In episode 62 of the Graduate Job Podcast I explore how to apply for a graduate job in a different country. In response to a reader question asking how to apply for a graduate job in the UK from Canada, I take you step by step through everything you need to know. We delve into different job search strategies, and whether it is better to start applying before you leave, or if you should just turn up and hit the job hunt when you get there. I take you through top tips with respect to UK visas, how to network successfully from abroad and why recruitment agencies could be your new best friend. We cover great tricks to make sure that you can build your network from your home country using LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. If you have ever thought about getting a graduate job in a foreign country, this is an episode which you won’t want to miss. As always, all links to everything we discuss today with links and full transcripts are available right this very moment in the show notes at www.graduatejobpodcast.com/workingabroad. Before we start a quick request from me, your feedback helps me to create the episodes you want to hear, so I’ve set up a super simple and very quick survey, as I want the show to best serve your needs. It’s got 5 questions and will take you a minute, so please check it out at http://www.graduatejobpodcast.com/survey. I look forward to hearing your thoughts. But in the meantime, let’s crack on with the show.
More specifically in this episode you’ll learn about:
– Winning job search strategies for applying for a graduate job from a different country
– How a stint working abroad can add glamour to your CV
– The importance of planning before you book your ticket
– Top tips for networking remotely from a different country
– Why you need to be using LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook to build your network
– How to tailor your skills for your desired country
– Why planning your arrival date carefully could be the most important thing you do.
SELECTED LINKS AND RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
- Detail on UK working Visas
- My book recommendation this week. Total Recall by Arnie. It will inspire you to take the leap and move abroad. Click on the image and buy from Amazon NOW!
- Episode 3 – Job Hunting Secrets with Richard Maun
- Episode 10 – Episode 10 – How to create an amazing CV with Lis McGuire
Transcript – How to Get a Graduate Job with a 2.2 or 3rd Class Degree
Announcer: Welcome to the Graduate Job Podcast, your home for weekly information and inspiration to help you get the graduate job of your dreams.
James: Hello and welcome to the Graduate Job Podcast, with your host James Curran. The Graduate Job Podcast is your weekly home for all things related to helping you on your journey to finding that amazing job. Each week I bring together the best minds in the industry, speaking to leading authors, entrepreneurs, coaches and bloggers who bring decades of experience into a byte size weekly 30 minute show. Put simply, this is the show I wish I had a decade ago when I graduated.
And a very warm welcome to the Graduate Job Podcast for episode 62. 62 episodes focussed specifically on helping you to find a graduate job, we’ve got episodes on specific companies, on interview skills, assessment centres, overcoming fear when applying for jobs, how to find your dream job, you name it, we have an episode on it. If you’re new to the show head over to the website at www.graduatejobpodcast.com/start where you can find a list of all of the episodes. Now we have a very special episode today as it was inspired by a couple of my brilliant listeners just like you, who both dropped me an email with a similar job search question. Let’s focus specifically on one of them, let’s call her Sally, all the way over from Canada who asked the following question, ‘Do you have any tips or resources on how to network and find a job in the UK as a foreigner? Should I come to the UK first and then start job hunting or should I find a job before going there? I am eligible for a youth mobility visa and working in the UK for 24 months’. Again many thanks to Sally for reaching out. Now if you have a similar question burning away inside then please do email it across to Hello@graduatejobpodcast.com just like Sally did.
So today, I’m going to do my best to answer Sally’s question as we explore, top tips for applying for a graduate job in the UK from a different country. Now if you’re already listening to this in the UK, don’t worry, as this advice is equally as useful if you live the in the UK and want to go and work in Australia, Canada, Europe or wherever tickles your fancy. As always there will be a full transcript of the episode and links to everything we discuss. So check them out over at www.graduatejobpodcast.com/workingabroad.
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So, let’s make a start working through my top tips to help Sally who is currently in Canada who is looking for advice on how to get a graduate job in the UK. Before we start the first thing to say is congratulations and well done for wanting to make the leap to work in a foreign country. Traveling and working overseas is a great way to give your career a long term boost. The majority of companies are internationally focussed in one way or another, so by having that international experience on your CV, whether for a few months or a couple of years, it will stand you in good stead. So dear listeners, get inspired, dust off your old atlas and raise your standards and start thinking about a stint abroad.
Right so tip number 1, and this is a crucial one, before you start applying for jobs in different countries, first find out, can you get a visa or work permit to work there? Make sure you can before you go, if you’re going to do it you want to do it properly and not get deported and banned from ever returning. So step 1 is get yourself legal, that’s easy (at the moment anyway) if you are a European citizen who wants to work in another European country as you can just go and work in any of the EU countries. Now the UK has lots of different tiers of visas for different circumstances and I’ll cover them briefly here, but for the detail check out the show notes at www.graduatejobpodcast.com/workingabroad where I have linked to the relevant places you can find information. Sally said she is eligible for a visa on the youth mobility scheme, which is a tier 5 visa. This is probably the easiest one to get listeners as it is open to people aged 18-30 from Australia, Canada, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Republic of Korea, Taiwan, and British overseas territories, you need £2000 of savings and then that’s it. Other options if you aren’t from those countries is a Tier 2 General Visa, or also an inter-company transfer visa. For these though the job must be earning at least £20,000 a year. Now as I said for more detail on the different types of visas see the show notes at www.graduatejobpodcast.com/workingabroad as the rules keep changing, and they will be different for every country. But the key point here is do your homework and make sure you have the right one for where you want to go which allows you to work. Don’t be arriving on a tourist visa and then getting jobs on the side, if you’re going to do it, do it properly.
So visa sorted, let’s move on to strategies for getting that graduate job from abroad. Strategy one is what I term the balls out strategy. Got your visa, ok, buy your flight and just go for it. Save up some cash and just head off. So in Sally’s case, get yourself a ticket to the UK and then start applying for jobs like crazy when you get here. Now the dangers of this are pretty obvious…. London is an expensive city and you would easily plow through £1500 a month without doing a lot other than spending on rent, food and transport. Depending on your visa you can have a 2 year limit and it could easily also take you longer than you think to get a job, especially the job you want. So you could spend half the time of your visa either unemployed or under employed which isn’t great. The advantage though of this plan is that it always helps to be in the actual location of where you are applying. Employers know you’re serious as you are actually there in front of them. The risks though are that it could be an expensive waste of time if you don’t actually find a job quickly. So as such I don’t recommend this strategy because there are things you can do before you go to ensure that you set yourself up for success.
The first step, as with many first steps, is to focus. You need to focus down and be crystal clear on what it is that you want to do. What job are you upping sticks for? And the more specific the better. It’s no good saying you are interested in general areas, you need to be specific about both what job you want and also when you will be arriving, otherwise the following steps will be more difficult and people won’t take you seriously. So let’s go back to Sally’s email. She wants to come to the UK to work in the medical communication field in medical-education, publications, and instructional design etc. She knows she is eligible for a visa and has a specific date of when to move to the UK, October/November time. So nice and specific, which means she is in a good position to move onto step 3.
One you have narrowed down your focus its time to start networking. I would do this in two ways, one is with the companies and people themselves in your desired fields, and the second is with head hunters who recruit to that area of work. Let’s start with the latter first. Recruiters and head hunters if you find the right ones can really help your job search. Check out my interview with Instant Impact, a graduate recruitment agency in episode 43 for more information on how to work with them. So let’s use Sally again, a quick Google tells me that there are several companies that specialise in recruitment to the fields of medical education and communication jobs, such as Carrott Pharma and Zenopa recruiting. My point here is that no matter what niche you are interested in, advertising, marketing, consulting, engineering, oil and gas, whatever it is, there will be recruitment firms that specialise in it, or firms like Instant Impact who just focus on graduates. Have a look and then go and find them.
The next step is then reach out to them. But, before you do you need to make sure that your LinkedIn profile is bang up to date and looking great with your previous experience and academic history. Also make sure that you CV is up to date and….tweaked so that it matches the expectations of the country that you are applying for. A UK CV will be different to an American resume, in terms of style, spelling, name i.e. CV/resume, length etc. Make sure that your CV matches which ever country you are applying to. For information on CVs here in the UK see my episode 10 on how to create an amazing CV with Lis McGuire.
As soon as you get in touch with them they are going to ask for a CV and your LinkedIn page, so make sure they are ready, as if they aren’t you won’t look professional and they won’t take you seriously. Final tip, and a general one for moving abroad, is book a flight. Having a specific time of when you are going to be arriving will focus your mind and make sure that you don’t drag it out. It will also show you are not wasting people’s time and are serious. So in Sally’s example, get a flight booked in now for the 1st of October, so you know the clock is ticking and you need to pull your finger out. With these in place you can then contact the recruiter. Also with the recruiter a key point to remember is that you need to bend over backwards to make sure this is no hassle for them. If they can only do 9 am UK time for a Skype call, it doesn’t matter if that is 3am in Canada, you need to be bright eyed and bushy tailed and ready to go. You need to do everything you can to make this seamless for them. Because if it’s hassle, they won’t bother.
If you need advice on creating a good graduate LinkedIn profile, check out my episode with Mark Williams in episode 17; again for links see the show notes at www.graduatejobpodcast.com/workingabroad. Get in touch via LinkedIn so they can see your previous experience or academic history and explain to them what you are looking for and when you are available, (which is why it helps to have that flight booked.) Try and get some referrals on your LinkedIn profile as that will lend it some gravitas, and also add some concrete examples of work you have done to bring it to life. Now the thing to remember in my experience with recruiters, from graduate recruiters through to head hunters is that they are all very very busy, with lots of plates spinning at one time. This means you need to be very proactive with chasing them up, don’t be scared of making a nuisance of yourself. In a polite and professional way of course, but in terms of following up with emails and phone calls to keep yourself at the front of their attention. Also look at it from their perspective…if someone gets in touch from abroad saying that they might be coming over to the UK at some unspecified time, who isn’t really sure what they want, they aren’t going to have you at the top of their list. Which is why you need a clear focus of what you want and a definite arrival date, two things Sally has, so two ticks there. Show them that you are serious and not just wasting their time, keep reaching out to them, and then arrange to meet them as soon as you arrive in the country. Do these things right and hopefully they can do a lot of the leg work for you.
Building on this is also doing the networking yourself. This is a lot easier now than it has ever been and with social media you can connect with people that you never would have got in touch with before. Utilise twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook to your advantage. So let’s break it down with advice for Sally specifically that will also help for you. So how can she begin to network in the UK from Canada in the field of medical communication? So the first place I would start is asking the brilliant networking question from Richard Maun in episode 3 (links in the show notes, you know it by now www.graduatejobpodcast.com/workingabroad) Richard’s great question is….’who do you know who?’ So for Sally that would be, ‘Who do you know in London that can help me?’ be that find a job, find accommodation, whatever it might be. Do you have any contacts with people who work at the desired companies at the moment? Do they have contacts in the UK that they can put you in touch with? The first most obvious and best place to start is simply asking around friends and colleagues. Now colleagues might be more difficult if they don’t know you’re looking for other jobs, but that’s your call.
Next is internet research, who are the major players that you want to work at, find the top 5 companies, focus is again the key you don’t want to go with 20 as you will get overwhelmed. So start first with the top 5. Then get yourself on LinkedIn and start having a look through people that work at those 5 places and see if you have any shared connections with them. Do you know someone who is connected there? If so can they put you in touch with them? You never know who your friends know. The question though is never ‘can I have a job?’ it’s ‘can I pick your brain on the company, what have been your experiences, how did you get started?’ That sort of thing. It’s about finding out more about the company and making connections, so that when you make your initial formal contact or get there for the interview you are up to speed and can impress them with the work you have put in.
Sticking with LinkedIn the alumni tool is another great feature. Get on LinkedIn and make sure you have your university details on there and are a member of the alumni group for your university. You can then search for people from your university who work at these firms or have worked there in the past, or who work at different firms in the industry. Alumni are great as you have a warm introduction and something in common and in my experience people are always happy help. (Now you might need to join the LinkedIn premium service to use their In-mail function, but you can get it free for a month, so do that and get networking.) Remember and this is crucial, you are not asking directly for a job….as I said before position it is asking for advice about making the switch to the firm, do they have any advice they can share? Often in my experience people will be happy to have a quick chat. As I said this isn’t about asking for a job.
Another good one is Facebook, to see which of your friends, or your friend’s friends work at companies of interest. Now the way to do this is as follows. Click on ‘Friends’ in the top toolbar. Then on ‘Find Friends’. Then in the ‘Search for Friends’ section on the right hand side, simply enter your desired company in the ‘Employer’ section. This will then return a list of people who work at the company, highlighting where you have any mutual friends in common. Simply then hit them up for an introduction. Now it might come to nothing…..but….you don’t know who your friends know, and it could be a crucial contact into your desired company. Worth a shot. If all that was too quick head over to the show notes at www.graduatejobpodcast.com/workingabroad for the full transcript.
Finally on networking is Twitter. Now depending on the industry, twitter is also very good. Start following the key movers and shakers in the industry. Who is online from your target companies? Start following them and retweeting their stuff. Are there any industry specific twitter hashtags which are useful? For example in TV people use the hashtag #tvjobs, or #mediajobs. In public relations it is #prjobs. There is also the more general hashtag in the UK of #gradjobs or #Graduatejobs. What are the useful ones you need to be following so you can keep up to date with the latest job opportunities? Again it’s not about asking for a job but building connections and knowledge so that when you get asked the question, ’why do you want to work for us?’ you have a whole host of things to talk about. ‘I love the thought leadership pieces you have done on x’ or ‘I know you just won a piece of work with y which would be a great client to work for’. Whatever it might be for your specific industry, it’s up to you to find it.
One other seam to mine from a networking perspective is your national groups, and the networking associations they have in your desired city. Sticking with Sally’s example, a quick google tells me that there are a load of Canadian expat groups in London, the biggest of which has over 3,000 members and meets up weekly at the Maple Leaf pub in Covent Garden. I hope they don’t all turn up at once as it’s only quite small. They also run lots of other Canadian themed events like ice skating apparently, anyway, this might be more for networking when you get here, but no matter what you’re nationality hook into the expat groups here in London as these people know what you are going through and could really help. With homesickness if nothing else. As I said, get there and ask the networking question, ‘Who do you know who?’
Let’s move next on to skills. The UK job market is competitive, but aren’t they all. Depending on where you come from employers are going to be looking for excellent English language skills as a given, a good academic record, and also work related experience and skills. Now as a Canadian Sally isn’t going to have to worry about English skills, apart from the use of the term aboot. But don’t forget to turn your internationalisation to your advantage. Coming from a different country with a load of different skills can be a big advantage. Think about what sets you apart as an international graduate. What skills will you bringing with you, language skills, enhanced numeracy, experiences of working in different countries. The other candidates you are competing against won’t have these, so don’t be afraid of bringing them to the fore in your application.
Applying for Jobs
Moving on to applying for jobs. One thing to keep in mind is when graduate recruitment happens in your desired destination. Here in the UK graduate recruitment tends to happen for many of the bigger companies between September to February/March time, this is known colloquially as the Milkround. Some of these graduate schemes will close for applicants before Christmas, so don’t hang about. If you are aiming at these big firms keep this in mind as it’s no point rocking up in June if all the schemes are shut. Keep in mind that although these firms are huge and take on a lot of people, they only account for 10% of the whole number of graduate jobs each year. 90% are taken up by smaller firms who might not necessarily be household names but recruit collectively hundreds of thousands of graduates every year. For Sally though it sounds like she is applying to smaller firms who might not operate within this window. But whatever field you are going for keep this in mind.
Having narrowed down your focus to tops 5 companies that you really want to work for, check out their recruitment pages themselves. Do they currently have graduate jobs which they are advertising for? Again, before you get excited and start applying I would recommend getting in touch with the companies first before applying, and explain your situation if you still abroad at the time.
You can network remotely all you want, but ultimately though at some point you are going to have to properly invest in the process and get on a plane. People are only really going to take you seriously when they see the whites of your eyes in front of them. Now you could do a trip over first depending on the distance and finances to press the flesh, meet people and ideally interview. You could also use it as the opportunity to look for areas and flats for where you are going to live when you arrive. But ultimately though you need to just book the flights. Pick a date, network like crazy before you leave and just go for it. Then once you arrive hit the job hunt hard. Go and meet face to face the recruiters you have been chatting to, offer to take out for coffee all the contacts you have met online and start applying for jobs.
Final tip is to be resilient and flexible. The path might be windier than you first thought but stick at it. If it’s proving harder than you think, maybe take a lateral step first to get in and get a foot on the ladder and then work up. Sometimes you have to go backwards to go forwards.
But as you listen to this if you’re in two minds about whether to try moving abroad to get a job, I just say do it! The experience will stick with you for a lifetime, you will make new friends, have amazing experiences, and also add some brilliant international flavour to your CV. I’ve spent time working abroad in Australia and China, and they were some of the best and most fun times of my life. Challenging as well at times, but you have to take the rough with the smooth. I’ve made lifelong friends in each them, and from a careers perspective working abroad really gave some glamour to my CV. Now to help you stay inspired I’m going to leave you with a book recommendation I’ve just finished which ties in nicely to today’s episode. It is ‘Total Recall’ by Arnold Schwarzenegger, yes Arnie’s autobiography.
What’s that got to do with getting a job I hear you cry, well Arnie is a force of nature, born into poverty in Austria dreams of becoming a bodybuilding champion and moving to America. By 21 he was living in LA and had been crowned Mr Universe. By 26 he had learned English and was the best bodybuilder in the world. He then went on to make millions in property development and become the biggest actor in the world. All from having a simple dream that he wanted to work abroad. Read it, I guarantee you will be inspired.
So that draws episode 62 to a close, I hope that you found it useful. If you have also have a job search question you would like to ask, drop me a note like Sally did to email@example.com, I would love to hear from you. If you are enjoying the shows you can thank me by leaving me a review over at iTunes, it helps to keep me high in rankings and I will be grateful for ever, so thanks this week to Milly who left a short and sweet review saying ‘5 stars, love the show!’ cheers Milly. Make sure you check the show notes out at www.graduatejobpodcast.com/workingabroad for all the links, a full transcript and lots of otherr goodies. Do join me next week when I discuss how to pivot and change the direction of your career, it’s a goodie. I hope you enjoyed the show today, but more importantly, I hope you use it, and apply it. See you next week.