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How to find a job in the UK after your studies

There are many ways to search for work in the UK. As an international student, you will need to follow the same approach as UK students, so our detailed help with finding a graduate job will still be relevant for you.

However, we know that there can be some confusion for international students, simply because things here are different from your own country.

To help you with this, several times each year we run workshops especially for you, such as

  • Find work in the UK
  • How to Impress UK employers as an international student - Excelling at UK job applications

You can book your place on these workshops via Handshake.

Graduate scheme applications open early on in your final year of studies. This is almost a year before a scheme actually begins. Many students are surprised how far in advance they need to apply. The main application period is from September to January.

However, graduate schemes are not the only option for you. We explain the other options in the section-What Jobs are Available in the UK for Graduates? Other types of jobs in the UK have year-round deadlines.

Target Jobs’ International Students Guide to Job Hunting in the UK also explains when and how employers recruit graduates, including the difference between graduate schemes and direct entry routes.

We advertise graduate vacancies on Handshake. You can find other suggestions about where you can find jobs on our Help with finding a graduate job page.

Networking is useful when looking for work in the UK. We know lots of tips and tricks to make networking easy. See our Help with networking page to see what we offer.

The UK doesn’t usually rely on “recommendations” for recruitment in the same way as some other countries do. You may hear about jobs or get an insight into a company through your personal or professional network, but you will usually still have to apply in the same way as anyone else. "Recommendations" don't provide any shortcuts or direct routes into a job in the UK.

This is because there are employment laws in the UK that make it fair for everyone to apply, whether they are connected to people in a company or not. This means that we can’t recommend our students to employers or provide a list of employers who favour Exeter students and graduates.

The International Student Support pages provide information about visa options for working after your studies, and can help you with your visa application too. 

A National Insurance Number (NINO) is a number unique to you. It helps your employer pay your National Insurance contributions. No one else can use this number. It is not related to health insurance.

After applying, you may be asked to send identity documents to be checked. You could be invited to an in-person appointment. It can take up to 16 weeks to get your number.

You can start work before your National Insurance number arrives. You should tell your employer that you’ve applied for one, and tell them when you get it. 

We offer free use of our telephones for contacting the National Insurance Number helpline. Please enquire at the main Career Zone reception. It is free to apply for a NINO - do not use online services who advertise this and ask for payment.

You can apply for one online on at Gov.uk.