When Should International Students Start Applying for Jobs?
November 01, 2019
The simple answer to this is: AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.
Finding a job after graduation isn’t an unknown or unheard fear. The situation aggravates for international students who are in the UK on a student visa. There are plenty of questions around the process itself. However, the most critical part is knowing when to begin asking and addressing those questions i.e. when to start applying!
The Deadlines are Now: December and April
We have mentioned this before a lot too: timing is key. The key dates for application on graduate schemes are:
September Start: April 30th Deadline
April Start: December 30th Deadline
The sooner you start researching graduate jobs and schemes that align with your interests, the better. The most competitive graduate schemes and jobs have early deadlines. You should aim to be fiercer and faster than the deadlines. Applications for such roles usually opens around September/October and they stay open mostly till November. Many times, a company accepts applications on a rolling basis once submissions are opened. Then, they close the recruitment cycle once they manage to get suitable candidates. You have to be on your toes during job hunting in order to tap all opportunities as soon as they become available, with full preparation!
While some financial, consulting and audit firms and companies open a few schemes in another cycle around March/April, most of them don’t. So, it could be a whole 12 months before some of these roles become available again, which means you will be running short on time with your Tier 4 Visa. In addition to that, you’d miss out on the best opportunities if you don’t apply in the first round. So, make sure you don’t miss out the first time.
Plan ahead in August for applications opening next month
A good plan will always make space for contingencies and your job application process should be no different. Applications for graduate schemes tend to open in September, for start dates of the following August or September. These schemes are especially targeted at graduates so the best candidates from the batch have a winning chance. Graduate jobs may be accepting applications on a rolling basis, but these fill up once suitable candidates have been found. And, mind you, these fill up fast. So, your plan should look like this:
· Shortlist companies/jobs in the field of interest (be strategic about the opportunities you wish to apply for, and always prioritise quality over quantity, and only shortlist jobs you are really passionate about)
· Prepare application packs for such jobs (research about the jobs from previous years, take guidance from your University’s career services, reach out to past years’ successful candidates)
· Once they roll out the applications, schedule those deadlines in your calendar.
This way you will be fully prepared to apply well before the deadline.
Remember that applications will close a minimum of 3 months before the start date and you need time for your so your Visa to be processed.
Things to Remember: Applying for Jobs is a Job in Itself
Because recruitment and placement process is so widely different across countries, international students often underestimate the deadlines and lose out. The reason graduate jobs and schemes open so early is because they receive thousands of applications from which they shortlist. This is followed by audio/video submissions, online tests, video interview, telephonic interview, assessment centres, some, or all of the above. This process spans across months, so it is imperative that you start applying early, don’t leave it to the last minute of the deadline and stay proactively on top of things.
Following this timeline of application means you will be strategizing even before your last year of studies (or the only year of studies for a Postgraduate student) begins, but it will help you balance the arduous task of filling applications along with studying.