August 8, 2013, by NUBS Postgraduate Careers
Time to say goodbye…
By Beth Cooper
It may be hard to believe how quickly time has flown but for those of you who have not secured a role in the UK, it is time to think about returning home and continuing or starting a new career there. You may be thinking with your visa not due to expire until January there is still plenty of time but this depends on some conscious decision making on your part. Remember, wherever you are, the world of recruitment works not at the pace you want as a candidate but at a pace defined by the business and therefore you need to act accordingly. You need to demonstrate that you are able to contribute to the organisation and how your foreign studies are of benefit, rather than presume this to be understood. So what are your options?
Return home in September
For many countries, including China, September to December is a key recruitment time. If you miss this window of opportunity by not returning until the point that your visa expires, it may result in you not securing work until the following September. This is particularly the case in companies and roles with high demand. Ignoring the financial impact this might have, it also might mean you returning to the parental home after your period of independence, whilst your friends start their career, earning and spending!
Use the time to travel both in the UK and Europe but again, make sure you have a plan or at least an idea for what is going to happen next. Three months of travelling is a fantastic experience but you need to make sure you don’t forget about your job hunt if you do not want to be sitting doing nothing when you return home. Make sure you make the most of free wifi and internet cafes to stay in touch so that you can respond quickly to suitable opportunities or potential employers. They will not wait for you because you are on holiday.
Continue looking for work in the UK
In light of the length of the average UK recruitment process, with the additional work visa requirement, your chances of securing a permanent paid position in the UK are slim if you are not already in a formal recruitment process by September. If you do not have a role secured by the end of October and nothing on the horizon, the window of opportunity for permanent work in the UK will have closed. Therefore if you do want UK work experience on your CV, one option is to look for temporary work for the time until your visa expires (my earlier blog looks at the benefits). Unitemps is a great place to start with a range of roles local to Nottingham for various time periods. These include working as HR or admin assistants, on IT helplines or casual roles across the university with many ready to begin as soon as possible, including on a part-time basis.
You may also wish to think about arranging your own internship. Although the vast majority of formal internship programmes run through the summer, Notts Postgraduate Placements offer a variety of short-term internships in the local area. The University also advertises internships aimed at graduates. However, your greatest chance of success at this stage is not to look for advertised opportunities but instead will require you to contact organisations yourself and explain why it would be of benefit to them to provide you with work experience. They may not always be able to offer this on a paid basis so do look at this University guide to help you with your decision-making.
Whatever you choose, start preparing now
Whenever you return, you need to start preparing the ground now and don’t wait until January. The networking skills you have been honing whilst being in the UK are just as important in your home country, especially when you have been ‘out of sight’ for the last twelve months. Make sure your family and friends know your plans so that you can start establishing contacts. Research your target companies so that you understand their recruitment cycle and when their key dates are. Being out of the country does not stop you starting the recruitment process, which is often online. Make sure you understand what steps are going to be involved. Knowing when the interviews and assessment centres are scheduled, even in general terms, can help you better plan to ensure you don’t miss out by being in the wrong place at the wrong time.