Graduate, Saejin Lee, holding flowers in graduation gown

December 1, 2022, by Leah Sharpe

Tips for Finding Work in the UK From an International Graduate

By Saejin, a graduate from South Korea, now working in the UK as a Communications Coordinator

My career goal has been to work in the creative industry where I can contribute to the process of media creation. During my studies, I had lots of opportunities to take a wide range of modules relating to media study and this enabled me to broaden my thinking.

My first tip is to explore the field that you want to work in. To do this I found workshops relating to creative industries, had a look at the university website for career events and attended networking events to get connected with creative professionals. This enabled me to know that communications, social media marketing, education and organising events can be options that I could keep working on after graduation.

From my perspective, the invisible glass ceiling for international people to get into the creative industries in the UK exists, so I attempted to break into the industry by attending lots of events both at and outside the university. I sometimes found it a bit hard to communicate and discuss with other people at events because English was not my native language but I tried to keep challenging myself to survive in this industry.

I also wanted to build my skills, so I worked as an international ambassador for three years at the university, and I also created a UoN K-pop society in 2019, as a hub for people who found this culture interesting. I developed my transferrable skills by organising lots of events, communicating with members and working closely with other societies/universities. This experience helped me mature and develop significantly. A useful tip is to note down your achievements, role and responsibilities when you take part in any activities, as these are important for your CV and personal development.

Getting a job and entering the real world is very tough. I felt alone and weirdly isolated because I felt I was no longer part of any groups after graduation. We all were going to school, taking lessons and hanging out together, and now it is time to be independent adults! I assume that most international students feel the same as me and I would strongly advise them to keep networking with the people in your interested industry. If you are ever struggling with networking with people, then try to participate in lots of activities at the university. I was afraid of approaching new people because the real world seems confusing and lots of things are going on, but everyone would welcome you and would like to have a chat with you if you show your enthusiasm to them. And keeping in touch with professors is also great for you to keep motivated. It is happy to share your great stories with them!

Last but not least, I would like to say that focusing on job responsibilities can be better than looking at specific industries. For example, you don’t have to go into the ‘perfect job’ when you first enter the job market – I know that I can work in communications in the music industry, a fashion show or the engineering sector! My aim was to go straight into a broadcasting studio at the beginning of my career, but I realised that your job responsibilities – what you can do – is very important as this will lead to many more opportunities in the future!

Explore the Careers website for advice on finding a graduate job or work experience in the UK

Posted in International Students