Kevin Miguim, IT Risk Assurance Analyst and UK Higher Education Promoter

Kevin currently specialises in IT Risk Assurance at a Leading Professional Services firm, where he enjoys the intricacies of the regulated and dynamic Audit profession. With over half a decade of experience as a UK Admissions consultant, Kevin supported thousands of International students in making informed decisions about studying in the UK. From serving as a Classroom Rep to Delegate at the National Union of Students (NUS-UK) and assuming leadership as vice president of his student union, Kevin has been a tireless champion of student causes. Having navigated through UK Bachelor’s, Master’s, and ongoing Doctorate studies, he possesses a wealth of diverse perspectives and invaluable insights to share.


If you are an international student in the UK and are currently planning your next steps ahead of your course end date or visa end date, I would strongly encourage you to consider applying for Graduate programs, especially if you have little or no work experience or if you are seeking to move to a particular field or industry post-study.

I vividly remember endless hours spent scrolling job websites, desperately seeking companies willing to sponsor visas for roles that aligned with my interests. Then, you find the perfect role, the company is listed on the Skilled Worker sponsor list but there is no guarantee the role you are interested in is sponsored. The struggle isn’t just about locating these opportunities; it’s about the emotional rollercoaster of enthusiasm, confusion, and then sheer disappointment. The return on time invested feels dishearteningly low.

If you find yourself in a similar position, nearing the end of your academic course or visa, considering Graduate roles might be your breakthrough. These roles often offer a path brimming with potential, given adequate time and commitment. Please, hear me out before you scroll out of this article.

Dispelling Myths

First, let’s start dispelling the myths around graduate programs. One common misconception is that graduate roles are exclusively for undergraduates. However, graduate programs extend beyond undergraduates and encompass master’s and even recent Ph.D. graduates in many cases. Applying with a higher qualification generally will not put you at a disadvantage. And contrary to belief, the salary offered in these programs can be surprisingly competitive, sometimes surpassing remunerations in other experienced roles within certain industries.

Moreover, there’s a prevailing notion that companies that do sponsor Graduate employees would favor British students over international students because they want to ‘care for their citizens’ or ‘an overseas student needs sponsorship’. This belief often makes one hesitant to pursue roles with sponsoring possibilities. However, this could not be more remote from the truth as companies that sponsor graduate roles inherently value your skills and are keen on having you as part of their workforce.

Why Graduate programs?

Now that we’ve cleared a few misconceptions, I want to emphasize why I think Graduate programs can be a better plan for international students over standard jobs. Firstly, Graduate programs are generally open to degrees in any discipline, offering the first step into a career which comes in handy when you are not quite sure what’s next. I currently work in Audit Technology Risk Assurance, with a business degree, and frankly, had no idea there was such a profession until the day I applied.

Secondly, the job search is about precision, and though there are hundreds of thousands of standard job openings around, companies almost never say if they sponsor or not for a specific role. When it comes to graduate programs, companies seem to be a bit more experienced with international applicants and will advertise if they sponsor, accept Graduate route visas, or none of the latter. Also, if it is not advertised, the recruitment teams are often friendlier and will advise what they offer if you inquire by email.

Thirdly, on a Graduate job application, you generally have five or more job offers on the table, which means the chances of you securing an offer are higher.

Finding Graduate Programs

There are several Job platforms focused solely on Early in Career roles like;,, Prospects, and Milkround; but my favourites are Bright Network and Student Circus. Bright Network because there’s a lot of support within the platform and job ads are organized per industry and application deadlines. Also, Bright Network has a deadline tracker feature which helps you track the deadlines of the roles you are interested in, with automated email reminders helping you stay on top of applications.

Similarly, Student Circus because they only advertises international student-friendly roles. On student Circus, you are confident that the companies will either sponsor you or accept the graduate visa. Just be aware that, your university will have to be registered with Student Circus for you to gain full access to the website.

Applying strategically and Being Authentic

Being strategic when applying is key as we (international students) often have to cast our net wide. But do so with intention. Apply to roles aligned with your skills or aspirations while being proactive in verifying sponsorship opportunities. Don’t hesitate to reach out to recruitment teams; they are generally approachable and willing to provide insights. One tip from me is, to play with your strengths, for example, if you are not the best at Cover letters and they take you a lot of time to write, start your applications with companies who don’t need a cover letter. There are a lot of firms that do not ask for a cover letter and peers anecdotally told me they never sent one to their employer during the application process and still got offers.

Furthermore, authenticity is your superpower throughout the application process. Tailoring your cover letter and expressing your genuine self can make a significant difference. Different approaches work for different individuals, so be yourself and let your uniqueness shine through. Having said that, you are still applying to get into a firm, so do your due diligence to ensure your uniqueness fits with their values and the attributes they are looking for in the perfect candidate.

Have a Support Network

Finally, building a support network can be invaluable. Surround yourself with peers who understand your journey, share your victories, and empathize with setbacks. Apart from your peers and family, you equally have a range of support within your university like career or employability services team. Even the job website where you do your search wants you to succeed, so they usually have widely accessible tools and resources to help you navigate the job application process. In these moments, a strong support system can provide solace and motivation.

To conclude, it is important to recognize the intensity of a graduate role application. I personally experienced the lengthy stages of these application processes, how tedious each stage is, and how exhausting the uncertainties of the process can be. Then you have to brace up, especially when facing a significant number of rejections. Please remember, this cycle is often part of the journey. I personally counted a fair share of rejections and so did many Grads I have encountered. Allow yourself the grace to cry, vent, or whatever helps you healthily get the frustration out. But I also hope you can reflect on improvements, move on, and persevere. Every ‘Sorry.. unfortunately’ email brings you closer to the ‘yes’, and you only need one ‘Yes’.

I hope to have encouraged you to pursue graduate roles, and if you do; Find and embrace your uniqueness, strategize your applications, and build a supportive community around you. Ultimately, it is the people around you that give you the strength, help you see the small wins, and remain positive.

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