Careers ServiceUseful information for international students


Local employers

Recruitment practices vary between different countries. Before you start looking for a job in the UK it is important to have some understanding of how recruitment works here. The information and links in the section below should help you to do this.

Employers will use a variety of methods to advertise vacancies, including recruitment websites, the GOV.UK Find a Job website, adverts in windows, adverts in newspapers.

A good vacancy advert should provide certain details about the vacancy - for example, hours to be worked, location of work, pay rates, job description, skills required, and whether it is a temporary or permanent position. However, you should note that not all employers will provide this much information in a vacancy advert.

It's very important that you follow application instructions carefully. If the employer likes your application, they may offer you an interview, which is your chance to meet the employer and let them know about your skills and suitability for the job.


There are job-related scams, often related to part-time work opportunities. You should be aware of how to spot these scams, check our advice on staying safe and spotting scams

You'll never be expected to give money up front to an employer or a recruitment agency when applying for a job in the UK.

The University Careers Service can give you advice, guidance and support on looking for a job and the recruitment process, including making applications.

As a student, you have to apply for jobs directly to the employer. Any contract of employment is between the employer and the individual student.

Neither the University nor the Careers Service gets involved in matching or placing students with employers.

Employers may advertise opportunities or expect candidates to make speculative applications, depending on the industry. Advertised opportunities should state how they wish you to apply.

Most often, the first stage of application is for you to send a CV and Cover Letter, or an Application Form. If you're successful, you'll be invited to the next stage. For most employers, this is some form of an interview, although some will ask candidates to complete tests or attend an assessment centre.

If you're unsuccessful at any stage, many employers will not contact you to let you know. If you've not heard from them, you can contact them to ask. If you'd like feedback on your application, then it's okay to contact the employer to ask for this. However, not all employers will provide it.

The recruitment process is down to each individual employer. If the employer needs staff immediately then the recruitment process could happen very quickly.

For other organisations, the recruitment process may take longer, perhaps several weeks or even months.

Interviews in the UK can vary in format and level of formality. Essentially they are a purposeful discussion between you and your potential employer. The aim of the discussion is for the employer to determine if you have the skills, experience and attitude that they're looking for. It's also an opportunity for you to decide if you want the position.

For more information about what to expect in an interview and the types of questions you might be asked, look at our interviews section.

If you're being interviewed for a part-time job and the hourly pay rate and/or the hours of work have not been mentioned in a job advert, it's acceptable to ask what the pay rate is, how many hours per week you'll be required to work and when you'll be paid. It's essential that you do not work more hours than you're legally permitted to while studying in the UK. For minimum legal pay rates in the UK visit GOV.UK National Minimum Wage and Living Wage.

Your first job

When you've been offered a job by an employer and accepted it, you're permitted to start work straight away, even if you don't have your National Insurance Number

If you haven’t applied for your NI number, you must do so immediately.

Your employer will ask you for certain information, for example:

  • your full contact details (if they doesn’t have them already)
  • your bank details - your account number and sort code if they're going to pay you directly into your bank account
  • your National Insurance Number
  • proof that you can legally work in the UK

Employers have responsibilities to ensure that all of their employees (temporary/permanent and/or part-time/full-time) are legally permitted to work in the UK.

Your employer will also ask to see ID (eg your passport, your Biometric Residence Permit, your student ID card) in order to ensure that you are who you say you are. 

Your employer is required to keep records of all employees so will wish to take a photocopy of your passport/ID card for his/her records.  

See UKCISA advice on employers checking permission to work.

Once you start work you should receive a regular pay/wage slip which will have your name and National Insurance number on it and will give details of the hours you have worked, your payments and any deductions for tax and national insurance.

International students face the same criteria as UK students when applying for jobs or courses. As an international student, it's important to be aware of what sets you apart from other applicants when making applications.

Make sure that you promote any extra selling points you have, for example:

  • being multilingual
  • commercial insight into your home country or regional markets
  • global perspective
  • previous work experience in your home country

For help with all stages of applying for jobs see the Careers Service advice on Making Applications.

The Careers Service can check the layout and content of your CV or covering letter. We cannot check for spelling or grammar mistakes, so make sure you check these details or ask someone else to.

National Insurance

National Insurance is the name of the British Social Security tax. National Insurance payments are deducted from your pay by your employer (this is known as PAYE or Pay As You Earn).

Key facts you should know:

  • every worker (temporary or permanent) in the UK must have a National Insurance Number
  • students are not exempt from paying tax and national insurance contributions (the amount you pay depends on how much you earn)

Find out from the GOV UK website: Applying for a National Insurance Number.

If you have a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP), you might have a National Insurance Number already - it will be printed on the back of your BRP if you do.

You can apply for your National Insurance number straight away. The process may take several weeks.

You don't need to have your National Insurance number to start applying for jobs.

Finding a part-time job

It is essential that you know if you are legally permitted to work in the UK during your time at Strathclyde.

There are restrictions on the number of hours you can legally work during term-time.  See the UKCISA website: How Many Hours Can You Work?

The Careers Service recommends that students should work no more than 20 hours per week during semester. This is to ensure that you balance work and study and don't allow a part-time job to interfere with your academic commitments.

You can start looking for a part-time job in Glasgow as soon as you know that you will be a student here at Strathclyde. However, in the UK employers will want to interview you face-to-face before offering you a job, so it is very unlikely that you can arrange a part-time job before you arrive in Glasgow.

Start with StrathUnion JobShop where local part-time and casual jobs are advertised.

Since Glasgow is a commercial hub and a tourist centre, most of the part-time jobs we advertise are in the hospitality/catering and call centre sectors.

With few exceptions, it is very unlikely that you will find a part-time job related to your course of study.

There are some restrictions on the type of work you can do while studying in the UK.  See the UKCISA website: What Kind of Work Can You Do?

There are restrictions on the number of hours you can work during term-time.  See the UKCISA website: How Many Hours Can You Work?

Jobcentre Plus

Jobcentre Plus is a service run by the UK Government in order to help people find paid employment and to help employers fill their vacancies.  Both full-time and part-time and permanent and temporary vacancies can be advertised by employers.   

You can create an account and search vacancies online through the GOV.UK website find a job.

Casual job advertisements

Many businesses looking for part-time employees put adverts in their windows and supermarkets advertise on their notice-boards.  As you walk around town, make an effort to look in the windows you are passing.  You can apply for these jobs if they appeal to you. 

Remember, international students cannot work more than 20 hours per week during semester.

There are not very many part-time jobs on campus. 

It is your responsibility to find and apply for any suitable vacancies:

  • University departments may choose to advertise their part-time vacancies centrally via the University's Department of Human Resources and the vacancies section of the University website
  • ask in your own academic department if there are any part-time or temporary work opportunities
  • some opportunities may also be advertised by StrathUnion JobShop

Some students use recruitment websites to search for part-time or temporary work, for example:  

These sites should not be used if you're looking for a graduate job. If you'e looking for a graduate job use our Looking for a Job pages.