Trying to find my first job: ask the expert

I came to the UK last year after graduation.  Now I’m a mother and a housewife. I decided to find a job because I feel that I’m wasting my diploma… I graduated in mathematics, but not from an English university… I think that it is a problem to find a job here. I tried to send some CVs out, but I got no answer. My child now is big enough that I can work.  Please tell me where to start. I would like to work full time in accounting, finance, statistics or something relevant. I want to work in a job where I could grow and build my experience. I want to show myself that these four years of studying wasn’t wasting my time. During my studies, I was working in statistics for a year. It is difficult to find a job which is the best for me as a mother and being from another country makes everything more difficult even if I have university diploma.

A good starting point for you would be to review your university course, listing everything you did which might be useful for an employer. When you’ve prepared your list of the mathematical/ statistical techniques you’re skilled in using, then think which types of employers might need that sort of mathematical analysis.

You did statistics, for example, and it’s quite likely that the type of statistical studies you completed would be useful in market research, quality assurance, research and development work, operations research, planning, logistics, actuarial work and so on.  Possible employers for you would include pharmaceutical companies, marketing consultancies, geophysics organisations, etc.

When you’re clear which of the employers might want you, search (eg by Google) to find out how many of these are within commuting distance of you, then regularly monitor their web sites for vacancies.  If you’re feeling brave enough, contact the departmental managers (eg the operations research manager) and find out whether these companies are likely to have any need for someone with your skills at some time over the next 2 years.

Don’t ask “are you recruiting now?” because that puts the departmental manager under too much pressure (and the answer’s likely to be “no”).

Some of these potential employers recruit mainly people with Masters degrees rather than first degrees so you might need to find “niche” spots (eg suggest to these employers you could take on an Assistant role, handling all the work at first degree level and thereby freeing the staff with Masters to focus on the work only they can do).

Finding a “niche” job as a mathematics graduate won’t be quite as hard as it is for other specialists but you will still need to think creatively and spot opportunities the employers may not.

The most promising opportunities for you are likely to be with the relatively small and medium size organisations.

It’s likely your job search is more difficult because English is not your first language and your CV may not be written according to UK norms. It would be helpful to work on your CV with British friends / family members who are themselves professional people and aware of what British employers want to see in candidates’ CVs.  You should also review the job advertisements and Person Specifications for the types of jobs that interest you, to analyse the skills and knowledge these employers require.  Good luck!

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