Improve your job prospects
Employability essentials for international students
A selection of tips and strategies from our international alumni and from global graduate employers who recruit at Manchester.
Make the experience count
Employers look for international study to provide students with exposure to other cultures, ways of thinking and experience. Cultural awareness is increasingly becoming a key selection criteria for graduate employers.
- Mix with students of other nationalities wherever possible and boost your exposure to different cultures and ways of looking at the world. This could be through mixed project groups during study or socially in your spare time. Ask to be in a mixed group wherever possible.
Excellent English language fluency and communication skills are a priority for many graduate recruiters. Employers in the UK need you to be able to work effectively in English and employers back in your home country will want to see that you have really benefited from your time in the UK.
- Join a student society that interests you and enables you to mix with UK students; take up volunteering through the Manchester Leadership Programme or browse the volunteering opportunities online. It is easy to neglect such essentials if you have many other international students around you.
Understand how the job market operates
Graduate employers can operate differently around the world; UK recruiters often recruit up to one year in advance and look for a mix of skills and qualities.
- Don't neglect your non-academic achievements whilst in Manchester. There is something for everyone on the Careers website from skills workshops to one year internships to fit your needs and boost your CV. If you don't find something, why not set up your own work experience?
- Similarly, there are lots of Careers Workshops on how the UK job market operates. The Getting Started sessions are always useful. Log on to CareersLink to see the latest events, or look out for a Career Management Skills module as part of your course.
Gain work experience
Many graduate employers look for previous working experience when selecting graduates and see commercial awareness as a quality lacking in many applicants.
- Consider part-time work, voluntary projects or using your language skills as a starting point to building experience. Register for International Talent for vacancies that utilise language skills and stress your unique selling points (languages/cultural knowledge) on applications. If you have no previous work experiences why not consider volunteering as a good starting point?
Connections and networking
Stay connected and start now for future success. Many international students focus upon building UK work experience and can overlook staying connected to the job market back in their home country.
Look out for our unique networks:
- The India Manchester Graduate Network
- The China Manchester Graduate Network
- The Pakistan Graduate Network.
These are for any students or graduates with a connection to, or interest in, India, China or Pakistan. Network with former international students from Manchester who have gone on to work in the UK or overseas and receive news and event updates too.
Stay in touch with the job market at home and follow economic developments where possible. Check out the country profiles and job vacancies on the Careers Service website for important links, networks and advice around the world. The alumni networks and our mentoring programme are a great way to stay connected too.
Market yourself effectively
It's not just about what you have to offer, but how you communicate that to an employer.
It is important to understand how CV styles differ in the UK and the importance recruiters place on English language fluency, self awareness, skills and job motivation, check the information on CVs and applications to find out how to adapt your CV for the UK market.
Flexibility is crucial - in a competitive climate many graduates have to explore alternative ways to break into the job market.
- An excellent academic record is not the only indicator of employability. You may need to build experience first. Whether in the UK or returning home after graduation, many international graduates use creative job hunting, networks or related project work to get a foot in the door.