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A guide to job hunting in London

Kate Allen, Executive Chair and Marketing Director, Allen Associates

There’s no denying that London offers huge opportunities for jobseekers. Often described as the ‘financial capital of the world’, many of the world’s biggest businesses have their headquarters here – with over 300,000 people employed in banking, insurance and consultancy alone.

Responsible for 23 per cent of the overall UK economy, this city is an incredibly attractive destination for ambitious professionals aiming to work with top international brands.

Having said this, it’s also widely accepted that job hunting in the capital can be tough. If you’re applying to some of the top companies in your sector, you should expect competition to be fierce. In the UK we’re experiencing record levels of employment, but within London, people change jobs very quickly. Many people are willing to move if they can improve their prospects. In fact, last year the number of job applications in the city rose by 11.2 per cent.

Within London, companies have access to a wide, diverse pool of applicants. The UK has the third largest economy in Europe, making its capital an attractive destination for international Candidates. Although we’re waiting to see what impact Brexit may have on this, it’s still accurate to say that businesses will see a wider range of individual profiles – enabling them to choose between applicants who have a very different mix of skills and career experience.

As Managing Director of a London recruitment agency, I know that looking for a position in the city can be intense. While we work closely with applicants to support them in their job search, they have to be prepared to put the hours in. Candidates should expect several rounds of interviews, as well as assessments and requests to complete a test run on the job. Many people start their career by undertaking work experience or internships, which means that they can prove themselves on the job. While this can be tiring, it’s important to focus on the end goal, remaining positive and enthusiastic throughout.

Many people also find it challenging to cover the cost of searching for a new role. If you’re relocating to London, you’ll need to cover travel costs or even rent. Internationally, the fall in the value of the pound – due to Brexit – has made this cheaper. However, the capital is still expensive in comparison to the rest of the UK. Technology can offer a silver lining here. More and more companies are using video interviewing and online assessments to make the application process more flexible.

To find a job as soon as possible, Candidates need to be active in their job search. Networking is important in London. Not every business will advertise directly, so consider approaching places you’d like to work directly. Attending events and introducing yourself to hiring managers will help your name to stand out. So, spend time building up a list of contacts who can advise you of new openings or recommend you to other Employers.

If you’re not sure where to start, why not begin online? Upload your CV to job boards and use your social media profiles to help you stand out. Having a polished, professional appearance on LinkedIn will be key. Ask previous Employers to recommend you or approve skills to improve your credibility, as well as your chances of being contacted by recruiters on this platform.

Finally, bear in mind that London companies often prefer to use agencies. It’s down to us to save busy Managing Directors time by cultivating a pipeline of talented Candidates and recommending those who are the perfect fit for their brief. If you’re new to London, it’s worth contacting a recruiter. We work with many exciting, ambitious businesses to place the right applicants within the right roles, and better still, we can help find something that’s the perfect fit for you.

Over the last 20 years, we have grown as a business to become one of the leading independent Recruitment agencies in Oxfordshire, and in 2018 we opened our first London office, to service Clients and Candidates in the capital.

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