Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Looking for Work as a Graduate in London

There are many ways to find work as a graduate in London and it's important that you use as many methods as possible to find that dream job of yours.
  • Recruitment agencies - sign up with a few of them in your specific industry, making sure you have a top-notch C.V to show them. The agent will then attempt to match your skills with any job vacancies that they have been hired to fill and put you forward for interview with the hiring company.
  • Apply directly for an advertised role either by looking on a company website or in newspapers or job search engines. If you're doing this you must ensure that you write an impressive cover letter to sit alongside your C.V. It is important that your cover letter isn't obviously a template and that you've really researched the hiring company and the role that they want to fill.
  • Sign up with a temping agency such as Office Angels and earn some money whilst you look for a permanent role. It's a fact that many vacant positions never end up being advertised to the public, as they're often only advertised internally. Get your foot in the door by doing some temp work and waiting for a more appropriate position to become available to you. Companies love taking on temps as they can spend more time sussing you out before committing to contracts. Work experience and internships are also good for this reason, although obviously you have to forego a wage until you are hired which isn't ideal.
  • Recruitment fairs such as the London Graduate Fair - these are often held over the summer months and feature loads of advice, speakers and of course dozens of graduate employers who are looking to hire. You may not always end up speaking to the people who do the hiring for the company, but it's still a great chance to make a favourable impression with the company representative.
  • Apply directly to a company - if you know who you want to work for, then research the company inside out and send a C.V and cover letter in describing why you think you'd fit in with the organisation. Even if there aren't any vacant positions available, then they may keep your details on file until an appropriate role comes up.
  • Networking networking networking - sometimes when it comes to getting hired, it's all about who you know. Companies don't really like giving thousands of pounds to a recruitment firm to find a candidate for them, when they can have someone recommended to them. So it makes sense to get your name out there as much as possible. Attend networking events such as conferences, or use social media like Linkedin.

Getting around
Cabs are expensive and the roads are jammed so even the wealthiest Londoners usually opt to use public transport to get around.

The first thing you'll want to do is get an Oyster card, which is London's smart-card system of getting around. You can use your Oyster on buses, the DLR, tram, the Overground services and of course the Tube. You can get your Oyster card online or at a train station, oyster ticket stop or at a London Travel Information Centre. The card can contain a certain amount of pre-paid credit which you can set to auto top-up from your debit card whenever the amount goes beneath a certain level (eg £10). You can also add travelcards and season tickets to the Oyster card that are longer than 1 day. Using an Oyster card is much more convenient and cheaper than using paper tickets.

If you're unfamiliar with getting around London, then it might be a good idea to download a London Transport app to assist you in the quickest way of getting from A to B.

Settling in and getting a social life
If you don't know anyone when you move to London, then it's important to get yourself set up with a social life asap, so that you don't feel isolated. There are many ways in which you can start to socialise.
  • Friends of your housemates - whether you've moved in with 'randoms' or existing friends, you can piggy back onto the social life of your housemates by getting to know their own friends. Throw a house party so you can all get to know each other.
  • Workmates - the workplace is a great place to make new friends. London is an incredibly sociable place and Friday night drinks (or any other night of the week) are the norm to let off some steam and find out more about the personal lives of your colleagues. Try not to overdo it though, or else Monday morning will be very awkward!
  • Come Play Sport - sports teams are a great way of making new friends in London - you don't need to be massively fit, you just need to want to have fun. Netball, dodgeball, softball, you name it, there will be a sports team in London that plays it. It's common to all congregate in the pub afterwards to replace all the calories you've just burned off with some well-earned pints.
Moving to London is a big step for most and there's a lot of information and new experiences to take in, so give yourself some time to adjust and it won't be long before you feel right at home.

Good luck with your move!  


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