Despite the Brexit and its consequences, it will take a long time for London to lose its multicultural crowd and that’s why I personally recommend you to jump at the opportunity to live in the big smoke now, before it’s too late! But how are you going to find a job in London as a foreigner? London has always been a magnet for Europeans and people from all over the world looking for an exciting internship or a permanent job while living in the world’s best melting pot. This huge amount of international people has also made London extremely competitive from a professional point of view, where highly skilled and prepared grads fight hard to get that job. But that shouldn’t stop you to go after what you want.
Find a Job in London as a Foreigner
But, don’t fret – here are some tips on how you can find a job in London as a foreigner, from a foreigner.
1. Ask around!
If you work for a multinational company that has an office there in London, ask HR for more info. The same goes if your university has ties with some firms in the city (they always do). Send emails. Call. Show them you’re interested. If you don’t ask, you won’t get. What’s the worst thing that can happen? See also: 7 Brutally Honest Truths About Your Internship Abroad!
2. Look into the right places
Depending on the type of job you are looking for, there are plenty of ways to get them. I’m always shocked to hear how many people relies completely on job agencies to find them a job, without putting much effort on their job search.
London job search websites:
Gumtree: here you can find a random cocktail of things, from bikes to dogs, from mattresses to jobs, yeah. Everything is divided in categories and being one of the most popular ones is also often used by agencies and companies offering interesting (and less so) opportunities. Give it a go. Caterer and BarZone are focused on hospitality jobs, from hotels to restaurants and bars. The first is the main reference point for people looking for these type of jobs, while the second has less adverts but quite specific. Indeed gathers job adverts from all other platforms so you can easily find work in a specific location (i.e. London) in one place. IT Job Board. The name says it all. Here’s the techies and geeks’ Eden Garden where you can find all sorts of jobs. Most of the ads are very specific which makes easier for someone with clear ideas to find great opportunities. The Guardian Jobs yup! the leading UK newspaper has a nice section of job adverts: you can research by area, salary, type of contract as well as the type of job. And finally, for the artsy types, Arts Jobs is the place to be. Here, there are all kind of job adverts from photography to theatre as well as event planning and movies.
3. Be humble
I used to recruit top talents for a leading global retailer and there was nothing I appreciated more than humbleness. Don’t ever make the mistake of confusing humbleness with a lack of self-confidence. The former is essential if you want to succeed in London (or anywhere else, really), but arrogance won’t take you far. So, in interviews but also on your CV, make sure to be humble.
4. Be different
With thousands and thousands of freshly graduates popping out of university every year, it will be very hard to stand out from the crowd. What you can do is to be different. How? Does this sound like you? I’m not suggesting you all to do something that extreme, but use your creativity to make sure that your CV and presentation letter will stay in the recruiter’s hands for more than the usual 7 seconds. If you come from abroad, you should play up your cultural differences (i.e. languages you speak, broader cultural knowledge…) rather than hiding them.
5. Work hard
I remember when I moved to London 9 years ago for a 3 months intership in one of the leading management consulting firm, my boss called me to her office for my appraisal and to talk about the future. She was a direct woman, very outspoken and not afraid to hurt people. She told me straight what she had in mind. She told me something like: “Your English is still quite bad, your clothes are from H&M and not from Prada, you don’t stand out for extreme speed, but you work harder than anyone and make up for your gaps by putting an incredible amount of work and passion in what you do.” At the end of our meeting, when I was almost in tears and sure that that would be the end of my internship and UK experience, she offered me a permanent job in London. So, listen to auntie Sabri and work hard. Harder than anyone. And beat the competition. It’s the best advice I can give you.
Becoming a Christmas temp in a retail store is one of the best steps you can take to finally find that job in London, We’ve all been there, but you always have to start from the bottom to get where you want to be. Stores are usually looking for temps from August onwards. So apply the tips above and go for it!