Tips on Finding a Job in London

 

There’s no questioning the fact that London is facing a challenging job market.  Professionals from across the world come here and compete for positions so fiercely that recruiters and HR managers are often swimming in a sea of applications and CVs. Only the very best applications make it through the initial review process, so it’s best to know how to make sure that you get into this exclusive club.

Beyond applying for positions that you truly qualify for, make sure to have the following on your CV:

– Full contact information (Name, Phone Number, Email Address)

– If you’re foreign, be sure to indicate somewhere on your CV that either you are legally able to work in the UK or are seeking Tier 2 sponsorship. If you fall in the latter category, it’s probably not worth applying to jobs where the employee explicitly requires you to have the legal right to work in the UK.

– When listing your work experience, include your job title and the industry you worked in (especially for banking positions)

– Include university degree history, along with any relevant training, qualifications or certifications

– If you speak more than one language, add it to your CV even if it may not seem relevant to the job.  Being multilingual in London is always a plus.

Here’s what NOT to put on your CV:

– A long introduction: Recruiters either don’t have time or are too lazy to read through long paragraphs. A short introduction is fine, but anything over a few sentences will likely get your CV chucked in the rubbish bin.

– Your picture. In some countries, CVs always come with pictures attached. This isn’t the custom here and is quite unusual.

Once you’ve applied to a position and sent over your CV, give the company or recruiter a week or two to get back to you.  It is OK to follow up with them if you haven’t heard anything in a few weeks. Even if the position has already been filled, giving the recruiter or HR person a call will give you the upper hand on future job listings.

If you’ve made it past the initial round of CV reviews, you’ll either be called in for an in-person interview or a phone interview.  In my experience, phone interviews in London have all been a bit strange.  Here is my best advice:

– Spend a few hours researching the company you’re interviewing with.  Get to know them inside and out.  What to they offer/sell? How is the corporation structured? Where do you think they could improve? Quote this knowledge during your phone interview to let your interviewer(s) know that you’ve done your homework.

– Review your own background to ensure that you can answer questions related to your job history.  Think about any major projects you’ve had a hand in.  Think of a challenging work situation you had in the past and how you handled it.

If you make it past the phone interview, you’re almost there! There will likely be 1 (or 2) in-person interviews with various people before you’re offered the position.  When interviewing in person, keep the following tips in mind:

– Dress the part.  It is far more acceptable to overdress, than underdress.  For women, I suggest a knee-length dark skirt or trousers paired with a nice blouse.  Add a blazer or jacket depending on the weather.  For men, I suggest investing in a suit that was sold in London (especially if you’re applying for a job in The City of London). Suits are cut differently in America and abroad, so to fit in it’s probably best to wear what other businessmen in London are wearing.  If you’re short on cash, purchase a reasonably priced suite at Marks and Spencer.

– Avoid overpowering handshakes.  This is an American thing, and not something that is received very well in London.

– Chit-chat on British terms.  If the opportunity for small talk arises, keep it to lighter topics like the weather.  It may sound cliche, but the British will talk to you about the weather all day.

London Job Listing Sites:

Indeed

Reed

Jobsite

London Jobs

Just London Jobs

City Jobs

23 Responses

  1. Derek 11 August, 2013 / 9:38 pm

    Hi,

    I am an American and would love to move to and work in London, but I am finding it difficult to figure out how to get a job being hired directly by a UK company that would sponsor me since that seems to be the only possible way. No UK ties and I have been self-employed since graduating college 4 years ago.

    You say that when you apply for a job you should indicate that it is legal for you to work in London, but that would require already having sponsorship. So how do you show it is legal if you would have to get the sponsorship first?

    Any help you can provide would be highly appreciated.

    Thanks!

    • Cheylene 12 August, 2013 / 7:53 am

      Hi Derek,

      Thanks for catching that. I’ll amend the post for those seeking Tier 2 sponsorship. If you apply for a position with a company that is able to sponsor employees, then note on your CV that you are seeking sponsorship. Companies go through quite a long process to gain the option of offering Tier 2s, so they’ll know how to interpret your CV.

      – Cheylene

      • Derek 12 August, 2013 / 6:40 pm

        Hi Cheylene,

        Thanks so much for clarifying that, it really helps.

        One more question. Would you suggest contacting these companies to see if they are even considering hiring an American who needs Tier 2 sponsorship for any of the positions that they are hiring for? Or should I just apply for any job opening and see if they respond to my application?

        I know how difficult it is to get a job in London as it is and I know it will be even more difficult because I only have American citizenship and no UK ties, but I am willing to try anything and do whatever it takes to get sponsorship.

        Thanks again for your help!

        Derek

        • lissy 5 September, 2013 / 11:01 pm

          I can relate to you dereck. Any luck finding sponsorship as yet.

  2. Hena 24 August, 2013 / 12:34 am

    Hi there,

    I would be very thankful if you provide me a guidance about the Tier 2 ,General visa.
    Are you able to find the sponsorship company for us?
    If yes…How much money do you charge?
    please mail me back with the above questions.

    Thanks a lot

  3. Condy 9 September, 2013 / 3:11 pm

    Hi i am a tier 4 student ,recently completed an MBA in financial management and precently completely my last ACCA courses. i am dying to change my visa to a tier 2 . Please any advice or links of find such jobs? (ie putting aside browsing the tier 2 sponsor list) please i need your help and or advice. Thanks

  4. Samuel 24 September, 2013 / 7:48 pm

    hi Cheylene,

    are you able to give me any advise on seeking a sponsorship job in UK? I am a Singapore citizen, currently on a visitor visa in UK; and have been here for nearly 5 months. I wanted to join the British Army as I always had a passion for it, but having done my application to join the Army, I received a e-mail from them saying all commonwealth citizens wanting to join the army will now have to have either a Indefinite Leave to Remain or at least 5 years residence in UK. Thus right now I am trying to find any sponsorship job to work here and thereafter join the army once I’ve acquired the criteria. Right now I’ve got only a month plus left to remain and I’m desperately seeking everywhere for companies willing to sponsor me to work here in UK. Also, I have relatives living here and I really wanna lived with them as this is in fact my first time meeting them in life. If anyone is able to help me in anyways, I greatly appreciate it! Thankyou!

  5. Theresa 6 February, 2014 / 4:05 pm

    Hi Cheylene,
    I just found your blog…and THANK YOU for the information and explaining the visa process in plain and understandable terms. I currently reside in the US (my boyfriend/partner) is here/in London (where I am for one of my month long visits)…and I really want to find work here on my own (i.e. through work sponsorship). I have looked at the same list you posted in another article about Companies that are registered as Tier 2 sponsors, however it is very cumbersome to search/cross reference. I have also been on most of the job sites you listed and have notice that most companies utilize outside recruiting firms to hire for positions. Do you know of any recruiters/recruiting companies that specialize in sponsorship or companies that offer Tier 2 visas?
    Thank you again for the great information and I am excited to read your other posts!
    Best,
    Theresa

  6. Teresa Oliver 28 February, 2014 / 6:12 pm

    I just read a few articles from workpermit.com and as of February 2014 it states that employers prefer immigrant workers and will continue to hire them for a laundry list of reasons. I am trying to figure out how this works with the new changes to the immigration/visa policy. Will this make me more marketable to employers? Can I get sponsored sooner (like before they change the policy again)? Where is the platform to get there?

  7. Teresa Oliver 1 March, 2014 / 4:20 am

    Another question: Can I come to London as a visitor and search for a job? Not work or do anything illegal, but just get an actual feel for the market and be available in person for networking and interviews. If so, do I have to leave the country to apply for my work permit? If so, can I just go to France or Germany, or someplace like that? Please do not tell me it is illegal to work without a work permit, I have no intentions of doing that, I am just trying to figure the best route to get in. Thank you so much! Your blog has been the most helpful in this entire process.

    • Cheylene T. 1 March, 2014 / 8:44 am

      Hi Teresa, it is technically illegal to travel to England (and I believe the rest of the EU) for the sole purposes of looking for work if you do not have the legal right to work there. However, people do it all the time.

    • Lama 25 August, 2014 / 6:04 pm

      Hi Teresa,
      I am thinking the same way you did and I wonder if managed to know whether it is legal to come to the UK and just make some interviews. The article here stated that (hone interviews in London have all been a bit strange) so I think there is a tendency towards in person interviews.
      Thank you for sharing your experience.
      Regards

  8. Bela Daniel K. 1 March, 2014 / 10:35 am

    Hi,
    I am an Indian citizen, I have completed my double post graduation from Computer & Management. I am looking for a sponsor, who can provide me a sponsorship visa. Can I get a sponsor from UK? Please guide me, as I am Christian (Member of CNI Church). If its a Religious worker post, it would be really great to apply. Kindly provide me help, so that I utilize my knowledge and also utilize myself in doing religious work.
    Please reply soon, I would appreciate for the same.

  9. Vamsi 8 April, 2014 / 6:55 am

    very valuable informarion. I found tons of job oppurtunites….

  10. Katie Osman 23 April, 2014 / 5:15 am

    Hello!
    My name is Katie an I am an American hoping to move to London. I have started to do my research into accomplishing this! However despite my research I am unsure on how to obtain a general visa. Basically I want to move to London and work, I don’t want to go to school or anything and a general job is fine with me. From what I understand and have been reading I was wondering how you get sponsorship if you don’t already have a job there. Do I apply to jobs with no work visa? Or do I need to speak to employers first? If you can give me some help and a little feedback I would really appreciate it. This has been my dream for a long time and want to do everything I can to make this actually happen! Thanks again for your time I appreciate any advice you have for me!

  11. Ritu 2 October, 2014 / 4:42 pm

    Hi,

    I am from India with 9+ experience in IT Management.Trying to find a job in UK with T2Sponsorship visa but unfortuantely my Resume gets chucked off without any reason being shared by UK based companies. Would you be able toi assist me as how to work on my Resume and which organisations should I apply for?

  12. Aleks 7 November, 2014 / 4:35 pm

    Hello– I am an American that has been going through the cumbersome process of looking for work in London. What I suggest is to NOT mention that you require a visa initially (on all application forms and in your cover letters). In my experience, omitting this information has been much more fruitful because companies will actually see you for interviews, and then you can make the case yourself. Be prepared for some backlash, but this is all not for the faint of heart :)
    Also- is the rumor that the UK is bringing back the Tier 1 Visa true?

    • Cheylene T. 8 November, 2014 / 4:02 pm

      Omitting details about your immigration requirements will certainly get you more interviews, but I personally don’t recommend it because it is an easy way to burn bridges.

      While I have every confidence that the Tier 1 (or something similar) will be reinstated eventually, I don’t see that happening for at least a few years due to the current political climate in the UK.

  13. Jan 20 May, 2015 / 1:52 pm

    I would also recommend going through less-used channels such as trying to contact the relevant person directly via Twitter or LinkedIn. I have had a better luck in that way. However, it’s certain that many companies don’t want to bother with sponsorships, so I found useful to thoroughly research the procedures and tell the company what exactly they need to do and how I can help them with the red tape.

    Using google to try to find less advertised jobs has also been quite helpful. I friend set up a website for less board-like jobs (https://yourjobs1.com, sorry for the promotion!), also try to network very hard, that means no only meeting people but following them on LinkedIn, Twitter, sending e-mails from time to time, and in general being useful.

  14. Vince 9 June, 2015 / 9:10 am

    Hey there Cheylene,
    What do you think of any possibility of travelling to the UK with a US passport, and then looking for work there, and work on the papers from within the UK? Is that legally possible?

    • Cheylene T. 11 June, 2015 / 8:58 am

      Hi Vince,
      A lot of people attempt this route, but few (if any) are successful. I’m not a legal expert, but I know that this is illegal to do in Europe and it’s generally frowned down upon in the UK.

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