This is a tough time of year for international graduates. Many have enjoyed their time living and studying in the UK, making new friends and connections as well as achieving the necessary academic results to earn their degrees. The next step is often to explore how to extend this academic experience by applying for jobs.
The UK job market is difficult enough for recent Masters graduates to find employment, but with a four-month time limit before student visas expire in the January after graduating this can seem like an impossible task for international students.
Here are some suggestions to help prepare for this challenge:
- What visa do I need to apply for?
Any international student who wants to work in the UK after completing their studies will need to apply for a Tier 2 visa that is supported by a registered UK employer sponsor.
The QMUL Advice & Counselling website contains lots of information on the options for international students who want to remain in the UK to work after their studies, or who want to return to the UK in future for work. Make sure you are aware of the latest salary requirements and conditions of the Tier 2 visa. For further information, Advice & Counselling are based in Geography Square on the Mile End campus.
For graduates with a genuine and credible business idea, see our website for information on the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa.
- How can I find a job in a company that offers tier 2 visas?
You can check if an employer is on the Home Office list of registered UK employer sponsors: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/register-of-licensed-sponsors-workers
Sandeep Saib, QMentor (pictured right)
During the six month mentoring process, both my mentee, Iqra Bari, and I have had a fantastic journey, which has indeed gone by so quick! I would only love to have more meet-ups and continue this relationship for years to come, come rain or shine!
Overall, my main motive for undertaking and participating in my University’s mentoring scheme is to give something back and teach the QMUL students that there is definitely more to life than just education, it is you and your life. However, to really know yourself and understand your needs and requirements, mentoring provides that necessary reflective time and space to work on yourself as much as possible, to be listened to and respected, and for that to be reciprocated.
It was also great going back to my educational roots, reminiscing of the good times at QMUL, and lovely hearing and learning from current students. Therefore, it was key for me to listen to Iqra and the meeting was really all about her needs, goals and aspirations in life, and how I can do anything in my power to help and support her and be there for her.
Hi, I’m Ani!
I have been a student at Queen Mary for five years and officially almost ready to leave with two degrees this August. I look forward to completing my MA in English studies: English Literature degree and looking especially forward to my first ever winter graduation!
I have always been interested in working in education ever since I knew that academia was for me. The pursuit of research and education as well as having conversations about the future of education is something I have always been passionate about. Hence my decision to experience first-hand tutoring professionally. The QMUL Careers & Enterprise Centre have helped me find the right job whilst studying my postgraduate degree to gain some experience in teaching part-time. I was working as a paid English Tutor and tutoring English Literature to post 16 year olds. I was really pleased to hear how much students enjoyed my sessions and personally found the experience to be so rewarding.
While waiting in an airport over Christmas I got chatting to a man who was relocating to Australia for a new job. He now works for a large Australian software development company who, he told me, only recruit through LinkedIn. They never advertise roles, instead finding suitable candidates by searching for key skills on their LinkedIn profile.
Having a LinkedIn account can be a great way to build up contacts while at QMUL, and find work experience opportunities alongside your studies and the example above shows just how important it is to get your profile right! Take a look at our top tips below to increase your chances of your LinkedIn profile being seen by a potential employer:
- Make sure you upload a professional picture of yourself – this is definitely not the place for a Facebook-style selfie! Your photo will be the first thing a recruiter will notice, so a professional headshot is recommended – see this LinkedIn article for detailed tips on getting the perfect profile pic.
- Include a headline – this sits beneath your name at the top of your profile, and will be visible in search results, so make it count! This headline section should reflect your current situation – e.g. your career goal, current work status, preferred industry or current job title.
- Keep your profile up to date – update LinkedIn regularly with any new skills you develop (new software, language skills, blogging etc) and anything relevant from your degree such as achievements, grades and involvement in societies.
- Don’t forget the volunteering section – LinkedIn has a specific area for including any voluntary work you have been involved in – this could be charity work, or helping at a local sports club for example. It’s all great experience which employers will be keen to see.
Tips and tricks to make yourself more employable
Emma Biliri, LLM Graduate
Ask yourself this; would you employ you? If the answer is yes, no need to read any further (but don’t say we didn’t warn you!). For me, the answer was a no – I had the grades, I was passionate, but who isn’t in our generation?
It has been 3 years since I graduated with an LLB degree from QMUL and 2 years since completing my LLM. I have since worked in numerous firms as a contractor and for the past year I am an Assistant Vice President of Information Security at Barclays.
What my journey from starting at QMUL to where I am now has taught me is that you are not the only one competing for that dream job – there are hundreds out there! Getting it, however, is not as hard as you think …
Network, Network, Network
You are probably already tired of receiving emails inviting you to different networking, panel or career events. Do not ignore them; invest in a nice suit, polish your shoes, do some research and go to as many as you can. Listening to what people of the field have to say is priceless. It gives you a perspective of the ever changing corporate world, and gives you the rare chance to shake hands with the people who could one day be reviewing your CV. Talk to them, ask them questions and tips. Don’t worry about looking over zealous – they were in the same position. When you graduate, having the card or the LinkedIn connection of the firm’s associate you met at one of these events could take your application a long way.
LinkedIn is a professional networking site, and more and more employers are now using it to search for suitable candidates. It’s an effective way to keep in touch with recruiters or people you meet at networking events, and allows you to quickly build up your network of contacts. You can:
- Showcase your CV, in the form of your online profile, which is searchable by employers
- Connect with individuals working in your chosen field
- Research people’s career paths
- Search for jobs
Our suggestions for getting started:
- Don’t be tempted to use LinkedIn as a professional Facebook page. Only write appropriate updates and comments.
- Complete your profile. Make it easier for people to find you by including your name, location, education, skills and experience.
- Have a profile image. A professional headshot is recommended.
- Add connections. Begin by searching for people you already know. Invite past and current co-workers and, where relevant, classmates, friends and family to connect with you. More connections gives you greater access to other users, by expanding your network.
- Get recommendations and endorsements. Ask people who have worked with you to give you a recommendation or endorsement, which is visible to anyone who views your profile.
- Become an active member of groups, share content and engage in discussions. They’re a good place to get advice and find industry professionals.
- Update your information regularly – you never know when recruiters might be looking at your page!
Top tips for using LinkedIn to network
- Find the right people: Search for companies and job titles that you’re interested in.
- Ask for help and be clear: Ask something specific like, ‘I’d like to know how you started out in your chosen career?’
- Personalise: Why are you reaching out to this person? Do you have a shared connection or admire their career path?
- Be considerate: Understand that time is very important and explain that you’d really appreciate as little as 10 minutes.
- Follow up: You might not hear back straight away, but do politely follow up about two weeks later.
The Queen Mary Student Ambassador scheme is an opportunity for current students to further their involvement in College life by representing Queen Mary to the public. We hear from Qudsia below, who studied Chemistry and was a Student Ambassador for 2 years:
“Being a Student Ambassador was a great opportunity which really enriched my uni experience. One of my responsibilities was to lead campus tours, and I had the privilege of representing the university, often to an international audience. This gave me the chance to be able to share my experience of being a student at Queen Mary with a large number of visitors to open day events.
This helped me to improve my communication skills, as I had to be able to understand and respond to the queries and concerns of parents as well as the eager students looking forward to starting this exciting chapter of their lives. On school visits both on and off campus, I had the experience of working alongside colleagues from different degree programmes, running days where we gave students of various ages an insight into university life. This was a really enjoyable experience.
Summers were the best part about being a Student Ambassador. With various events