Hamna Waseem Cheema: Assistant Tax Advisor at EY
Featured Success Stories
April 15, 2021
In 2019, Hamna worked with Deloitte as a Tax Intern during the summer. She had landed the internship by applying through Student Circus. When we asked her what her plans were, she mentioned, “I intend to work in the UK after my studies. I have started applying already. So, I am already done with two of my applications as well and am now waiting for the answer. So I am taking a proactive approach here.”
Being proactive paid off for her. Soon after, she managed to secure a job as an Assistant Tax Advisor at EY. She sat with us to share her journey of applying and then successfully landing a job.
Taking a proactive approach is the way for international students
When I started my final year I knew that I had to start applying for jobs really early. The sooner we apply, the better chances we have for actually getting a job. My final year began in October and I started applying at around the same time. By November, I had already been called for an assessment centre at EY. It went well, and then I received a callback for an interview too.
Timelines and processes to keep in mind
I applied in October when I gave the online tests (one numerical test, one situational judgement test), this was followed by a video interview online. Then I got called for the Assessment Centre in November, and towards the end of December, I received the final call with the job offer. I was then told to wait for further instructions from them. I did not hear from them for quite some time and just continued with my final year at university. There was a brief period where I felt that the pandemic might change things because it was all so uncertain. But the VISA sponsorship was actually started earlier than usual. They asked me to furnish documents and information for that in April itself. I completed my final year in June. I graduated in July.
Throughout the sponsorship process, they were instructing me what to do and once we had that, they gave me pre-joining instructions for preparation.
Having gone through the process once before makes you resilient to rejections and setbacks
Because I had been through all this process before for my internship, I was more confident even when I faced rejection. I had a very positive approach to this whole exercise. Prior experience also helped me answer questions from an informed position, my internship and this job are both related to tax, so the knowledge I had gained from my internship was extremely useful in the process. My example also shows that people from arts or social sciences background shouldn’t be deterred from applying to graduate roles just because they don't have a business or accounting background. If they try, they can.
Advice for international students applying for jobs in the UK
One, a website like Student Circus really helps international students because you don’t have to filter every job and see which company sponsors visas and which doesn’t. It makes it easier and less time-consuming to apply. I don’t know any other website like Student Circus that lists such companies.
I would also suggest candidates thoroughly read through the company’s website. So if they’re applying for a specific company they need to learn about its values, what the company does, and a big picture of the company so that they have talking points in an interview.
Then, everyone should have a LinkedIn account. I don’t think people land jobs there directly, but you can connect with people, before and after you get a job.
Finally, my suggestion would be to start applying early. There may be rejections along the way, but knowing that you have many more chances will keep you motivated. In a nutshell, just keep going forward, make use of the resources you have, research as much as you can — all your efforts are an investment into your future.