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: