As an International Student you are welcome to make use of all services offered by Careers & Employability. In addition, we have specific resources to help you with your career planning and job search:
30 minute appointments are available on Thursdays, 9.30am – 3.30pm term-time only.
Book via your Careers Account
These Sessions are held in the Spring, Summer and Autumn semesters. For further information and to book log onto your Careers Account
Please take some time to look over the following information in which we aim to answer any queries you have and provide you with lots of valuable information:
What can you expect from Careers & Employability?
Careers & Employability services can help you in addressing issues related to jobs and choice of career path and you are certainly welcome to make use of all our facilities while you are here.Nevertheless, understanding the nature of the Careers & Employability services and the limits of the help we provide will enable you to make the most of what’s on offer.
We suggest that you also use the rest of the website according to your needs to help you with other careers questions and issues.
What is Employability?
In a nutshell, it is all about developing and articulating the right skills and experiences to get the job you want. It is a lifelong process and does not end when you secure that job.
Would you like to add value to your UK study experience? Struggling to see what is on offer? Wondering whether you can afford the time? Here are a few activities successfully undertaken by previous international students:
To find out more, book an International Careers appointment and attend the Careers & Employability workshop on Work Experience Ideas for International Students
The list below covers some of the main transferable skills that graduate employers are looking for – you need to be able to demonstrate that you have these.
You may wish to note two examples for each one, where you are able to demonstrate that you have these skills and attributes. Use a broad range of examples – academic, sport, work experience, hobbies, volunteering, internships, positions of responsibility as well as any paid employment gained in a relevant field – UK employers are interested in a wide range of experiences.
For further information on the above, please visit Career Central.
Not all employers will understand how your qualifications compare to UK ones. There is no official list of how UK grades or tariff points compare with other countries’ qualifications so it is not possible to convert your grades into UCAS points. UCAS being the organisation responsible for managing applications to higher education courses in the UK. However, you can get a general comparison of your qualification with UK qualifications from the National Academic Recognition Information Centre for the UK (NARIC). Please note that there is a charge if you require a written assessment of your international qualifications and NARIC cannot convert your scores for overseas qualifications into UCAS points.If an employer asks for UCAS points, list your actual qualifications and grades (explaining your grade in context, e.g. 1, top grade on scale 1-5 or by giving a % score too). If completing an online application form either telephone the company to ask what they want you to do or use the ‘note’ or ‘additional information’ section to explain.
Alternatively see the UCAS website’s section on international qualifications or call the qualifications hotline 0871 468 0 468 (or 0044 871 468 0 468 from outside the UK) or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively ask the Undergraduate Admissions Tutor in your academic school at the University.
NARIC also have an advice line for simple queries from students – Tel: +44 (0)871 330 7033
UK Graduate Recruitment
Many of the major graduate employers have a deadline for the receipt of applications which is usually between October and January of each year for jobs which start in the summer or autumn after graduation. This means that if you are keen to apply to established graduate training schemes, you will need to start applying for jobs in the beginning of the final year of your course if you are an undergraduate. If you are on a Masters course you will need to apply almost at the start of your studies. Even where there is a later closing date for applications from March onwards it is always worth applying early to those companies who do not wait until the closing date to screen applications as they are sent in (sometimes as early as the previous autumn).
A growing number of employers take applications all year round and may not have a deadline. Again early application is always advisable if you know what you want to do and want to get in ahead of the competition. Smaller or medium sized employers may be more flexible as they need to be reactive to market conditions and they are more likely to recruit as and when vacancies arise and quite often nearer to the time of graduation.
In the UK, the career that graduates enter e.g. IT, Law, Accountancy, Banking is not necessarily in the same field as the subject they studied at University. In many of these career areas, graduates from a range of different degree subjects will join a 2-3 year graduate training scheme. As many as 40-50% of graduate job vacancies are for graduates from any degree subject. For many of these jobs, the degree subject is not as important as overall academic achievement and the possession of relevant skills and attributes.
Companies vary in their methods of recruitment. Many will require an application form completed on-line, others may require you to submit a CV and covering letter. The cardinal rule in all cases is to follow instructions and always ask for help if you have any doubts.
Selection processes can start from a telephone interview, progress to a face to face interview, and then in some cases move on to an assessment centre. Assessment centres normally include various exercises both individual and group and some form of psychometric testing. It is common for employers to do competency based interviews where you are asked to give examples of instances when you have used and developed certain competencies that will often be on their website or appear on the application form. Examples of such competencies may include:
Under no circumstances will companies provide a job offer if they have not interviewed the candidate.
General Work Etiquette in the UK
Whether you are doing a part-time job, attending a graduate job interview or generally interacting with British people, it is worth being aware of the following:
A simple firm handshake is the standard greeting (for both men and women) for business occasions. It is considered polite to do so. The response to a first introduction is normally ‘nice to meet you’ or ‘pleased to meet you’. Usually all colleagues call each other by their first names. You should always wait to be invited to use first names before doing so yourself. Until you have established a good working relationship or have learned enough about the company culture, it is probably best to stay formal on first contact with any business contacts.
Privacy and ‘personal space’ are important in the UK and people normally keep a certain space away from the person when they are talking to each other. It is also considered inappropriate to touch others in public when in conversation unless you are really familiar with them.
You will observe that on the whole most people do not talk loudly in public and try not to disrupt others e.g. in open plan offices, on the train, bus etc. Individuals usually do not discuss their salaries at work. When in the workplace you may find that direct questions will receive indirect responses and conversations may be ambiguous and quite subtle. So, it is important to pay attention to tone of voice and facial expression, as this could be a way of telling what people really mean e.g. when you are asked to do something it might not be obvious that it is a request because it is done in such an indirect and polite manner.
In most working environments men and women are treated equally. This applies to other areas of difference such as age, disability, race and ethnic origin, sexual orientation, religion and belief. This is encouraged by anti-discrimination legislation and often by a genuine desire to put the principles of equality and diversity into practice.
This is a term often used to describe how reserved, restrained and stoic people can be when faced with difficult situations. In British culture open displays of emotion, positive or negative are not always looked on as appropriate. During meetings, this means your colleagues may approach difficult business negotiations with an air of detachment.
Business meetings in the UK are often structured but not too formal and begin and end with social conversation. Punctuality is essential. Meetings are a very important management instrument. All important decisions will be brought up, discussed, negotiated and passed through during meetings. The established rules and practices are followed and as a result decision making may appear slow. In negotiations a win-win approach is favoured.
This will vary from job to job and some work environments insist on informality while others are formal but will have a dress down day usually on a Friday.
You can read more about aspects of UK Work Etiquette in the relevant Careers & Employability booklet in the International Students series.
Living and Working in the UK, Collins & Barclay, howtobooks
International Friendly Employers
A number of international friendly job opportunities arise every year. On our on-line jobs pages such opportunities may include UK jobs open to any suitably qualified applicant regardless of nationality and other vacancies which target specific groups of international students for work in overseas job markets. Some companies may have a business case for recruiting international students due to their international trade links. The British Chambers of Commerce and other related websites may provide contact details of such companies.
Some UK employers are prepared to consider applications from international students and graduates especially if the work is in a shortage field as defined by the UK Government.
To view the current list of shortage occupations please visit the UKBA website.
Even if the employer is prepared to accept applications from international students and graduates, you need to ensure that you have the right mix of skills, abilities and interests to apply. You should also be aware of common concerns employers have about recruiting international students / graduates such as:
TARGET jobs series booklets for IT, Engineering, City & Finance etc – with at a glance tables of employers (including some indication of those companies accepting applications requiring work visas).
UK Work During Studies
Normally, as international students you can work up to 20 hours a week during term-time and full-time during vacations with the exception of summer vacations for postgraduate students. You can work full-time on a work placement but only if your course meets certain requirements. Further details available on the UKCISA website.Gaining UK work experience during your studies might help to make you stand out from the thousands of other international students in the UK. Register with the Unistaff Jobshop as soon as you enrol at Cardiff so that you can be notified of part-time job vacancies.
Any UK work experience has its value as it will give you exposure to different groups of people and different uses of English and even if you decide to return home after your studies, many employers will want to see that you have gained something in addition to UK study experience.
UK Work After Studies
Once you have completed your studies and still have leave to remain as a student in the UK before returning home you are allowed to work full-time until your leave expires.Beyond this it may be possible to extend your time in the UK by applying for a relevant work visa.
At the moment, the visas that are most significant for students who have finished their studies are:
For further information on the points requirements of the above Tiers and how to apply, download the Employment Regulations booklet under the resources section on Career Central. For an update on the visa changes, go to the UKBA and UKCISA sites.
Working Outside the UK
The majority of International graduates return to their home countries either to commence or continue their careers. Either way, this may be the best option in the short term even if you are considering an international career outside your native country.The International Alumni web page lists some career destinations of recent international students who found employment in their home country or another overseas location on completion of their studies.
You will need to find out about the job market for graduates in your native country which may be different to the job market in the UK. In particular, you will need to know about the general timescale for job applications, vacancy sources, the methods of applying for jobs, CV/job application/interview format.
If you return to your native country for vacations as a student it may be a good idea to use this time intentionally to find out about the job market situation, make contact with employers or even undertake work experience in your chosen career field.
It might help as well to identify any alumni networks in your native country as they sometimes run re-orientation seminars for returning internationals and organise events to network with relevant alumni. Alumni from your country might be a useful source of information and advice on how to market your international education and compete in an overseas job market. The University Alumni Office (http://www.cardiffnetwork.cf.ac.uk/) has contact details for different networks of Cardiff Alumni around the world and social media platforms can also be a way of developing alumni contacts e.g. via LinkedIn or special interest groups on Facebook.
It may also be worth checking any trading links between the UK and your home country. Trade & Investment and employer organisations such as UK Trade Invest and British Chambers of Commerce may have international trade contacts on their websites. Organisations like UK India Business Council (UKIBC) and China Britain Business Council (CBBC) may provide you with contacts for international trade links in the respective countries.
From time to time, Careers & Employability receives adverts from International recruitment agencies that are looking for nationals of particular countries to fill positions within multi-national corporations. These are normally posted on the jobs pages of our website.
If you do not find something on a country or region of interest to you, please enquire at the Careers & Employability Centre or book an International Query appointment, we may be able to suggest other, relevant resources.
Previous international students can be a very useful source of information on job hunting tips following your degree. Cardiff International Alumni enter a range of career fields which may involve employment or further study in the UK or elsewhere.
Take a look at the following career profiles to find out what some of our international alumni have been doing since graduating from Cardiff:
The booklet ‘Careers Guide to International Students: Identifying Employers’ under the Resources section on Career Central, lists some career destinations of recent international students who found UK employment on completion of their studies.
It might help to identify any alumni networks in your home country as they can be a very useful source of information and contacts. Cardiff University Alumni Relations has contact details for different networks of Cardiff Alumni around the world. Social and professional networking tools such as Facebook and LinkedIn can be good ways of tapping into global networks of alumni. Check out the Cardiff International Alumni & Students Careers Network on LinkedIn
Postgraduate study in the UK is a popular option, particularly if you have completed your first degree here and have found it an enjoyable and successful experience.
If you are a non-EEA student wishing to stay longer than the period given by the Immigration Office in order to undertake further study, you must apply to the Home Office to extend your ‘leave to remain’ in the UK.
In order to stay longer you must be able to provide the following information:
This should be done no earlier than 4 – 6 weeks before your current leave to remain expires. Forms, advice and guidance can be obtained from the International Student Adviser at the Student Support Centre on 50 Park Place.
Course Fees – Universities in the UK are free to set their own levels of course fees, and the amounts charged to international students from outside the EU may vary considerably between institutions.
Remember that course fees are annual and will increase each year (subject to annual inflation). Therefore if your course is longer than a year the fees will increase each year.
Living Expenses – Please note also that in addition to the tuition fees you will need your living expenses. The British Council website provides further information on this. You will also need to take into consideration the fact that terms are longer for postgraduate study and you may need to purchase expensive books and equipment.
Tuition Fees at Cardiff University – For details of postgraduate tuition fees for courses at Cardiff University please visit the Finance Division web pages on Tuition fees.
Funding – Funding for postgraduate study is a key factor determining whether or not a student can stay on for further study.
Competition for awards is fierce and it is important to remember that even if you have undertaken undergraduate study in the UK and are planning to carry on at a postgraduate level, you do not qualify for funding on the same basis as a UK or EU student.
Some students fund themselves entirely from a combination of private savings, loans or family support. Scholarships are usually given from the home government or the British Council in the home country.
There are, however, several other scholarships and awards available for international students undertaking postgraduate study. Funding, however, is often awarded to students according to factors such as their country of origin and subject of study so students need to research the options available carefully.
General Sources of Funding
To find out about scholarships administered through Cardiff University visit Cardiff University’s postgraduate section.
If you are interested in studying at another University, you should check their website/contact them to see if they have any scholarships that you are eligible to apply for.
You may be eligible to apply for the Foreign & Commonwealth Office Scholarships and Fellowships, which include the Chevening and Marshalls scholarships and the Commonwealth Scholarships and Fellowships.
Check out the Prospects website and the take-away and reference material available in the Further Study section of the Careers & Employability Centre.
You may be interested in studying a postgraduate degree in a country other than the UK. The main advice is to start your enquiries early. Applications for scholarships normally need to be submitted before the end of the year prior to that in which you intend to commence study or research. In general, obtaining finance for postgraduate study abroad is likely to be difficult and involves time and effort. The AGCAS Country Profiles on the Prospects website provide information on postgraduate study and work in over 50 countries worldwide.
For more information about Postgraduate Study, go to the Career Central section called Considering a Postgraduate Course.