Starting this blog with a short story. When I decided that I wanted to do my masters in the UK, one typical comment from everyone around me was, "you cannot get a job in the UK; it is difficult and impossible". This statement started to take a toll on me even before I started my Masters. I feared about my future.
I never doubted my capabilities, but the negativity was stressing me a lot.
But no one told me to do this - Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations. So just throw the negativity into the trash.
In this blog, I will be sharing my job search experience in the UK and how I landed a fantastic job at Gemraj Technologies Ltd. I have structured my experience into 4 phases.
Before you read about my experience. Here is a small disclaimer. I made a lot of mistakes and learnt from them. This is MY STORY, and it is MY PROCESS and might not be the same as yours.
Phase 1: The paranoid job hunter
Ahh, Spoiler Alert - I was a mess.
From the day I landed in the UK, I started thinking about the future. I had this fancy dream of working in one of the top 100 companies straight out of my Masters. I had no idea how to do it, what it would take for me to achieve it, but I knew that I had the LUMS careers team by my side, so I was insanely confident.
I had no clue about graduate role application deadlines, psychometric tests types and the interview processes. It was all foreign.
The dates were imminent, I did not get time to practice these tests. I had 9 - 5 classes, back to back exams, assignment submissions, group work, and I was trying to get comfortable with the rainy weather (which I HATE).
Not knowing the type of role I was looking for. I attended a lot of career fairs, applied to EVERY SINGLE company in the stand. I was clueless. I got back to back rejection emails. It was so pathetic where I would have applied for more than 50 companies. I missed a lot of graduate roles deadlines because of the rejection stress. I was in this phase for three freaking solid months. It was a mess.
I attended many one-to-one career meetings to correct my CV, Cover letters and get consultation for interviews and psychometric tests. During the careers meeting, I understood the importance of UK job experience so, I started working towards it.
Here is how you can strategically tackle this phase
- Get an understanding of the UK job application process before you start your Masters
- Prepare the list of deadlines for the graduate application
- Connect with your Careers team to correct your CV
- Practice extensively for psychometric tests
- Focus and apply to a few companies
Phase 2: All the highs
During all those stressful months, two things kept me sane. First and foremost, my dance practice sessions and my newfound interest, mobile photography. I loved taking pictures of our beautiful Lancaster University campus. As a matter of fact, I got featured on the university Instagram page many times. The Student Union Digital Content Creation team directly reached out to me on Instagram. They offered me a part-time role. My first gig was to cover the South Asian Ball 2020.
I applied for Lancaster University Management School Student Ambassador role, and positively I got through in January 2020. It was immense pleasure to represent the MSc Management and help prospective students with their questions. I gave presentations to 100s of people, spoke to students one-to-one and helped the department with some activities.
I tried to make use of every single opportunity that was available.
During this time, I was still applying for full-time graduate roles. Though I got rejected for almost all the full-time positions, I gained industry experience during my Master's degree.
I applied to Alan Dick Engineering Ltd's Digital Marketing internship via University's recruitment services portal. Though I was prepared, it was my first ever interview. I was super scared. The next day I got a call from the internship officer, revealing the big news that I got selected and specifically mentioned that they liked my 'energy and enthusiasm. I was so happy and started jumping around like a happy puppy. Yeah, 60 seconds later got back to reality and started thinking about the next steps. This was my first win. Yayy.
Though I had an internship in hand, it was a part-time internship. I felt the experience wasn't enough. During this time, I got an opportunity to do an un-paid remote training with Doodlemonk.in. I was desperate to get more experience to up-skill, so I took the chance.
This phase was challenging. I was growing professionally and personally, and I thought I was ready to tackle the full-time job roles application process.
Phase 3: The paranoid job hunter is back
It was September, and I had no full-time offer in hand. I did not have a post-study work visa to chill and relax. I was left with 4 months to find a full-time role.
My phase 1 stress was back. I had no idea why I was rejected. I had some experience and a lot of transferrable skills. Adding to the pressure was several instances. I learnt from every instance, and I would like to share that with all of you.
I passionately worked day and night for an application. Finally, I was asked to submit a Tik-Tok video. I put my freaking more than 1000% to write down a script and shoot a stop motion video. I submitted my application, hoping to get a reply. Two months went by, and I did not get any response. I was devastated that I did not get an answer, but I was super angry as well. I felt that every applicant gives 100% for any application. They definitely deserve a reply. Even if it is a rejection email, they deserve a response. I understand that it is not humanely possible to reply individually, but there are several tools to send mass emails. It is just a matter of template uploading, updating the database and clicking send button. As a matter of fact, I am still mad at this company.
If you come across such a situation, remember that the company don't deserve you.
As usual, I applied to 100s of companies through various platforms. I finally got an in-person interview letter. I was sure that this was my only chance, and I was confident that I would nail it. Got all excited about the interview, dressed up all good, took a taxi at 8:30 for the 9am interview. I reached the office at around 8:45. The office was located in a shady street. I was sure that I was either going to get robbed or kidnapped. The office had a glass door, and I could see that things were BROKEN inside. It was super fishy and scary.
I was waiting on the streets for 1 hr straight. No-one turned up. But a guy came at 10:45 and opened the door for the office. I was waiting in the lobby for another 30 minutes. During the so-called interview, I felt like trashing them into pieces. I applied for a Marketing Executive role, but I was interviewed for a door to door sales role. I was frustrated. I just walked out of the office. Just hoping that crime watch kidnapping episodes don't happen to me.
Here is something you have to do before any interview. DO A BACKGROUND CHECK.
You don't deserve to get scammed or kidnapped. Simple.
My mental health was in a bad state. And never thought a Starbucks visit would be so bad and depressing. I felt like, bro! So I came for a Caramel Frappuccino with whipped cream, and I was not ready for this da!
I was enjoying my Caramel Frappuccino, and there were group recruiters who sat next to my table. They were reviewing a lot of CVs. I was texting my friends, and suddenly I heard something I wish I didn't listen to. One person asked something about an international student's CV. The other person replied that "just care about UK CVs". I was devastated. I felt like, is this something that everyone thinks about international students here? Is that why I did not get a job so far? It was bad. It hit me really, really bad.
I was in despair. I literally gave up in October. I started to up-skill, but I had zero hopes of finding a job in the UK or even in India. I had self-doubt, depressed and I could not get those words out of my head.
It was a bad phase, but the LUMS careers team was with me. Martine, Peter, David and Helen from the careers team helped me come out of it.
So, to sum up, bad things will happen but stick with your careers team, seek help. Things will get better.
Phase 4: LinkedIn the saviour
I put consistent efforts into promoting my work on LinkedIn. One day, I got a message from Gemraj Technologies Ltd saying, "We do have an opportunity in the Marketing area and is it worth discussing?" I have gotten several messages like this. Sometimes, either the sender does not respond back, or they don't connect for the meeting. When I received this message, I was not 100% sure. But what can go wrong virtually right? So, I went for the interview.
Got through the process. Within 5 days of that message, my Tier 2 visa application was initiated. Everything happened within a heartbeat.
It has been 9 months working at GTL. I never thought that I would enjoy what I do, have an approachable CEO and amazing colleagues. I am grateful for the process I have gone through to get something amazing.
Thank you for taking the time to read through my experience. This was not written to demotivate or scare you. However, if you plan to study and work abroad or look for jobs abroad, here are some key takeaways from my story.
- It is possible to get a job in the UK
- Careers team is your BEST FRIEND
- LinkedIn networking is the key
Hope you find the job that fits you soon 🙂
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