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International students

International students

This section provides information for international students who wish to work in the UK.

  • Start with internships or part time work - This will improve your chances for a job by demonstrating you can work in the UK and internships can improve your chances of gaining a graduate role with the same company.
  • Gain employability skills - Apply for sector specific training with Professional Pathways or Green Consultants, gain transferable skills with Challenges Online or begin with The Exeter Award to enhance your employability and boost your CV.
  • Learn how to sell yourself to an employer - This is more than just listing your qualifications and experiences. It is showing the employer that you really understand what they are looking for and explaining that you have what they need. It really helps if you research the sector, the company and the opportunity. Use the eXepert scheme to easily connect with University of Exeter alumni to ask careers questions or apply for one-to-one careers advice, support and guidance from an experienced professional for up to 6 months with the Career Mentor Scheme. Attend Career Fair and sector relevant events as listed on My Career Zone.
  • Apply early for Graduate schemes - Look for graduate schemes & maximize your chances. You need to apply for these early as they tend to open in September and close in December the year before you graduate.
  • Understand the process - Get support in writing your online application, advice on online tests, assessment centre or multiple interviews.
  • Work on your language skills - Working, volunteering and practising your spoken English as often as you can whilst studying at the University of Exeter can boost your language skills. There is also English language support available.
  • Use LinkedIn to network with Exeter alumni and their employers - LinkedIn’s Alumni Tool is a hugely powerful resource for researching careers and expanding your network.

You should check the conditions of your visa as you may be subject to certain work restrictions. Visit the International Student Support pages for detailed information on all working restrictions.

If you are unsure or have any questions contact International Student Support ( before you start work.

It is not currently possible to apply for a National Insurance number, but you may start work before you do this and apply for one when the service resumes. For confirmation for this, see Apply for a National Insurance number.

Please read UKCISA pages for latest guidelines.

A National Insurance Number (NINO) is a number unique to you to help your employer pay your National Insurance contributions; no one else can use this number and it is not related to health insurance. Your National Insurance Number is free to apply for, please do not pay an online service to generate a number for you. It is required when you get paid employment in the UK to record your national insurance contributions and is your personal account number.

You can start work before your National Insurance number arrives if you can prove you can work in the UK. You should tell your employer that you’ve applied for one, and give it to them when you have it. Download our guide: How to get a National Insurance Number 

We offer free use of our telephones for contacting the National Insurance Number helpline. Please enquire at the main Career Zone reception.

International students find working part time a great way to increase their work experiences and understand British culture and there are many part time jobs in Exeter that particularly suit international students. 

If you require any support when looking for part time employment please ask for a job advice appointment. These are offered daily in the career zone in the Forum and give you fifteen minutes, one to one support. You can book as many of these as you need and we can give you advice on the best jobs to look for and how to apply. You can contact us at if you are unable to book an appointment and need help applying for part time jobs. This service is for students studying at the University of Exeter only.

We also offer webinars on finding part time employment as an international student, you can search for these in MyCareerZone under events.

 If you are considering taking up volunteering or unpaid work read the explanation of what is considered volunteering or voluntary work, please refer to the International Student Support pages to check any work restrictions.

 If you have any visa related questions please email

If you want to have a graduate job in the UK you need to develop your employability skills as an undergraduate or a postgraduate. You need to have evidence and examples of the skills that employers expect graduates to have including: team work, leadership, communication, and problem solving skills.  These are often described as soft skills

Many graduate jobs are advertised early on in your final academic year, usually September to December to start in September the following year. This is when you need to look and apply. The website Target Jobs explains about when and how employers recruit graduates, including the difference between graduate schemes and direct entry routes: International Students Guide to Job Hunting in the UK  

Contact if you would like help on finding a graduate role.

You can find information about visa options for working after your studies on the International Student Support pages.

If you have any visa related questions please email

Success stories

Polina Vorms, an international student from Russia, graduated in 2015 from the Univeristy of Exeter after studying Business and Management. She started working in the UK as a Research Analyst in Education Technology a week after graduating and we asked her how she managed to secure that role: 

Why did you choose to study at the University of Exeter?

I loved the course and the curriculum. After arriving I realised how amazing the environment was at the university – libraries, events, staff support.

Why did you choose your particular course?

I always thought I had an entrepreneur in me so Business and Management was a logical choice.

Did you use Careers Zone or other careers support whilst at Exeter?

Yes – I got my first job through Careers Zone

Please tell us about the application process for your graduate job, and how you prepared and/or managed this?

 I had a mentor and constant support from Careers Zone staff who helped me through every stage of interviewing

What aspects of being an international students worked in your favour during the application process?

 Being fluent in multiple languages, and having graduated from a UK university was a big advantage that I had.

What were the biggest obstacles in gaining a graduate job in the UK?

 Visa (Tier 2) was very difficult to obtain as there was a limited number of Sponsors in London hiring recent graduates, but I managed to get a job.

What is your advice for any international student looking for a job within the UK?

You have to be prepared to hear a “No” and don’t be afraid – work hard, be persistent, do your due diligence when applying. Exeter Uni gives a perfect base to get to know what you want to do in the future so start thinking in advance, use resources and by the time you will be applying you will be the top candidate!