How to get a job as an international student: What you need to know

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Bryan Smith - November, 07 2022

5 min read

About the author

Content Manager at Prodigy Finance, helping international students gear up to study abroad

As you prepare to complete your postgraduate studies, your next - and most important task - is to secure full-time employment.

As you’re likely to be seeking a role in your study country as an international graduate, this can feel like your most daunting task yet. However, taking a number of simple and practical steps can help set you up for success.

How to find a job after college

As you prepare to pack away your study material and pursue your postgraduate career, there are four key steps you can take to enhance your job seeking prospects.

Tailor your resume

If you haven’t already, now is a great time to update your resume to reflect your new degree and skill sets.

As you prepare to attend job interviews, a well-crafted resume is your first step through the door, and keeping your career and personal histories updated and relevant is key.

Be sure to keep your CV updated and relevant to each individual job application. Tailoring your resume to highlight individual skills that align to each role you are applying for can enable you to stand out from other applicants.

Check out job listings

As you progress towards the end of your degree, be sure to keep a steady eye on new job listings - and pursue roles that are available to you even if you aren’t yet finished with your studies. In most cases, employers will allow you leniency to complete your studies before starting a new role should your application be favourably considered.

Keep up with your industry

Attending industry events - and particularly career fairs - can enable you to connect with potential employers long before your studies are complete. Keep abreast of changes within your industry, and be sure to expand your interests as far as possible to network effectively.

An extensive network can empower you to quickly establish new opportunities and have exposure to roles that you otherwise might not be aware of!

For some handy tips to enhance your networking skills, be sure to read our in-depth guide.

Where can I search for international student graduate jobs?

There are many great websites that specifically cater to listing jobs for international students. Beyond LinkedIn - which is a great network to follow companies and explore career opportunities - be sure to refine your profile and searches on sites such as Indeed, Ziprecruiter, and your university’s online career portal.

When to start applying for jobs senior year of college

Though the time of year you’re set to graduate might depend on your university or study country, a good idea is to begin searching for a full-time role around 3 to 4 months before your classes end.

For example, if you’re set to graduate in May, it can be useful to begin your job search in earnest in January.

Over the course of the following months, you’ll provide yourself with enough time to seek out multiple roles that interest you, proceed through interview or hiring rounds as a process might demand them, and lastly conclude your degree in confidence that you’d be able to pursue a full-time role at the conclusion of your study programme.

What is the average time to get a job after graduation?

The average time for a graduate to find a full-time role after completing their degree can vary significantly by study country, your industry, or simply by personal circumstances.

On average, graduates typically find a full-time role within a few weeks after the conclusion of their study programme up to three years following their graduation.
How long does it take to get a job after college?

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average time for a graduate of a US university to find full-time employment is 3-6 months after completing their degree.

What to do if you can’t find a job after college

It’s not always simple to find full-time employment directly after completing your studies, and often the right opportunity will take time to appear. If you’re struggling to find a full-time job after college - your first step is not to worry. Your second step is to be proactive!

Look further ahead

If you’re struggling to find full-time employment in your particular field or set of interests, you may want to expand your search and consider cognate fields that rely on your set of skills. For example, analytical roles can often branch into many facets of an organisation or business - and considering a role that may extend your skills and knowledge can actually be beneficial in the long run.

Network

A great aspect of attending university is networking - and to help refine your job search, one of the best strategies you can employ is to rely on your professional network.

You may be surprised as to which of your connections may be most likely to lead you to a successful job interview. Consider approaching friends, acquaintances, student and professional networking societies, and even your faculty offices to seek employment opportunities.

Work freelance or part-time

If you can’t find a full-time role and your study visa allows it, why not consider working part-time or in a freelance capacity?

Working either option enables you to manage your own time, network with other professionals or organisations, and build credible work experience as you progress into the early stages of your postgraduate career.

If you excel in a part-time role, you may even be offered the opportunity to to transition to a full-time role in the future!

What do I need to know about pursuing part-time work?

If you’re still studying and would like to pursue part-time work, or if you instead plan to seek out part-time roles to pursue other interests, it’s worth exploring what you should consider before making this important career choice.

Our helpful guide can help you form a plan and identify a role that will suit your interests and needs.

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