Finding a job in the UK

What UK employers are looking for

UK employers value graduates who can demonstrate a range of skills and qualities, including the ability to take initiative, teamwork, resilience, and commercial awareness. As an international student, you have a natural advantage in other sought-after skills like foreign languages and the ability to demonstrate intercultural awareness. We run events that will help you communicate your value to UK and home employers. 

When to start

Although many employers recruit throughout the year, the main graduate recruitment period in the UK is in the Autumn. We run our Employer Showcase and sector-specific careers fairs in the Autumn term. These are an important way for you to find out about different employers’ jobs and recruitment processes, and to make connections with employees at organisations you are interested in.

Where to look

Our finding a job or internship page has useful help and advice about getting started in your search for a job, including some of the main graduate job websites. Most of the large multi-national companies can sponsor; check the current list published by the UK government.

Post Study lists jobs with employers who are specifically looking for international talent.

If you want to work for an employer who does not currently have a licence to sponsor international students, by developing a strong relationship with them you may be able to persuade them to sponsor you, either through tier 2 or under tier 5. Tier 5 (Government Authorised Exchange) provides you with a shorter-term (12 month) opportunity to work in the UK. 

Visas and Work Permits

Our Visa team can only advise about and support applications for  the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur (GE) visa and Tier 4 Doctorate Extension Scheme (DES) visa.

For information and advice about Tier 2 and Tier 5, go to the UKCISA website and the government UK Visas and Information website for official information. You should check this regularly as the rules can and do change.

See our example cover letter for a Tier 5 visa for an example of what to write when making your applications for these.

The AGCAS guide Recruiting International Graduates: A Guide for Employers (PDF, 265KB) will help you understand the employer perspective.

International qualifications

It is sometimes difficult to explain your non-UK qualifications to potential employers on your CV, application forms or at interview. UK NARIC (The National Academic Recognition Centre) is a valuable resource for international students needing to compare their qualifications when making applications for employment.

The International Office has also produced country specific information which may help you understand how international qualifications compare with UK qualifications.

PhD and postdoctoral positions

If you are thinking about applying for a PhD or a postdoctoral position in the UK, here are some resources which will help you with where to find opportunities, applications and help with funding: