Career Prep Schedule For International Students
October 21, 2019
As an international student coming to the UK to study, you have a lot to figure out in the first few months. We get it - from accommodation to navigation, to the teaching and evaluation system; everything could be a cultural shock. The assessment system might be completely different. In the midst of all this, you need to make sure you keep your eyes peeled for opportunities for your career advancement outside of the classroom. Here’s a list to take you through all the preemptive actions you can take to stay ahead in your career.
Visit the CV Clinic or the Careers Service at your University
The first step in your plan should be to pay a visit to the careers service centre and have your CV vetted by them. This is both a preparatory and a pre-emptive measure. A CV is your most important piece of professional document in any application process, so it is imperative for you to get it right. And yet, recruiters are busy people and only spend seconds scanning it so the more compact it is the easier it is to read. Therefore, the first thing you need to do is book an appointment for a CV clinic or a CV consultation appointment, whatever it is called at your University. Careers Services often provide you with sample CV templates and help you understand how to customise it for various purposes: part-time jobs, fellowships, academic consideration. Did you know that changing the numbers spelt out in a CV to numerical form can also make it stand out to the recruiter? A consultation can help you with more such tips and hacks.
Understand the eligibility conditions in the Job market
The job market in the UK is likely going to be very different from your home country. International students in the UK need a Tier 2 Visa, which acts as a work permit. To secure a Tier 2 Visa, which is the most common visa for students to switch to after graduation, you need to be sponsored by a company. This means that your employer company needs to be a licensed sponsor for you to apply to live in the UK. To top it off, the application process is very different in the UK, consisting of situational judgement tests, assessment centres, psychometric tests and personal interviews, each of which assesses a very specific skillset.
Visit the Careers Fair
Right when you begin your semester here, around September-October, is when your university is likely to hold its first careers fair. It could either a general career fair or one that caters to specific fields, like law, engineering or business. In any case, you should be prepared for networking with prospective recruiters during such events. The CV that has been vetted by your careers advisors will come in handy at this time.
Shortlist opportunities for work experience/internships/part-time jobs
If you are a fresher or a sophomore, you may want to chart your career aspirations by securing some work experience in the field. You may do so by bagging an internship or a part-time job. Once you have a CV ready to be sent out, an idea of the application process and have interacted with companies in the field at the fair, you are now ready to shoot applications to the companies or opportunities of your choice. If you are a final year student or a Master’s student, you have a very limited window of time for the actual application process for a full-time job too, which brings us to the next item on the checklist.
Enrol for mock tests
Many career services in universities will have the option for you to practice your interviewing skills by booking a mock interview with them. At the same time, they may have provision for you to practice the activities that make up an assessment centre. If they offer such a masterclass, be sure to enrol in that. You don’t want to feel clueless if and when you do get shortlisted for an assessment centre.
Mark important timelines in your calendar
Most of the grad roles that begin the following year open applications in August and September. Investment banks and audit companies accept applications on a rolling basis; consulting firms, FMCG sector and energy and utilities open applications in September and October with deadline dates looming around November/December/January.
You have to be on your toes all the time - opportunities can knock on your door at any moment!