How to create a good job strategy

To help you secure the job you want, you’ll need an effective job search strategy that takes into account the fact that you'll be fitting this around a very intensive academic timetable.


Creating a Good Strategy

1. Focus

Job hunting is difficult and time consuming if you’re applying to multiple sectors. If you’re not sure what type of role or company to target, book an appointment with us. If you need to find out about opportunities in different sectors we recommend:

2. Knowledge from research

What are the routes into your sector and which route is the most appropriate for your skills and experience? Should you target large multinationals or smaller organisations? Do most companies in your sector advertise positions directly or do they tend to use Recruitment Consultants? What are the in-demand skills and do you have them? What are the issues/trends affecting your sector and how is this impacting on hiring? We can of course help you to answer these questions and doing this before you start applying for jobs can help you create a targeted job strategy.

3. Organisation

You will need to apply for a number of jobs to increase your chance of success. We're often asked how many but there isn't a figure we can give you. Competitive sectors such as Investment Banking and Consulting will receive 1000s of applications so you need to apply to a lot of firms to give yourself the chance of getting to an interview.  However there is no point sending the same covering letter to every firm; recruiters will spot this and reject you. This is why you need a focus; creating a list of target companies that you know you have a realistic chance of getting into and who are looking for your skills will mean that you have the time to submit well-written and tailored applications.  Once you've applied, maintain a record so that you can track your progress and make good use of technology such as creating an Excel spreadsheet and sub-folders in your inbox. We often get students who've been invited to interview but no longer have a record of the job description - it's really important that you create folders so that you can keep relevant information in one place and don't have to keep searching for files.

4. Contacts

It can make a big difference knowing people in the sector you want to work in. Contacts may provide you with inside information that isn’t available on the company’s website and could refer your CV to HR or the Hiring Manager.  The easiest place to start is with alumni from this University and your undergraduate institution. LinkedIn is a great way of finding and connecting with alumni. Talking to people working at your target firms will also help you to understand whether they are a realistic target for you and can help you to create the focus that is essential when you don't have a lot of time for job hunting.

Graduate Hiring in the UK

Large companies typically hire graduates through graduate trainee schemes of 2-3 years’ duration.  Competition is fierce and you need a well-rounded CV including excellent academic results, work experience and varied extra-curricular activities.  You will need to apply during Autumn Term when you start your course as companies recruit a year ahead of the start date. Sources of vacancies include:

You can set up alerts from these websites and most will allow you to express choices and preferences; if you've managed to establish your focus, this should be easy and will mean that your inbox doesn't get filled with unsuitable vacancies.

There are a number of sector specific online guides that can also help you

These opportunities only represent a small part of the graduate labour market; we encourage you to also look at jobs in small and medium enterprises (SMEs), or experienced-hire jobs if you already have professional work experience. These opportunities are advertised according to business need and you should apply during Summer Term.  The job boards above may advertise graduate level jobs in SMEs and there are also agencies such as Instant Impact who specialise in SME hiring. However we also suggest using the Advanced Search function in Indeed and using key words to identify suitable vacancies; remember that some companies won't use the word "graduate" in the job title so try different search terms. For example, you may find that "Marketing Assistant" produces additional search results rather than just searching "Marketing Graduate." SMEs might also attract graduate talent through graduate internships.  

If you are a non EU International student, it is difficult to get a job in the UK. Only a small percentage get jobs in the UK after graduation. We strongly recommend that you include other markets in your job search.  For information about visas visit


It is difficult to find an internship that fits into your timetable, as most internships with large companies take place during the summer when you will be writing your dissertation. Realistically, you’ll be looking for a graduate internship to start when you’ve handed in your dissertation and it’s more likely that you’ll find this opportunity in a start-up company or SME where it’s easier to negotiate your start date. You can find these opportunities on Graduate Talent Pool, Step, University of Birmingham Internships and by using job boards such as Indeed and running key word searches (e.g. putting Intern Internship in the title box). 

Make sure that you:

  • Treat the application as seriously as you would for a permanent role. Even for internships, employers will still have high expectations about your ability to meet objectives. Think of internships as temporary jobs rather than work experience and be clear on the value you can bring

  • Check that you will be paid. Unless the role is exempt from National Minimum Wage, you should be paid for the work that you do. For further information, visit:

Finding Jobs Globally

Multinational companies frequently run management training programmes (also known as graduate schemes) or hire graduates directly in countries in which they are based/have offices. Some offer "global leadership programmes" where they hire students from around the world and where you could work in several locations. Some offer programmes where you start in your home country and then undertake an overseas assignment before returning to your home country.  Others run country specific programmes. Usually, the company requires you to have authorisation to work in the office to which you are applying; checking the FAQ section of the company's graduate careers pages will normally make it clear whether they are willing to sponsor international students or not.  

Multinational companies that run global graduate leadership/management programmes include:

You can also find information on and

Goin Global


Access over 60 million jobs and internships at home and abroad.

GoinGlobal provides you with the tools and resources to make the most of your study abroad experiences, explore internship opportunities across the globe, and pursue employment both at home and abroad.

There are over 120 location specific career guides featuring insider advice on top job search techniques and resources, expert guidelines for creating culturally correct CVs and cover letters, tactical interview advice, work permit/visa regulation requirements advice, access to social and professional networking groups, and insights into the local industry trends.

How to access GoinGlobal

""University of Birmingham students have access to GoinGlobal 24/7 from any mobile or desktop device. You can research on-the-go, in more than 50 languages with automatic translation features. You can even opt to receive instant updates on new job listing and internship opportunities matching your search criteria as a benefit of creating your 'My GoinGlobal' personal account.


Introduction to GoinGlobal video

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International Recruitment Consultancies

UK based recruitment consultancies that hire internationally:


Pan Asia:

Hong Kong:



Middle East:



Professional Services