At LSE we have a large number of international students considering a diverse range of future career options. Whether you’re planning to return home to set up a career or you hope to gain some experience in the UK, it’s important for international students to carefully plan their next steps.

Working in the UK

For those of you looking to secure work in the UK, have a think about what sets you apart as an international student. Do you have superior language skills or advanced technical/mathematical skills due to your previous education? You should also consider using your global networks to help you find out more about different careers options and the best way to apply. It’s a lot easier to convince someone to hire you following a face-to-face meeting or Skype call rather than an online/paper based application.

On top of these more general points, it’s important to apply early, especially to organisations that recruit in yearly cycles. You should take the time to check if an employer is on the Home Office register of sponsors, but it’s important to remember that if an employer is on the register, it doesn’t necessarily mean they will be able to provide sponsorship. Often they only sponsor a small percentage of the students that apply.

You can also search over 400 of the largest and most popular UK companies which are licensed to issue Tier 2 visa certificates with our visa sponsors search tool. Finally, it’s important to have a backup plan, whether this is finding work in your home country or being flexible on the type of role or location you are willing to apply for in the UK.

If you’re a Chinese student, you can also take a look at the slides from our recent seminar on finding work in the UK (which was part of our last China Careers Seminar Programme).

Students planning to return home

Consider the benefits of studying abroad

For students planning to return home to find a career there are still things you can be doing now that’ll help you speed up the process when you return. First, it’s important to start considering the added benefits of having undertaken a course in the UK, the opportunity to develop your English skills, the chance to take part in volunteering activities helping to develop transferable skills, the possibility of finding part-time work or an internship helping to improve your knowledge of a sector or British business culture, and the opportunity to develop new learning methods.

How will international employers view your experience?

You then need to consider how international employers may view your international education. For the larger part, the perception is usually overwhelmingly positive as an international education demonstrates you’re an open minded, independent thinker who can deal with problems or setbacks due to your greater independence. They will also value your international perspective and cultural awareness plus your improved English language skills and ability to work well within teams. However, it’s not all positive, studying away from home means you may miss work/internship opportunities or important applications deadlines at home; you may also become disconnected from your home market. These points can be very important for future employers.

Improving your chances

So what can you do about the above? Once again, it’s important to start thinking about your career options early. Check the graduate recruitment timelines for your sector and country and use LSE Careers for advice with your CV and applications. You can also access the LSE country profile pages for sources of vacancies in your home country. Chinese students can also take a look at slides from our recent seminar on finding work in China, or at our recent post about securing a job in China after graduation. The next upcoming event is the Careers in China breakfast on 10 March.

Use LSE alumni and friends as sources of contacts and advice and attend LSE events that may be useful for you. Keep up to date with the market back home and be sure to know why you’re planning to return home to set up your career as recruiters will want to know. LSE alumni on LinkedIn are a useful resource for online networking and the alumni office also runs a mentoring programme for current students to talk to a range of graduates about what you want to do.

Best of luck with your future job hunting here and abroad!

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