Living in a regional area of Australia has always been my preferred living situation, but I will admit that there are limitations to my career development. One of the most appealing reasons I chose to move to London was the plethora of job opportunities on offer. The career fish tank was overflowing with positions, so I had to master the art of fishing and use the right line to find want I was looking for.
Where to start looking?
I was specifically looking for communication or charity work, so some of these links may not be relevant to your field of work.
When to start looking?
Rookie error on my part, I was over excited and started applying way too early. I was searching and sending my resume through six to eight weeks before I left Australia. I think the paranoia of moving to an expensive country without a job freaked me out. However, the whole exercise did help me formulate a great list of sites and avenues to find and apply for positions.
In hindsight, I would have started the job search three weeks before I left.
I think I would have applied for over ninety jobs with little to no response. Those who did call were recruiters. They’d contact me and arrange an induction and interview to their company before they could even help find me a job. I ended up being signed up to four recruitment companies – 3 bad and only 1 good. The bad ones didn’t have my best interests at heart and weren’t helpful; you can read about the experience here. The only helpful message I took away from our meetings, that eventually was invaluable to my successful employment, was to tailor every resume and cover letter to the position. In the end, I had four resumes and it was through the hard work of one dedicated recruiter that I found a job.
Finding the right job
So with all this said, here are my top tips for securing a job in London
- Set your limits: In a similar piece of advice I give when trying to find accommodation in London, I recommend narrowing down what you want out of a job. Here were some of mine.
- Based in zone 1 or 2 in the London Underground train system
- Communications, public relations, mining or fundraising
- A similar position or a step up from what I was previously doing
- Over £30,000 with reasonable hours and flexibility (including be able to take time off over Christmas)
- Be prepared – yep, the first line of every job interview tips and fact sheet. Be early, dress appropriately, research the company, prepare yourself for the endless questions about how great you are etc. etc etc. You know it, so just do it, as it will pay off.
- Be honest – If you’d been lucky enough to be offered a few jobs at once, heading to multiple job interviews in a day or signed up with two other recruitment companies, just be honest if they ask. It’s easier to tell the truth, than have to remember a lie.
- Be confident – It’s another one of those cliché tips, but at such a vulnerable time of trying to prove your worth, I like to go back to this topic. My aunty was part of the senior management team, largely made up of men for a well-known airline. She often sat in on interviews and found that asking someone why they’d be the right person for the position sealed the deal. Some (often women) would say they weren’t experts, but were quick learners and could do it, whereas others (often men) would just say yes they were the best person out of all the candidates for the job despite their resume proving otherwise. It was the person who had the most confident affirmative answer that would be hired, even if they lacked the experience. Believe in yourself.
- Don’t get disheartened –Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was turned down a dozen times by publishers, but JK Rowling’s persistence led to a story that not even magic could make. Don’t take rejection to heart; don’t let this whole process make you think that you aren’t worth it, keep searching for the right match between your skills and the needs of an employer.
- Think about career progression – Do you want to challenge yourself and find a job that will increase or enhance your skills and abilities, or are you happy doing what you already know? After I finished university I was happy working in jobs that I knew I could do, but when came to London my mindset shifted. The idea of a challenging, more advanced position frightened me and I wasn’t even sure if I could secure one of these jobs, but I knew it was the only way to learn and grow. Whichever path you choose to go down, put some thought into the which wildness walk you’d like to take.
My job hunt was mentally draining and certainly tested my confidence but it did open my eyes to the variety of tasks people are willing to pay good money for and helped me articulate what the bloody hell I’d been doing for the last six years.
The concoction of advice I had picked up from articles, fact sheets, friends, family and my own inner self finally paid off after three weeks.
It was worth the work.
It was worth the tension and anxiety.
I was worth it.