How to Get a Job in the UK? Are you an international student who wants to stay in the UK for your career? You might be wondering how you can do that if you don’t have any work experience. Well, in this post, I will share with you the strategy for getting a job in the UK with a visa sponsorship, even if you have little or no work experience.
It’s much easier to get a job in the UK if you have relevant experience, even if it is from your home country. But it is also possible if you are a fresher or have no experience. I did it back in 2015. I got a graduate job despite having no professional experience, only part-time jobs. And many of my clients get jobs in the UK even without relevant experience. So it is possible. And without wasting any more time, let’s get to the advice I want to share today.
Get experience outside your course
The first advice I would give to any fresher who wants to get a job in the UK after their studies is to get experience outside your course. It seems like silly advice: to get a job without experience, get experience. But I don’t mean to get professional experience. I mean, do something outside your course. I don’t want your CV to be empty with just your bachelor’s, master’s, or school grades. It has to have something.
First of all, consider getting a part-time job. Not only will it pay the bills, but it will also improve your CV. There are a lot of students who do jobs as sales assistants or work in restaurants, and it does help them strengthen their CVs. You’ll have to explain your experience correctly to contribute to your profile, but it does help to have any job in the UK, even if it is a part-time role. Want to create a good UK CV? Try this template
Then obviously, there are many things you can do outside your course, such as leadership, volunteering, and part-time jobs at university. It will also help you with interviewing and applying for jobs because you’ll have to bring a lot of examples of different situations from your life. And they don’t have to have professional work experience. They can be from a volunteer project or from leadership projects, for example, running a society or working in a society as a member.
If you’ve spent three years as a bachelor’s student in the UK and haven’t done anything outside your course, you will struggle to stand out. For example, I had volunteer experience in my CV; I had leadership experience; I was the president of a society; and I was the treasurer of another society. And obviously, I had several part-time jobs. So if you didn’t have a chance to secure professional experience or an internship, even back in your home country, you don’t have an excuse for not getting any volunteering or leadership experience on your CV.
Develop technical skills outside your course
Advice number two is to develop technical skills outside of your course. What do I mean by that? Even though we are studying for a relevant degree to the job we want to do, sometimes we lack technical skills, such as the ability to work on Excel, use different software, programming skills, analytical skills, etc. So if you already know the job you wish to have, perhaps you can read the job descriptions and see the required technical abilities. Maybe you need to do specific formulas in Excel, maybe you need to be good at AutoCAD or Revit software if you’re an engineer, or if you’re a marketing student, perhaps you need to be good at Google Analytics or running Facebook ads, and so on.
So, if you already know the career path, I recommend brushing up on your technical abilities. There are many online courses and resources that you can use to learn new skills or improve your existing ones. For example, you can use Coursera, Udemy, LinkedIn Learning, or YouTube to find courses or tutorials on the topics that interest you. You can also get certificates or badges to add to your CV or LinkedIn profile to show your proficiency and credibility.
Having technical skills outside your course will make you more competitive and attractive to employers, especially if you are a fresher without work experience. It will also help you perform better on the job, as you can use the tools and software essential for your role. So please don’t neglect your technical skills and invest time and effort in developing them.
Learn technical skills on your own
Advice number three is to learn technical skills on your own. I don’t recommend spending a lot of money on these types of certificates, but perhaps your university offers some free ones or anything. But you can also learn many of these things on your own, using YouTube or the internet. At least, when you interview, you’ll have the technical ability, even if it wasn’t taught well or in depth at the university.
The mistake here would be to try to learn all the software without knowing which career you want to pursue. In that case, you’ll waste a lot of time figuring out how to use engineering software, even though you want to be a business analyst. So it’s only for people who already know the direction of their career.
Technical skills will be valued at the interview stage. They will be looked at on your CV, but when you start working, you’ll pick up things much quicker when you already know how to use certain things.
Try to get an internship in the UK.
Advice number four is to try to get an internship in the UK. There are different types of internships in the UK. The ideal situation for international students is probably to go for a summer internship in a corporation or a company that sponsors international students. So these firms have many internship programs, which means they bring on the student for 10 or 12 weeks in the summer. If they perform well, they’ll offer them a full-time job, and you don’t have to apply for a full-time job during your final year. It’s pretty convenient.
This is actually what happened to me. I interned at an investment bank and got a job offer based on my performance during my internship. So, how do you get that internship? You have to apply for this internship, usually in your penultimate year. What does it mean? It means that the year before your last year. So, not your final year of study, but the year before your final year. So for a bachelor’s student, it is usually the second year, if it is a three-year course. For a master’s student, it could be the final year of your bachelor’s degree. You have to check with the company about the entry requirements. And if you’re lucky, you’ll get the internship, and your job offer will be sorted out before you graduate.
If you don’t get a job offer or if the company doesn’t sponsor international students, it’s still amazing to get this internship in the UK because it will strengthen your profile. To get this type of internship I have just described, remember that you have to start applying at the beginning of your second or penultimate year of study. Not all master’s students are eligible for this type of internship. Sometimes, it’s just for people with bachelor’s degrees.
And if you’re not eligible for this type of internship, you can consider many other internships. For example, other companies offer off-cycle internships so that you can start them during the winter. And there are other internships offered to already-graduated people, so you don’t have to be a bachelor’s student when you apply to this type of internship. Remember that sometimes, these internships will be offered by a company that does not sponsor them. Maybe the company does not offer a permanent role eventually. But it’s still an excellent experience because getting a permanent or full-time role will be easier if you already have some kind of internship. And it’s easier to get an internship than a full-time role.
The summary of this advice is: try to get UK experience, even after you graduate and you’re looking for a full-time role. Perhaps it’s better to go for an internship first and then transfer to a full-time role, if you can’t get the full-time role straight away.
Apply for graduate schemes
Advice number five is to apply for graduate schemes. And I have a whole video about what is a graduate scheme and how it differs from other jobs. And I’ll have a link somewhere here, so you can check it out. But to give you a summary, a graduate scheme is a specifically designed job for a graduate without experience. And usually, it involves some kind of training or maybe a professional qualification. And to apply for these positions, you don’t need to have any work experience. Actually, for a lot of these roles, the requirement is that you don’t have any work experience. So that’s good news.
And another good news is that a lot of these graduate schemes are offered by companies that sponsor international students. The big sponsors that will pay for your visa and you can switch to a skilled worker visa straight after your degree. That’s exactly the role I got. I got the graduate scheme in human resources.
We talked about the good news, but there are also a lot of things to consider when it comes to graduate schemes. First of all, you have to apply for them in advance. So a lot of the graduate schemes start in September. And if you want to get a September, let’s say 2023, start, I advise applying as soon as the doors open for applications, which is usually summer 2022 or autumn 2022.
The second thing to consider is that they are very competitive. It’s not impossible to get through. A lot of international students do it. A lot of my clients have done it. I’ve done it. But it is a long process. You need to have a lot of energy to prepare for each stage. You’ll be rejected at various stages and you’ll feel drained. And also, you’ll have to prepare for each stage. So each stage will require different preparation. If you’re someone who hates online tests or being timed, you might struggle, because a lot of these graduate schemes involve some kind of online testing in the beginning of the application.
I think it is a great option for a lot of international students, but at the same time, I think that it’s not for everyone, because of the long application process and also because you have to apply in advance. But the other thing that is great about graduate schemes is that master’s students are often eligible to apply. So if you’re a master’s student without experience, you can apply for these graduate schemes. And also, if you already graduated, but you have, let’s say, less than two years of work experience, you can also apply for those graduate schemes. You don’t have to be a student most of the time to apply. Obviously, read the entry requirements to find out whether you’re eligible. But I’ve noticed that most graduate schemes say you have to have zero to two years of relevant work experience. And you can either still be a student or you can already be graduated.
So in summary, there are specifically designed jobs for graduates without experience that get sponsored for a skilled worker visa in the UK.
Apply for junior positions or entry-level jobs
Advice number six is to apply for junior positions or entry-level jobs. These positions are usually open when the business needs someone young or junior in terms of experience. There is a business need to hire someone and to train them. Usually, these roles don’t require a lot of experience. Maybe they require some basic skills or knowledge, but not a lot of experience. So that’s good news for you if you are a fresher with no work experience.
The bad news is that not all of these positions are offered by companies that sponsor international students. So, you have to be careful and check the company’s website or the job description to see if they are willing to sponsor you for a visa. Sometimes, they will explicitly say that they don’t sponsor or only accept candidates with the right to work in the UK. In that case, you should not waste your time and energy applying for those jobs, because you will be rejected anyway.
But sometimes, they will not say anything about the sponsorship or the visa. In that case, you can still apply and hope for the best. Maybe they will consider you, maybe they will not. But you have nothing to lose by trying. And sometimes, they will say that they are open to sponsoring or that they will consider candidates who need a visa. In that case, you should apply and show interest and motivation for the job and the company.
The advantage of applying for junior positions or entry-level jobs is that they are usually open throughout the year. So you don’t have to apply in advance or wait for a specific time. You can apply whenever you see a suitable opportunity. And also, they are usually less competitive than graduate schemes because they are not as popular or well-known. So you might have a better chance of getting an interview or an offer.
The disadvantage of applying for junior positions or entry-level jobs is that they are usually less structured and less supportive than graduate schemes. You might not get a lot of training guidance, or feedback. You might have to learn on the job and figure things out independently. And also, they might not pay as well as graduate schemes because they are not as prestigious or as demanding.
So, in summary, there are junior positions or entry-level jobs suitable for freshers with no work experience. Still, you have to be careful and check if they offer sponsorship for a visa.