How to Get a Job in the UK as an International Student

Starlyon King
Starlyon King  - Author
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How to Get a Job in the UK as an International Student
How to Get a Job in the UK as an International Student

Finding a job as an international student in the UK can have its challenges, but it’s not impossible. Competition can be stiff, especially for certain roles, but part-time positions on campus or in local businesses are often available. If you are wondering how you can get a job in the UK as an international student, then this article is for you. Here, we will be showing you all you need to know about how to get a job in the UK as an international student to help ease financial burdens.

Working While You Study in the UK as an International Student

Working while studying in the UK is a good way to make extra money, meet new people, and develop skills. If you have a student visa and are studying full-time in the UK, you can work up to 20 hours per week during the term if you’re pursuing an undergraduate or postgraduate degree. If sponsored by an eligible overseas institution for short-term degree-level study, the 20-hour limit also applies. If you’re studying for a lower qualification than a degree (e.g., diploma or certificate), you can work up to 10 hours per week during the term. Outside of term, you can work full-time hours, usually around 40 hours per week. However, if you’re a part-time student, you’re generally not allowed to work.

If you’re on an international student visa in the UK, you can only work full-time outside of the term if it’s on a fixed-term contract. Setting up your own business or freelancing is not allowed, and you cannot be a professional sportsperson or entertainer. Consequently, many international students generally opt for casual or part-time work.

How to Get a Job in the UK as an International Student
How to Get a Job in the UK as an International Student

Is it Hard to Get a Job in the UK for International Students?

Getting a job in the UK as an international student or graduate may be difficult due to various factors. Here are some reasons you might find it difficult to get jobs easily:

  1. High Competition

The UK attracts students from over 125 countries seeking quality education. You are not the only one looking for a job, as there are hundreds of international students seeking to make ends meet while they study. Also, after graduation, many choose to stay for employment, leading to a rising population and increased competition. The high competition makes it challenging for students to secure jobs, resulting in unemployment for some.

  1. Lack of Work Experience

Many companies indeed prefer experienced candidates to save on training time. Students, often lacking work experience, face challenges in securing jobs. However, focusing on developing skills is beneficial, as the demand for skilled workers in the UK is high. This increases your chances of finding a job based on your skills, even without prior work experience.

  1. Poor CV

Don’t ever think it is too early to have a CV because you are still in school. Bear in mind that crafting a proper CV is vital as it forms the first impression on employers. Unfortunately, some students struggle by copying content from others without highlighting their actual skills. This often fails to impress employers, leading to missed interview opportunities. To increase your chances, create a well-structured CV that accurately shows your qualifications, skills, and any relevant work experience.

  1. Bad English

Given that English is the official language in the UK, employers commonly seek individuals with a strong command of English. Some employers may be concerned that international students might not possess fluent English language skills, which can affect effective communication. This can contribute to challenges in securing job opportunities for international students in the UK. Even if English is not your first language, learn to speak good English because you would need a good mastery of the language in the UK.

  1. Inadequate Preparation for the Interview

Students often underestimate the importance of job interviews, sometimes approaching them without adequate preparation. This lack of preparation can lead to difficulties in handling interview questions and presenting themselves formally. Individuals with poor communication skills may struggle to answer questions effectively. To enhance interview performance, it’s advisable to practice extensively, watch interview videos for guidance, and strive for thorough preparation.

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What is the Best Job for International Students in the UK?

The best job for an international student is a part-time job. Part-time jobs offer international students in the UK a great opportunity to earn extra income and acquire valuable experience. With a range of options available, it’s necessary to select a job that aligns with your needs and skills. Note that whatever job you go for, you must be able to balance it with your studies. The following are some of the best part-time jobs for international students in the UK:

  1. Receptionist

Average base salary: £8.97/hour

The role of a receptionist stands out as one of the top part-time jobs in the UK for international students. Involving tasks like greeting guests, handling calls and emails, and general administrative duties, it offers an ideal environment for students to work professionally while immersing themselves in the English language and culture. Moreover, it presents an excellent chance to connect with people globally.

  1. Food Delivery Driver

Average base salary: £10.42/hour

Food delivery driver positions, which involve delivering food from restaurants to customers, are excellent part-time jobs for international students. Offering flexibility in working hours and the option to use a personal vehicle for deliveries, it’s a convenient option. Additionally, it provides an opportunity for students to explore the city and be out and about.

  1. Library Assistant

Average base salary: £10-15/hour

Library assistant positions at public or university libraries in the UK are open to international students. These roles involve assisting patrons in finding materials, shelving books, aiding with computer use, and providing customer service. It’s a valuable opportunity for students to engage with the community and gain experience in a library setting.

  1. Waitress/Waiter

Average base salary: £12.18/hour

Waitressing or waiting tables serves as an ideal part-time job for international students in the UK. Restaurants often welcome international students, appreciating their customer interaction skills. With flexible hours and pay typically at the minimum wage, this role not only offers a source of income but also a chance for students to gain valuable experience in the hospitality industry.

  1. Dog Walker

Average base salary: £12.50/hour

Engaging in dog walking is an excellent part-time job option for international students with a love for animals and the outdoors. Many dog owners look for reliable individuals to take their pets on walks. As a dog walker, your responsibilities include walking dogs, cleaning up after them, and maintaining the surrounding area. It’s a rewarding opportunity for those who enjoy spending time with animals.

  1. Tutoring

Average base salary: £24.50/hour

Tutoring serves as an excellent means for international students to earn extra income while balancing their studies. Whether offering online tutoring services or finding local opportunities for one-on-one or small group teaching, this job provides a chance to acquire skills and experience while supplementing their income.

How to Get a Job in the UK as an International Student

Whether you are still studying at the university or a recent graduate looking for a job, the following tips would help you to get a job in the UK:

  1. Have the Right Documents to Show Eligibility

As an international student in the UK, you probably have a student visa for studying. To work after graduation, apply for a graduate visa lasting 2 years, then transition to a different visa, like a skilled worker visa. Temporary visas might require a sponsor and the GOV.UK website lists companies eligible to sponsor your application.

  1. Enhance your Employability

To boost your employability in the UK, especially if you are a graduate, you can consider diversifying your work experience by taking on different job roles. You can engage in part-time jobs related to your university course provides practical insights. Volunteering is a valuable avenue to gain hands-on experience in your field of interest or contribute to projects you enjoy. Also, demonstrating entrepreneurial skills further enhances your appeal to potential employers.

  1. Update your CV/Cover Letter

Tailor your CV and cover letter to the specific job, and emphasize relevant skills for the role. If applying for an accounting job, focus on qualifications that make you a strong candidate. Highlight fluency in English, setting you apart from others. Keep both these documents professional and concise, as employers often review numerous applications and prefer brevity despite relevant experience.

  1. Research

Make use of job search platforms like Indeed, LinkedIn, Glassdoor, or Google’s job search feature to find suitable opportunities based on your sector and experience level. As an international student, check if the company can sponsor you, as this would be an advantage to you. Also, networking is important; try to connect with professionals in your desired field who can recommend you for relevant positions. Consider taking on jobs you may not prefer initially, like in a shop or volunteering, to gain valuable experience and show success in a workplace environment to potential employers.

  1. Seek advice

Make use of your university’s career service for guidance on visa options, drafting effective CVs/cover letters, and determining your career path. Attend university career events to gain insights into specific job requirements and expand your professional network. You can also ask for advice from seniors or friends who have gotten jobs. This can help you avoid mistakes that they made.

Which Companies Sponsor International Students in the UK?

If you are an international student concerned about visa sponsorship, then this section is for you. For some international candidates to work in the UK, getting visa sponsorship is a must. This usually involves having a job offer from an employer with a valid sponsor license, whether it’s a paid or unpaid opportunity, like charity work. The following is a list of companies that can sponsor a visa in the UK:

  1. Ernst & Young (EY)

EY, a global professional services organization headquartered in London, provides services in consulting, assurance, tax, and transactions. Operating internationally, EY offers attractive work and relocation opportunities. Career areas to explore at EY include technology, accounting, consulting, strategy development, and business services.

  1. Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance, an international law firm based in London, specializes in areas like antitrust, finance, real estate, and tax legislation. Offering expertise to clients in industries such as banking, private equity, and energy, Clifford Chance invests in visa sponsorships to attract top legal talent. Working for this firm allows individuals to specialize in specific economic sectors, building expertise as solicitors or barristers.

  1. GSK

GSK, formerly GlaxoSmithKline, is a British pharmaceutical and biotechnology organization. Focused on innovation and improvement in the biopharma industry, GSK offers roles in sciences, microbiology, change management, medical sales, lab automation, and medical robotics. The organization’s Future Leaders Graduate Programme is open to international candidates requiring visa sponsorship.

  1. Barclays

Barclays, a British bank headquartered in London, provides financial products to individuals and businesses nationwide. With various divisions and offices across the country, Barclays offers visa sponsorship for roles such as software development, business analysis, wealth management, and card product management. Applying for positions requiring expertise often increases the likelihood of successful sponsorship approval.

  1. PwC

PwC, a British professional services brand and a global organization, offers comprehensive audit, assurance, consulting, and tax services. Focusing on business excellence and technology, PwC provides roles in business solutions, operations, risk management, auditing, accounting, financial consulting, and tech-focused positions for those with a background in computer science or software engineering.

  1. Rolls-Royce

Rolls-Royce, a leading industrial technology organization, upholds values of trust, integrity, and safety. Originally a car manufacturer, it now develops products for civil aerospace, defense, power systems, and electrical industries. Roles at Rolls-Royce include service engineering, health physics, power electronic system engineering, manufacturing quality management, administrative positions, and jobs in sales or marketing.

  1. Unilever

Unilever, a British consumer goods producer and distributor, develops products in personal care, nutrition, home care, beauty, and wellbeing. Committed to sustainability, Unilever aims to create a better planet and society. Careers at Unilever are suitable for those qualified in food science, product safety, manufacturing, data quality, or business analysis, offering a chance to be part of a workforce dedicated to making a lasting difference.

Conclusion

As an international student in the UK, you can work part-time (up to 20 hours per week during term and full-time during holidays). It helps cover living costs and boosts your CV with valuable work experience. We hope that this article has shown you how you could get a job in the UK as an international student or graduate.

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I'm Kingsley Neji, popularly known as Starlyon King, CEO of UnicrossBlog and SportPremi. Join me on a journey of knowledge and excellence in education and career.
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