Hi there, Weekend Warriors – hope all is going well with your London move research and preparation so far. I feel like kind of a jerk today because I want to address the hard truth of turning the dream of moving to London into a reality.
This week we’ve been hosting a friend who presently lives in New York and is in London networking for a job that will hopefully bring him over here. I think this guy has excellent chances of making his way here for two very important reasons: 1) though American, he has a UK passport from when his family used to live here years ago, and 2) he is here on UK soil doing the legwork all week to meet with recruiters and employers.
Why the first reason is so critical is obvious: having a UK passport removes the tremendous hurdle that is acquiring a UK visa these days. My heart wants to break for those who had been counting on a Tier 1 visa (previously known as the “highly skilled migrant” visa) to allow them to move to the UK without a job lined up in advance, as this is no longer a viable option as of this year. As a professional, then, your best bet is acquiring the Tier 2 visa through company sponsorship—whether it’s a transfer through your current employer or a new job outright that can prove to the UK government you’re an asset worth sponsoring (if you can prove to the company itself first that you’re an asset worth sponsoring, that is). It’s challenging for a company to prove that it could not obtain the same talent within the UK and entire EU, for that matter, and you need to understand that the government is making rules more rigid for employers in this respect.
Which brings me to why reason #2 above is so important. If you want to live here, you have to be willing to work hard to make that happen. Unless you do have a special circumstance entitling you to a UK visa/job with ease, you’ve got to roll up your sleeves and put a little elbow grease into it. Don’t passively submit your resume/CV to online job sites and pout when you don’t hear anything back. You’re just another digital file among the faceless masses when you attack job searching that way—but if you’re going to do it that way, then at least do so relentlessly. It’s a numbers game; don’t feel satisfied that you applied to five to ten jobs when you should be applying to ten times that!
My best advice to people seeking assistance with finding a job in London is to, first of all, network: contact any and all friends and colleagues who might have contacts in your industry and get involved on LinkedIn! If you don’t have a profile there yet, that’s an easy, tangible first step you can take right there. Secondly, contact companies and headhunters. When contacting companies relevant to your field, go directly to their London office, not the one in your home city/country in the case of a multinational; it’s doubtful that employers will be impressed with you if you express interest in their company sheerly for the purpose of getting placed in one of their offices abroad! And where the headhunters go, again, play the numbers game. Research (or get referrals from friends and colleagues) several different recruiting companies that represent companies in your industry and arrange to meet with them and forward them your credentials to have on file. It can’t guarantee immediate success, but they’ll know who you are when just the right opportunity does come up.
So be patient and proactive! Absolutely schedule a trip to London, England to meet face-to-face with recruiters and potential employers. Become more than just a cyber CV—show them a face, personality, and spirit to go with the name, and show them firsthand why you’re the best fit for their needs. Again, there might not be any openings right away, but when there are, they’ll think of you. And remember your manners: it is both polite and proactive to follow-up with those you meet to thank them for their time and keep yourself fresh in their memories and regard.
It’s not easy, but it’s necessary. So good luck with all your hard work in making your move to London UK happen!