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Preparing for your future

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international studentspreparing for your future
2:15pm 13 Mar 2024

What can I do while I am at BCU to develop my career prospects?

Develop your skills

Employers in the UK, in your home country and worldwide will require you to have particular skills for job opportunities you apply for. Some may be technical or professional skills that relate closely to the industry, the rest will be transferable skills – skills you can develop in one environment and use in a very different environment, for example: teamwork, problem solving, communication, decision making.

Check out this list of the Top 10 skills in 2023 sought by employers worldwide.

At BCU we encourage you to start developing your skills as soon as you can and there are lots of different opportunities for you to do this:

Planning on staying in the UK? Perfect your English language skills…

If English isn’t your first language and you think you would like to work in the UK or another English-speaking country, we strongly advise you to do everything you can to develop your English language skills – otherwise this will be a significant barrier when you apply for jobs.

  • You can improve your English by:
  • Making friends with people from other countries / the UK
  • Working part-time / volunteering / getting work experience in the UK
  • Getting involved in university groups, events and activities
  • Reading UK news, watching UK television and listening to UK radio and podcasts
  • Getting help from the Centre for Academic Success at BCU – they offer English language workshops and drop-ins

 Develop your experience

The more experience you can develop related to your career interests, the more useful insights you will gain and the more you can add value to your CV. There are many ways you can develop relevant experience:

  • You may be able to find a part-time job in the industry / sector you are interested in. Use Prospects to identify jobsites relating to particular job areas.
  • Some volunteering opportunities may link to your career interests
  • You may be able to find some work experience abroad – Global Placement, Erasmus Intern
  • Approach employers you are interested in speculatively – if they aren’t advertising work experience opportunities it can still be worth contacting them to find out if they may be able to offer you something.
  • Some employers offer short internships over student vacation periods e.g. Easter or the summer months. Internships are structured periods of work experience advertised by employers.
  • Your course may include the option to do a placement – this can be a great way of developing relevant experience. Take a look at the this video for further advice on sourcing a placement:

Thinking of working in the UK or seeking UK work experience?  Get your CV UK ready!

When you apply for any kind of opportunity in the UK using a CV, it is essential that you ensure it has been adapted to the UK style and formatCVs look different in different countries – for example, in the UK people don’t normally include a photo, we don’t include information such as date of birth and gender and UK employers generally prefer CVs to be a maximum of two pages.  Not sure what a UK CV should look like?  Check out our top tips here!

Our other recommendations:

  • Create / maintain an up-to-date LinkedIn profile – ask for endorsements and recommendations to attract interest from employers
  • Develop your network of useful contacts – e.g. BCU alumni working where you want to be, professionals you meet at careers fairs (online or in person). Make sure you connect with them on LinkedIn.
  • Get regular tips and advice from the Midlands International Group by following their page on LinkedIn.
  • Develop a global mindset and competencies.
  • Culture Wizard is a great tool to help you find out about the professional culture in the country / countries where you are thinking of working in the future, including the UK.  As well as lots of useful blogs and webinars, you can take the Global Mindset quiz to compare your personal attributes and preferred ways of working to the current working culture – see how well you’ll fit in and if there’s anything you need to adapt to.
  • Access both these tools by going to GoinGlobal, then scrolling down to “Personalize your GoinGlobal Experience” and create your account.
  • Be open to new experiences and ideas – embrace all the opportunities available to you at BCU, get involved and be open to meeting new people from different countries and cultures
  • Develop your awareness of UK culture - see Culture Wizard above to help with this
  • Make the most of Careers+ services:
  • Attend our employer events to meet employers and find out what they’re looking for – take a look at the Events section on this website for details
  • Work with your faculty employability team to identify relevant work experience opportunities
  • Get help with your CV and interview skills through the resources section on this website and use CV360 for instant feedback on your CV.  You can also book a 1-to-1 appointment (by clicking on the “Book an appointment” tab on the front page of our website) to get advice on how to tailor your applications.
  • Get help planning your career development by booking an appointment with the Careers+ team. 

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