It can be quite overwhelming for international students to find a job in the UK. Job hunting, sponsorships, visa permits and the ongoing pandemic has had quite an impact on everyone. So, we talked to employment experts, Sally Blyth who is a Career Coach and Communications Consultant at Elite Career Direction and Pervin Shaikh, the co-founder of Elite Career Direction and put together a guide to get you an insight to help you understand the intricacies of finding a job in the UK for international students.
Finding a job is tough enough, but it is even harder during a pandemic. The new age virtual recruitment process has greatly expanded the job market. It may be competitive but with the right planning and guidance, finding a job may be far less painful than it looks. With companies already recruiting for Spring and Summer this year, the key is to be really prepared and understand the process of the recruitment.
According to Sally Blyth, Career Coach and Communications Consultant at Elite Career Direction, there are 5 stages to recruitment :
“There is the initial online application whereby you might have to write a cover letter and submit your CV and then there are a set of online tests that most companies would ask you to do which involves psychometric test, numerical test, verbal reasoning test and also something called the situational judgment tests and then you have the interview stage, the assessment centres are for that, and then the final interview stage.”
It is important to note that with the entire process being done virtually, things may have gotten a bit complicated. Some interviews are pre-recorded with the candidate getting around 2 minutes to think about the question and 2 minutes to answer it.
While applying for jobs in global organizations, students must remember that companies are looking for someone who is a good fit in their organization which means candidates are expected to demonstrate some of the soft skills recruiters are looking for. It is not just your academic excellence that is noted but also your extra-curricular activities which helps them determine whether you fit well into a global team, whether you can conform and create strong relationships and also whether you understand the company values. Global organizations are looking for diversity in the workplace. Having language skills and cross-cultural knowledge are assets while applying for jobs.
“What really benefits students is strategic positioning – positioning for opportunities as they come along and self-identifying the who, what, when and why.”, said Pervin Shaikh, the co-founder of Elite Career Direction.
BENEFITS OF PART-TIME JOBS
The most important aspect of finding a good job is work experience. Work experience reflects participation, responsibility and most importantly, it helps you develop your skills. It will show your potential employer your communication skills, leadership skills, problem solving skills as well as your critical thinking. By working part-time, you will get the opportunity to sell your skills in an interview.
POST-STUDY WORK VISA
In order to attract overseas talent, the UK government has launched the post-study work visa applicable to international students all over the world. The two-year PSW visa would allow any eligible student to stay back and look for work or to work in any career or position of their choice. After the two years, they will be able to switch onto the skilled worker visa if they find a job which meets the skill requirement of the route.
For more information, click here.
What are some common mistakes students make when applying for jobs?
“Lots! Lack of research, lack of planning […], And also people are very impatient. Job hunting is a very long and tiring process. Treat your job hunt like a marathon, if you do a sprint, you will burn out very quickly and you will end up applying for companies that don’t see you.”, says Pervin.
The simplest of mistakes while applying for a job can hold young people back from employment. The first step to successfully apply for a job is to identify the mistakes you are making and rectifying it. Here is a list of some of the most common mistakes students make while applying for a job.
1.Lack of Research
The most important mistake students do while applying for a job is the lack of research. Read about the skills you require for that specific job and use that to attract recruiters. Make sure you are well versed in the job description which covers what the job entails, read about the company history, values and what exactly they do.
According to Pervin, just going into it without really doing the research and trying to pretend rather than being the best fit could have detrimental effects. “As a coach I have seen this on a regular basis. They apply because their friends are applying to the same companies.”, says Pervin.
2. Lack of planning
Planning is the foundation for achieving your future goals. We all know that procrastination is key, especially when you are in need of a plan. Students tend to do things at the last minute and then get tired and give up or hustle through the entire process. But if you need to get that dream job at a global organization, you must have a plan.
“It really pays to sit down and focus on who you are, knowing your strengths and being able to actually identify companies that would benefit from your skills set. Organizations are looking for people who are the best fit, not just somebody who is going to fit in”, says Pervin.
3. Neglecting your networks
Grow your networks and build relationships with people. According to Sally Blythe, 60% of job opportunities are not advertised. This hidden job market is mostly available through networks. If you neglect your networks, you may miss out an important opportunity.
4. Thinking quantity over quality
When writing a CV, students tend to think about the quantity of information rather than the quality of your information. Remember that the curriculum vitae is a brief account of a person’s qualifications and their achievements. Irrelevant data about your life is useless and unessential. So, when preparing your CV, be precise, check the format, keep it professional and proof -read twice.
5. Inappropriate social media profiles
Around 20% of students don’t know that recruiters check their social media profiles. It helps recruiters gain an idea of their candidate. So, either keep your social media profiles clean or keep your profiles private from prying eyes.
When writing a CV, students tend to think about quantity of information rather than the quality of information. Also remember to keep you social media profiles private.
“This is going to be the first document they [recruiters] see and understand about you […], remember you are not a student anymore, you are a young professional. you have to put a hat on when you are applying for jobs, your CV will showcase who you are. […] You can’t afford it to have it badly formatted, punctuation mistakes, different fonts. [If so] you would come across as a disorganized and an unprofessional person. Your CV should not just showcase what you have done but what you have achieved.”, says Sally.
Around 20% of students don’t know that recruiters check their social media profiles. It helps recruiters gain an idea of their candidate. So, either keep your social media profiles clean or keep your profiles private from prying eyes. Once you rectify these silly mistakes, you might be able to bag that dream job!
What are some tips to boost students’ employability?
“The key thing to getting a job is to understand your strengths and use it to sell yourself in the job recruitment market. A lot of coaching that we do is to train students to have that confidence to sell yourself.”, says Sally.
Listed below are some tips suggested by Sally and Pervin to boost your employability skills.
1. Do not panic
Stop panicking! It wouldn’t do you any good. Yes, job hunting is one of the most tiring processes ever but with the right amount of planning and research, you would be able to sack that dream job. Set goals and deadlines, stay positive and most importantly take breaks to keep that job search anxiety at bay.
2. Manage your expectations
If you don’t manage your expectations, you might make a premature move and sabotage your progress and even your work life. So, before you take that job, manage your expectations about your role, your manager, your colleagues and your future at the firm.
3. Understand your strength
The first step to convincing the recruiters that you are the perfect fit for the job is to understand and recognize your strength. Use these strengths to sell yourself and make it a part of your skill. This would help you stand out and look appealing to your recruiters.
Personal branding could go a long way when you are trying to find a job. Make this social media presence as your selling framework for networking and building relationships. Keep an eye on that hidden job market.
“Think of your CV as your selling document and your Linkedin presence as your selling framework. […] Pursue as many activities as possible to increase your strengths. Try to get as much work experience and many internships as possible that isn’t just to develop technical skills but skills that help build your experience for team work, helps you build responsibilities, leadership skills and other soft skills.”, says Sally.
5. Career Fairs
Recruiters attend career fairs for one reason, that is, to fill vacancies. You can make a lasting impression on your recruiter and bag that job. Attend career fairs and networking events to not miss out on important opportunities and say goodbye to unemployment.
“You will get to ask questions that you might not necessarily ask when you are doing a virtual interview. It’s an opportunity to be able to connect to somebody and then being able to use that name in a potential application process as well.”, says Pervin
The one paramount thing that you have to remember is to reset yourself and have an unshakable faith to achieve your goals. The process may be brutal but it’s worth the journey to bag that dream job. So get off those quarantine jitters and get to work!