Your ability to find a job in London will be one of the biggest ‘make or break’ moments for your move to the Big Smoke. Depending on where you’re moving from, the London job market may be exactly what you’re used to, or a completely different kettle of fish.
Let’s start by stating the obvious – the London job market is HUGE. Even in spite of Brexit and the effect it’s having on international companies based in the UK, London remains at the centre of many major industries. Finance, law, advertising, media, fashion, arts, theatre… the list goes on.
Not only are the industries huge, the opportunity to work on a much larger scale than what you may be used to is really exciting. Not to mention having London work experience on your CV which can definitely benefit your career.
Read on to discover how the job market works in London, where you need to look, and what you need to know to find a job in London.
What you need to know to find a job in London
Recruiters in London
There are over 4.6 million people working in London, so it makes sense that companies save time by outsourcing their job hunting to recruitment agencies. So much so, that you’re almost unlikely to find a job without one.
Believe it or not, this actually works in your favour. A recruiter gets paid commission if they help you find a job in London and it’s the company who foots the bill, not you. So it’s in a recruiter’s best interest to make sure you land a job that’s right for you and your skillset.
The easiest way to find a recruiter is to do some online research for jobs in your field. Take a look at our jobs board and if you see an ad that you’re interested in that’s been posted by a recruiter – get in touch with them directly. Send an email out with your CV and if you get a response then push to meet them right away! It’s very competitive out there, so the more effort you put in, the better.
Job Search Engines
We recently launched the London Jobs Board right here to help all our London New Girl readers find a job in London. We teamed up with one of the biggest job aggregator websites in the UK to bring you over 700,000 live UK vacancies. So it’s really never been easier to start your job search – take a look now. If you’re actively searching, be sure to also sign up for daily, weekly or monthly job updates to be the first to see new job ads in your inbox.
Think outside the Box to find a job in London
With such a huge job market comes the biggest dilemma – how do you stand out when so many people are applying for the same position? There are a few things you can do to stand out, and it will require a bit of effort, but that’s what will make you different to all the other applicants!
- Nail your CV and make sure it stands out. Ditch the standard Word template for something with a little more ‘pop’. If you need some help, consider having it designed professionally – there are hundreds of templates to choose from on a website like Canva;
- Attend some networking events to build your UK contacts. The Guardian run some great Masterclasses, or a Start-up Job Fair is a fantastic way to put your CV in front of up-and-coming start-ups;
- Create a professional social media profile and follow all the businesses that you want to work for. Often a company’s social media profile is the first place that new roles are advertised;
- Consider an online portfolio. This can be a great way to show off some of the work you’ve done before, bring it to life and back it up with some great stats;
- Be proactive and send your CV to companies that you want to work for, even if they’re not looking. For all you know, they have a job vacancy coming up, or will keep your CV on file for when the next opportunity becomes available
If you want to find a job in London, you need to be ready to nail your next job interview. And the best way to prepare is to practice, practice, then practice some more. You can never predict what questions you’re going to get asked but you can prepare for the more predictable ones. If you form a general idea of what direction you want to take your answers in, it will help guide you on the day.
Remember to dress for your position/job role and if possible – prep with your recruiter. You should also consider doing a trial commute to the interview location. That way you’ll learn the route beforehand and make sure you’re not late/don’t get lost.
Some other tips to help you with your job interview:
- Ask your recruiter to send you an interview pack with some sample questions. If you don’t have a recruiter, check out Google to find something similar for your area of work;
- Believe it or not, talking out loud makes a huge difference versus rehearsing it in your head. So make sure you practice answering questions aloud. Or even better – ask a friend to interview you;
- Be prepared to answer some questions about yourself throughout the interview. This is your chance to stand out and their chance to see if you’re a good cultural fit. What are your hobbies? Why did you move to London? What are you most passionate about? Know what you want to say before you go in;
- The interviewer will inevitably ask if you have any questions at the end, so make sure you pre-prepare a few things to ask. This will not only show your enthusiasm for the role, but that you’re proactive and engaged in the interview process;
Organise your Life Admin
Make sure that firstly, you’re eligible to work in the UK. Secondly, it’s important that you start the process of applying for your National Insurance number from the moment you arrive. You’ll need this number to give to your employer and to ensure you don’t get taxed too much. Finally, you’ll need to supply your employer with a UK bank account so you can actually get paid. If you’re struggling to set up a UK bank account, try an online bank like Transferwise or Monzo.
Freelancing in London
If you want to freelance in London, you’ll need to build a strong relationship with a couple of recruiters. Do some research into your industry and narrow down the recruitment agencies based on what type of clients you want to work for. Then it’s up to you to keep in regular contact with those recruiters, even if it’s just a quick hello or wishing them a nice weekend. You want to make sure you’re always front-of-mind for whenever that next perfect freelance role comes up.
As a freelancer there are a whole host of other things you’ll need to think about. It deserves a blog post of its own, really. But as a quick summary, you’ll have to consider the following:
- Decide whether you want to work as a sole trader, limited company or as an ’employee’ under an umbrella company;
- Sign-up to freelance-specific platforms like YunoJuno;
- Find the best accounting solution for your needs. We personally use Crunch which we love and definitely recommend, but there are a whole lot of other options out there to research too;