So you want to apply for a post graduate job with a UK employer. You have an idea of the type of role you want to do but are not sure about exactly the type of employer to work for, or the jobs that they offer.
I get that you’re busy with your studies at the same time and knowing exactly what you should research can seem like an added annoyance in your already busy schedule so it’s not your fault. However, the importance of researching employers before you even think about applying to any of their graduate jobs can’t be overlooked.
The question is what should you research?
You don’t want to waste valuable time reading up on irrelevant information.
Today I’m going to show you the 2 things that you should research about your chosen employer that will impress them and give you a better understanding on whether you should even apply. Keep reading.
The 2 areas where you should focus your research
You can narrow down your research into two main areas so that you don’t become overwhelmed with information and they are:
The company itself
The position you are interested in
Simple right! Well within each of these areas there are sub topics where you should focus your time and energy. The problem with most graduates and undergrads is that the research they conduct is all over the place and end up knowing too much about one thing, and not enough about others.
The research that you do on the company itself will help you decide if you would like to work with them and the graduate recruiter will expect you to have a solid understanding of the company and its operations.
Areas you should focus on are:
What is the company’s main area of business: do they sell or produce products, do they have a service that they offer, do they work with both products and services?
Who are their customers: the general public, other businesses, or both?
What are the markets that they operate in: multiple markets or one central market area, are they based in multiple countries?
What are other companies that operate in similar markets: what do their competitors do?
Recent articles about the company: I recommend that you read at least 1 or two articles about the company as a whole. This will give you some insight into their recent activity, identify problems or areas of growth that they have had. This will also impress them if you can convey any of this knowledge to relevant questions at the interview stage
Where to find this information
I would start your research at the employer’s website. Their about page is a good starting point. Once you have gathered all the information that you can from their page, you should then look for the additional information at objective websites.
When I say objective I mean online articles from newspapers and news reports from respected websites. Online magazines based in your target industry would also be a good option, be sure that you check the dates of any articles that you conduct research from. The more recent the better!
So now that you gathered a good amount of information about the employer, it’s time to start researching the vacancy itself. As an international student there are particular things that you should pay attention to, especially if you are hoping to be sponsored.
When looking into the position itself you should focus on:
The desired qualities section in the job specification: Make sure that whatever the desired skills or qualities that they look for in a candidate are as close a match to your own skills and experience as possible. They practically tell you what they want to see to hire you
Entry requirements: Are they asking for a 2:1, 1st or are they happy with any grade achieved. Are they open to applicants graduated from any degree discipline or is it industry specific
Salary: Especially in situations where visa sponsorship is required, pay attention to what the salary of the position is. A tier 2 general and tier 5 GAE each have different salary requirements in order to work in the UK. You can’t apply to a position and be eligible if the salary does not meet the requirements of the related visa route
Location: Some graduate jobs and schemes will require you to conduct training or work in other parts of the UK. Some may even base you in another country for a period of time. It’s also important to consider this when applying to a role.
Application process, deadlines and start dates: Not all but many positions will also describe the application process for that particular role. No role for any given company is the same as another so make sure that you read about what you may face if it is described in the vacancy.
Deadlines: It’s obvious that you need to apply before the deadline but this also goes hand in hand with the start date. You will need to give yourself enough time to not only be successful in the process, but to also go through the steps for your visa application
This may seem like a lot of information but I assure you that if you research in small chunks, and take these steps I described, you will be well on your way to being the informed and knowledgeable candidate that employers expect to see applying for their graduate roles.
Don’t forget to share this with any other international students that you know who are applying to graduate positions in the UK.
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