The UK is regarded as one of the world’s main business hubs and is only second to the United States in regards to its education institutions.
Also many of the world’s largest conglomerates operate here and have a strong presence and influence throughout their industry.
If you, like many international students are planning, or are already here studying in higher education then you will be doing yourself a major disservice by not taking advantage of gaining some work experience with a graduate employer while you are here. The benefits to your career are immeasurable.
I’m going to talk about the 3 main reasons why gaining work experience in the UK can enhance your career as an international student.
Reputation can be a major benefit to your career goals, especially when seeking a new opportunity or trying to take the next step up the career ladder. If you are already studying in the UK, or are planning to study here, then you’ll already be aware that being educated from a UK institution holds credibility, but what about work experience?
Here is where you need to really take a minute and think about your career goals. I mean really think about it! Where do you see yourself over the next 3-5 years? Is your future career in the UK? Is it back in your home country? Do you plan to start a business or work your way up within an organisation?
Whatever you have planned, start from that point and then work your way backwards. You will then start to get a clearer picture of how getting work experience, related to your degree, in one of the world’s most reputable places for business, will open up countless opportunities for you.
Try to research what companies operate in the UK within your chosen industry or field. Inform yourself about the industry as a whole and become educated not only academically but professionally also. The mistake I see many of you make is that you want to work and gain experience here after your studies, but aren’t willing to put the time in to inform yourself.
Don’t make the same mistake.
Another advantage you will gain from working in the UK as an international student is the fact that you will be exposed to working environments with multiple international influences. This is especially applicable to cities such as London as it is one of the most multicultural cities in the world.
This is also reflected within the companies that operate within the UK. Being able to work alongside people from vastly different cultures to your own is a skill that is becoming increasingly important to multi-national companies in this globalized world.
As a graduate you need to start thinking about what you want to learn from any work experience you undertake, and more importantly, how is that experience going to benefit your career?
One of the benefits of working in a multi-cultural organisation, in a multi-cultural city is the perspective that it gives you. According to research by Harvard business school professor Roy Y.J. Chua, the more your network consists of individuals from different backgrounds, the more your creativity will be stimulated. The major reason for this is the difference in views and perspectives which in the long term we internalise and add to our own, thus making us more broad-minded.
English the international language
I am sure that many of you already know this, but English is still regarded as the business language of the world and anyone who has plans to have a successful career will definitely seek to have a strong command of this language.
Now I am not advocating that if you know English alone it will guarantee success. However adding this language to your repertoire is also a very attractive trait for UK graduate employers.
If your goal as an international student is to secure a post graduate job after your studies in the UK then I highly advise that undertake a summer internship or part time job where you will be utilising your English in a business context.
It isn’t enough to only have command of the language within a social context but within a professional context also. There will be certain words used within your industry which you will not get the same exposure to if you are not working in a professional environment. By the time you apply for a graduate job, UK employers will expect you to have a wide, yet relevant vocabulary within your specific field.
Be sure to take the opportunity to enhance your language skills before you reach the stage of applying for a graduate job. It can make the difference at the stage of you being offered a job, especially within an interview setting.
Follow these 3 tips to gaining work experience within the UK and you will be on your way to not only enhancing your career opportunities, but also developing yourself as a person at the same time.
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