Finding a job in London can seem very daunting. There’s so much to think about when you first move to the capital city including getting set-up, finding a flat, setting up a mobile phone and of course finding a job. Searching for employment in London depending on your field and the type of work that you are looking for can feel difficult and even discerning at times. Trust me, I have felt like this at times in my job search. London is a huge mecca with a competitive job market and loads of opportunity. Getting international work experience in London can be very beneficial for your career and is also very exciting! Knowing where to start in your job hunt will help the process move along quicker and hopefully help you land your dream role!
Get Your National Insurance Number
When you first arrive in London make sure that you book your appointment to set-up you NIN which is your National Insurance Number. It is similar to the TFN number in Australia and your social insurance number in Canada. You can find more information here on the government site on how to get your NI number. Although you can start working before you receive you NI number Its better to have it when you start working as your can actually be taxed at a higher rate. Make sure when you go to your appointment you bring all necessary documents.
Supporting Yourself While You Find a Job In London
I always stress about this, but making sure that you have enough money to support yourself when you move to a new country is so key and London is no exception. It is a pricey city to be living in unemployed. It can take a while to find your ideal job in London depending on what you are looking for and making sure you have funds to get by while you start work is crucial. Having enough to cover your living costs for about 3 months will give you peace of mind while you lock down a role. Sometimes the process of interviewing for roles and getting an offer, starting your employment and getting that first pay cheque can be a while. Many companies in the UK pay monthly so it could be 6 weeks before you see your first pay coming into your bank account.
Take a look at what your living costs will look like for the first 3 months and save accordingly. A few key questions to ask yourself
- Will you have to pay rent in a flat share, Air B&B or hostel, or do you have a place to stay with friends and family at no charge?
- What will your travel costs be? You might need to purchase passes for the tube, Uber costs, taxis
- Will you be doing any travels in between the time you arrive and find your first job?
- Are you going to be able to cook or will you have to purchase takeaway often?
Note: A lot of hostels have breakfast included. Take advantage of that save money. The hostel I stayed in while getting set-up in London had breakfast and dinner included. I lived off of a lot of Sainsbury sandwiches for lunch in between.
Get set up with an recruitment agency in London
I didn’t realise that recruitment agencies seem to run the job market before arriving here. I personally found it to be really helpful with finding a job in London. Not only do the recruiters meet with you to go over your CV, but they give you suggestions on how to write it in a manner thats more suitable for roles you might be applying for. The recruiters I met with even helped with the interview process by providing tips, preparation guidelines and even insightful information about the people who would be interviewing me such as the type of personality they have and the type of questions they may ask.
I registered with quite few different agencies when I first started looking for a job in London.
Note that when a recruiter does call you about a role, it does not mean that you have it. It means that you might be a suitable fit and they will pass your CV on to the employer for consideration.
What kind of Work are you Seeking?
Depending on the type of role you are seeking there are specific recruitment agencies that specialise in different fields. For instance I work as an Event Planner and there are agencies such as Live-Recruitment.co.uk as an example that are focused on event professionals. Another example is Office Angels which has lots of office based roles such as admin and reception. So when you are looking for a job in London do a google search to find agencies in your field.
A few key job search websites
Tailor your CV for the Job you are Seeking
CV styles vary for different fields and in different countries. When you are trying to find a job in London, make sure to do some research and google templates of CV styles for the type of role you are seeking. I made quite a few changes to the CV I was using back in Canada to be more marketable to finding a job in London in event planning.
Follow-Up With Recruiters
Its always a good idea to stay on top of the roles that you have applied for on your hunt to find a job in London. If you haven’t heard back from a recruiter regarding a job you are interested in, follow-up with them by sending a friendly email or even better, pick up the phone and give them a ring. They are immediately reminded of you.
Dress the Part
When you are finding a job in London and interviewing for different roles, make sure you look the part. Dress professionally and look smart. If its an office job, wear business or business casual attire depending on the setting and if Its a role more focused in hospitality black pants and nice top can do the trick. Looking put together and presentable is key so you leave a good impression with your potential future employer.
Keep at it and stay positive!
If you are looking for a job in London and feel like it’s been an overwhelming experience or its feeling like a lost cause, stay positive and keep at it, you will eventually find a role that you are seeking! It took me about 5 weeks to find a job in my field. And remember you can always pick up a temp role in the meantime while you hunt if you are finding you need some extra cash. Even doing part-time in a restaurant or office temp work can help at least cover rent or some extra spending money so you don’t drain your savings while you job hunt.
Considering moving to London? You might find my post on applying for the Ancestry Visa helpful!