He thinks a good way to start is to address a problem within the market, you can write blogs on topics relating to your industry and share them on LinkedIn to share your enthusiasm. Tamsin was keen to remind us that enthusiasm is infectious and sincere interest goes a long way with employers. Try to be as confident as you can, it’s a candidate’s market so there are many great opportunities for you. If you’re looking for a graduate global role or advice, register with GradLink today for more!

By Jen Garmston Published: Feb 04,2022

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