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The University of Southampton
Careers and Employability Service

International Students

All of our international students have full access to the Careers & Employability resources we offer. However, as an international student you will most probably have questions and concerns that are specific to your situation, so we have put together some advice to help you with your job search. 

Drop in session
Drop-in & guidance are available in the Careers Centre

Where to get advice:

The careers service helped me to find a job and apply here in the UK as the application process is different from my home country. They diagnosed any issues with my CV and cover letter and I think this is why I have been successful in getting interviews.

Available Opportunities:

Photo of Ahmed Abdellatif, Business Analyst Intern, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, BScSoc Economics & Finance YiE
The Year in Employment experience definitely had a significant impact on me. Choosing to study in the UK was a huge challenge, yet I must say that starting off my career here was even more vital and inspiring!

The skills you have developed as an international student, including any languages you have enhanced, will be attractive to many employers. However you need to make sure you are fully aware of any restrictions on your right to work.

National Insurance number

You will need a National Insurance number as it is linked to the tax system and can apply if you can prove you have the right to work in the UK and are either working or seeking work. You can apply through the UK Government website.

Sponsorship & Visas

You will need to make sure you have the correct visa for work within the UK:

  • Tier 4: This is the UK visa for students in the UK. The sponsor is your education institution. You are allowed to work for 20 hours a week maximum on this visa but should also check for any restrictions set by the University of Southampton. You may be able to work full time if you have time left after you finish your studies.
  • Tier 2: This is main visa for skilled workers remaining in the UK. If you are applying then your employer must have a Tier 2 sponsor license.
  • Tier 5: The Youth Mobility Scheme for those 18-30 who want to live and work in the UK for up to 2 years. Check the UK government website for the specific requirements attached to this visa.

For further information regarding visas see the UKCISA website.

Applying for a job

Use our Application advice pages to help with applying for a job within the UK. You can also find further information to help you with your job search on TARGETjobs.

If you are unsure whether your qualifications from outside the UK will meet the requirements of the job you are applying for, then UK NARIC is a chargeable service that can translate your qualifications for the UK job market.

Graduate Entreprenuer Visa

This opportunity is only open to international graduates and students of the University of Southampton. This 12 month visa would enable graduates with a viable and innovative business idea to develop their business with support. Find out more information from our Student Enterprise pages.

By studying in the UK you have developed many benefits that will set you apart in the job market in your home country such as: an understanding of British culture; improved English language skills; independence and resilience from living away from home; as well as problem solving and analytical skills from studying for your degree.

There are a range of sites you can use to find international opportunities including: Goinglobal which can be accessed through MyCareer, Grad link, and international graduate opportunities on TARGETjobs.

You should also be aware of the concept of Reverse Cultural Shock and how to avoid the pitfalls.

UK opportunities

For any application the key is to research the company and the role so that the application you make is as specific as possible. Both Prospects and TARGETjobs are helpful websites for conducting such research. Our workshops on tailoring your CVs and covering letters will help you to put the research you have conducted into practice.

Careers & Employability Workshop

Need help with job applications?

Our Employability Essentials workshops may be useful in assisting you with your CVs, applications and interviews for the UK job market.

Book on to a workshop

International opportunities

Whilst our advisers are not experts in international job markets they can still assist you with your job search or check CVs and applications for you.

Use GoinGlobal to find out how to apply internationally

It is wise to check on the conventions of the particular country you are applying to through GoinGlobal, which can be accessed through our MyCareer pages. This site has country-specific advice including job markets, CVs and interviews for a wide range of nations. This advice comes from local employment experts and we would strongly recommend accessing their service if you are applying internationally as the requirements do vary from country to country.

Below are two examples of countries where CV conventions are different from that of the UK:

  • In China you are required to include more personal details such as your date of birth, gender, marital status and hobbies. Career objectives and photographs are also commonplace. Your education section should be emphasized, including copies of relevant diplomas and certificates. Usually a 1 page CV is required but a maximum of 2 pages may also be accepted.
  • In France a CV is generally 1 page (a maximum of 2 pages for very experienced candidates) and this should show a fairly linear career path, focusing on fewer, most relevant examples. There is also much more focus on gaining employment through personal contacts and referrals so networking is very important.

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