As a diverse, cosmopolitan city with lots of attractions, London can appear as an attractive place to work and live, for both nationals and internationals. But to find a job in London is not always easy and can be a challenging task at times.
Follow The Write CV Cover’s 8 key steps to find a job in London – this fascinating city that we all love.
1. Pick your sector
Think about the sector you want to work in and do some research to see how competitive the market is. Also, see how your knowledge and skills can give you the competitive edge.
If you are moving from abroad, it may be wise to choose humble roles until you get your foot in the door. London has a very vibrant hospitality industry and a lot of EU citizens tend to find work in this sector easily.
After you adjust to life in London, you can look for ways to transition into the profession you desire.
2. Create a CV and cover letter that secure interviews
It’s really important you take the time to create a CV and cover letter that showcase and highlight your expertise and skills. These two documents are all a recruiter will see of you first, so create a good impression.
Today, recruiters and a lot of companies use an applicant tracking system (ATS) test. What this means is that before a human reads your CV, the tracking system does. If you do not use the correct keywords or format your CV correctly, your CV will not be forwarded to the recruiter. It will be lost in what’s called a “black hole”.
For more information on the ATS and how to pass it, please read this post. If you feel you may not be able to get it perfect yourself, our expert CV writers can professionally craft your CV so it’s seen by hiring managers.
3. Connect with London-based recruitment agencies
It’s crucial to find recruitment agencies covering the sector you want to work in. Find ones based in London, or those who work with companies based in London. Send them your CV and cover letter, and in the message body of your email tell them why you want to work in London and the companies you would ideally like to work for.
You can also directly look for jobs on sites like Indeed, Reed and Totaljobs. Another site good for part-time and early-career roles is Gumtree. What’s good about Gumtree is that if you can find a job there, you can also easily find a room there. They advertise all sorts of things.
4. Use family and friends referral
If you have friends and/or family members living in London, see if they can connect you with a role. In the business world sometimes it’s not what you know, rather who you know, so don’t shy away from asking for help. A lot of people, especially international workers, often find their first job in London due to connections.
5. Use social media to connect with recruiters
If you don’t have friends and family who can connect with a hiring company, use social media networking sites like LinkedIn and Twitter, and connect directly with recruiters.
Perfect your networking skills by doing research on what’s acceptable on the various social media networks. On some networks it may not be considered polite to send messages about jobs, on others it may be perfectly normal.
After you have done your research, create a profile that attracts the attention of recruiters and hiring managers. Read our advice on how to create an attention grabbing LinkedIn profile here.
6. Work on your language skills
If you are applying from outside the UK, ensure your English is good enough to get you hired. When you watch British movies or programmes on TV, can you always understand what they are saying? If the answer is no, then you will probably not understand them when you face them in reality.
Work on, not just your vocabulary and grammar, but your accent too. There are many online courses you can take if there is no English teaching centre in your area.
If you are not a UK national, having a good grasp of the English language will help you to find a job in London.
7. Prepare for your job interview
If you succeed in getting a job interview, prepare for it. Reread the job description and requirements, and make sure you fully understand what the role entails. Prepare questions based on what you understood from the role’s expectations. Then do background research on the company to understand their philosophy and value.
The more you learn, the more you will impress during the interview.
Aside from learning and research, you also need to prepare in other ways. Make sure you know the exact location of the company, so you don’t spend time getting lost. Take copies of your CV, sometimes the interviewer forgets to print a copy for him/herself and if you have a copy handy that will impress them.
Dress in your best clothes, it can really make a difference. If you feel you look shabby next to your interviewer who looks well presented, it can have a negative psychological impact.
If you are invited to a video interview, make sure to set a “professional scene”. Ensure you are dressed in your best, just as you would dress for an office interview. Also, choose a professional, clean background with no clutter. And record yourself prior to the interview to ensure the sound and lighting are both perfect on your device. We suggest never to use your phone, unless you can fix it to a position, to avoid movements.
8. Don’t give up
The key to finding a job in London is never to give up. So even if you have completed 100 job applications and have had a couple of interviews, consider it as sign to keep going. London has 9 million inhabitants and some job postings can easily have over 1000 applicants, so you really are fighting for an interview. Keep applying until you secure a role.