UKCISA Student Fringe: UK Study Experience to Career Success

Written by Tracy Shan

HI everyone, I am Tracy, a PhD student doing Translation Studies. In this blog I will be sharing with you the things I learnt during the event “UKCISA Student Fringe: UK Study Experience to Career Success: what do you need to do?”. This is an event organised by the Careers Centre as part of Graduation Visa Week.

What are your goals for after you graduate? In this event, Careers Consultant Sarah Cooper and Postgraduate student of the University of Warwick Mary Wanjiho help you reflect on your career aspirations and what you can do to stand out to employers in the UK and around the world. She advises on the key employability activities you need to take at each stage of your time in the UK, where to find both advertised and “hidden jobs” and how to make best use of your institution’s Careers Service.  

What are your goals for after your graduation? 

One of the most important things to do when setting your goals is to think about what is your unique value. As international students, you have something special to offer, including your intercultural awareness, language skills, professional skills, knowledge of home market, specialist knowledge and research interests. Then the second thing you need to think about is who would most benefit from your skills and value. In other words, who needs you? What shortage occupations are of interest? And What skills gaps can you fill? With those questions in mind, you probably can find some suitable jobs for yourself as your goals.  

What to do at each stage of your time in the UK? 

Here is a timeline Sarah adopted to show what you should focus on at each stage of your time in the UK.  

Mary Wanjiho added that for postgraduate students, it is better to seize every opportunity to advance your skills as soon as possible as the course is only one-year. Also, the opportunity does not have to be big, it can be small, such as being a team leader of your classmates when doing group works.  

When to apply for jobs in the UK? 

For graduate schemes, you should start to apply for the job one year in advance and the application process usually starts from August to May the following year.  

Where to find jobs in UK & around the world? 

There are many places that you can find jobs and here are some platforms the two presenters mentioned.  

 Finding both advertised and “hidden” jobs 

There are many advertised jobs out there; however, there are also many opportunities for you to create your own jobs. As international students have a niche skill set, Sarah Cooper said that it is important for international students to consider adopting this strategy alongside applying for the advertised jobs. The following are the steps to find the “hidden” jobs.  

  1. Identify your value: What can you offer the employer? (skills, knowledge, experience).
  2. Create target criteria: based on selling points, interests and goals.
  3. Identify your target organisations: Membership organisations bridging the UK and your home country & Use the LinkedIn find alumni tool and/or your university’s alumni platform to ask for advice on their industry and routes in.
  4. Research those organisations.
  5. Make contact: CV, covering letter to named person – and follow it up.

Making best use of your Careers Service 

  1. Online resources: Use any software providing feedback on your CV or interview answers.
  2. Live group sessions.
  3. Employer-led sessions.
  4. One-to-one support: Guidance appointments; Interview practice appointments; CV, cover letter and application reviews.
  5. Ask about: Work opportunities that are part of your course; Internship or mentoring schemes.

Remember: many Careers Service can help you after you graduate, wherever you are in the world.

We hope that those events organised by UKCISA (UK Council for International Students Affairs) can be helpful for you, especially if you are an international student. Also, the Careers Centre of our university is always a good place for you if you need any help with your job hunting, your CV and cover letter, and your interviews.  



Tracy Shan
Hey there! I am a third-year PhD student and my research focuses on translation studies between English and Chinese. After obtaining my bachelor’s degree in English in China, I decided to come to Leeds...
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