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London Career Advice

London is a city that’s no stranger to the power of networking. It’s happening all the time and all around you, making it relatively easy to get involved if you really want to. For many professionals, the only thing holding them back and stopping them from getting involved in the capital’s networking possibilities is themselves. Sure, networking can be daunting, especially in a big city where everyone seems to know more than you. But by building productive relationships, you’ll grow in your career and learn more about what it’s like to succeed in your career in London . It’s first important to understand networking, what it means, why it matters and how to get involved. Those are the things we’re going to talk about right now, so keep reading.   The Benefits of Networking in London The first and most important benefit of networking is that it allows you to have face to face interactions who people who can genuinely help you in your career and help your job prospects. That’s a pretty big deal in itself and it shouldn’t be overlooked. Those people might one day remember you and contact you about a job that’s come up in London. Becoming part of your chosen profession and industry can be tough when you’re a newcomer, especially in a big city like London. But being part of that business community and networking successfully will make you feel like you really are a part of it. You’ll feel connected and less isolating as you look to advance your career in the capital. As you meet more people and get used to talking to professionals, many of whom will have vastly more experience than you, you’ll begin to grow in confidence and improve yourself in a professional capacity. That confidence will help you to push your career further and grow as a person and professional. Talking to leaders and big players in your niche will help you to understand what it takes to succeed in your career. You’ll get insight from people who have vast amounts of experience and you’ll be able to learn about the things that got them to where they are today. And there are more networking opportunities out there than ever before.   Finding Networking Groups in London It can be a good idea to start out online if you’re completely new to networking in London . Set up a LinkedIn profile for yourself and start networking with relevant people that way. It’s a good way to begin, especially if you’re a little nervous or daunted by the prospect of getting out there and networking with people in a face to face setting. You can discover meetings and events via your online networking. This is how you bridge the gap between online and real-world networking when you’re ready to make that leap. It can be scary but you’ll quickly realise that you had nothing to worry about once you get started and begin talking to people face to face.   What Successful Networking Looks Like Networking can take many forms and happen in various ways. As we’ve mentioned above, it can be a good idea to join a networking group when you’re just getting started, but this is by no means the only way to begin on your networking adventure in London. Anyone who can help you with advice and professional help is part of your network, and you should make the most of them. There might be old friends, colleagues or someone you met at a party who can offer those things. It doesn’t necessarily matter how your network is built or where it comes from; all that really matters is how you tap into and make the most of it for the good of your career going forward. You probably have more professional contacts than you think, so stop and think about that. Good networking, no matter how it happens, is about having a two-way relationship with the people in your network. If you offer something, they’ll be more likely to offer something back and that’s how it should be. The most successful networking involves understanding that there needs to be some sort of mutual benefit to the relationship. Now that you understand more about networking in London, you should realise that doing more networking definitely does have the potential to provide you with a prospect to your career and job prospects. As long as you approach it in the right spirit and embrace the give and take nature of networking, you’ll begin to feel the benefits before long.   Search London Jobs
Ah, London. The big smoke. A hub of technological, industrial and commercial innovation for centuries. Is it any wonder why so many young professionals are drawn to our nation’s capital every year to seek new opportunities and take the next big step in their career? 24% of inner London’s population is made up of 25-34 year olds. Many of these are well educated and highly skilled young professionals who come to the capital with a view to furthering their career. With 1,563 businesses per 10,000 residents it seems the perfect place to find the right launchpad for you. No matter where your skills lie, you’re likely to find an employer who can benefit from the unique cocktail of talents and experience that you bring to the table. However, like any capital city, London has its caveats. While you can expect to command a higher salary than your equivalents in the rest of the country, you can also expect to pay significantly higher living expenses. If, like Dick Whittington, you’re headed to London to seek your fortune, you should go in with your eyes wide open and a clear idea of what you can expect. That’s why we’ve compiled this handy guide that will provide you with everything you need to know about living and working in London .   London is open for business! Where will you ply your trade? With so many employers in the city, you’re likely to find a wealth of opportunities in London no matter where your talents lie. However, there are certain industries for which London is best known and if your skills, experience, passion and ambition lie in these areas, you’ll be in the best possible place to take your career to the next level…   Financial Services When many people think of London they think of the Boom Town of the 1980s. Of yuppies clutching boxy mobile phones into which they’re shouting “Buy, buy, buy!”. But while the ‘80s saw a huge boom in London’s financial services industry under Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, the city has been a huge financial hub since the Middle Ages. The City of London (the historic financial district around the Square Mile) and Canary Wharf are thriving centres of banking and insurance activities. It’s also home to stock and bond trading and Forex (foreign exchange). If you have a talent for numbers and great people skills, you could be joining the designer-suited and booted masses who make their way from their trendy Canary Wharf apartments to the likes of Barclays, HSBC or Thomson Reuters every morning. London has a history of technological innovation which dates back to the Industrial Revolution. A huge corporate presence, range of generous investors and population of affluent consumers have made london one of the most fecund technological hubs in Europe. There are currently an estimated 40,000 tech companies which call central London home, with presences in everything from fintech to consumer technology. Whether you want to cut your teeth doing research and development for a huge tech firm, or want to help like-minded ambitious tech gurus form their own startup, London is the place for you.   Creative and media London is home to some of the world’s premier film and TV studios including Pinewood (home to James Bond and Star Wars to name but a few. It has been a hub of top-quality theatre for centuries. For those looking to seek a living from treading the boards, there are more opportunities per square mile in London than anywhere else in the country. It’s also a great place for those trying to break into the world of film and media production behind the camera. London also has a modestly sized but thriving video games industry. There’s also hipster magnet boroughs like Dalston and Shoreditch which are home to many artists and creative media outlets while some of the world’s biggest advertising and digital marketing agencies have prestigious offices within the creative hubs like Soho and Camden. Creatively minded and ambitious professionals may find stiff competition in London, but they’ll also find a wealth of opportunity, too!   Hospitality If you’ve long dreamed of being the owner of a prestigious restaurant, bar, night club or hotel, London is the place to make a name for yourself in the hospitality businesses. With around 19 million visitors coming to London every year there’s ample opportunity to make a great living or start a thriving business catering to the millions of locals and tourists who dine, dance, rest and relax in the city every year.   A little homework makes all the difference The beauty of living in the digital age, of course, is that you have all the time you need to scour job sites like our own for appropriate positions. Oh, and don’t forget to look through our guide to finding a job in London . Even if you don’t feel that you are ready to apply for jobs just yet, you can nonetheless find out where the jobs in your chosen field are found. This will in turn influence the boroughs you look at for accommodation and will have a knock-on effect on your commute and every other aspect of your work and life.   Your Salary Now that we’ve looked at where some of the city’s best opportunities can be found, let’s look at money. While salaries in London may seem to dwarf their counterparts elsewhere in the country, remember that these will be offset by more expensive rent, council taxes, transportation costs, food and drink and other composite living costs. While your mileage will vary depending on your employer, you can expect to command (roughly) these kinds of salaries; Content Creator / Copywriter- £25,000 Executive Assistant - £35,584 Software Developer- £39,450 Software Engineer- £44,600 Graphic Designer- £33,600 Marketing Manager- £37,400 Account Manager- £30,100 As you can see, all are above national average salaries for their respective positions. However, the secret of a happy life and good work / life balance lies in considering all aspects of living, including those outside of the world of work. Let’s dive deep into all the aspects of working and living in London so that you can make every penny count in one of the world’s priciest cities...   Your commute Every morning the city streets are thronged with commuters making their way to work not to mention all those scurrying professionals pouring out of buses and underground or overground trains. Your commute to work is a consideration that should not be considered lightly as it can impinge enormously on your quality of living. If you’re accustomed to driving to work, this may not be viable in the jam-packed inner city streets and paying the congestion charge day in and day out can seriously eat into your budget. Fortunately, London has a highly comprehensive system of public transport including underground and overground trains, buses, trams and of course the famous London black cabs. Many Londoners have an oyster card (possibly so-called because it makes the city your oyster). This is a prepaid travel pass that allows users to jump on any form of public transport public transport within your choice of zones. A monthly oyster card will cost you £351.40 for zones 1-9 which will give you access to the entire city. Although an oyster card covering just zones 1-2 will cost just £134.80 a month. It all depends on where you’ll be living, working and spending your free time. Those who like to cycle to work but don’t have a bike of their own (or won’t be able to take theirs with them) can benefit from the city’s cycle hire scheme . However you choose to get to work, just keep in mind that you’ll have to expect to take longer to travel shorter distances than elsewhere in the country. The average daily commute for London workers is 1 hour and 24 minutes yet the average distance travelled is less than 8 miles. Why the disparity? It’s simply a testament to the city’s bustling transportation system. London traffic is the worst in the country and 7th worst in the whole world. To offset this, many employers offer flexible working hours, allowing their employees to work 10 to 6 or 8 to 4 as opposed to 9 to 5. Still, you can expect to face heavy traffic and jam packed tubes on your daily commute. However, while there’s nothing you can do to make London less busy, you can make your commute far easier by...   Choosing where to settle in London Even if you don’t have a job all lined up to you when you move to the big city, you can make life easier for yourself by moving within striking distance of where the jobs are found in your chosen industry. While accommodation in any of these nexuses might be pricey, you can usually find a more affordable (or at the very least quieter) borough close by. For example, by rule of thumb you can expect to find jobs in or around Shoreditch if you’re interested in the creative side of the tech industry. On the other hand more artistic fare can be found in the likes of Islington, Soho or Camden. Painfully hip Camden might get exhausting if you live and work there, but just down the road is the leafy and pleasantly sedate Primrose Hill. Hackney is within striking distance of Shoreditch and while prices have risen considerably in recent years, they haven’t skyrocketed to the same extent. A little research goes a long way. However, it’s important to go in with realistic expectations. If you’re expecting a spacious duplex in a central location (and want to share it with less than 12 people) you probably won’t be paying a 3 figure monthly rent. Which brings us to...   Paying your rent If you’re serious about living in London, a flat or house share is more than likely to be a necessity. Unless you have a millionaire patron who’s prepared to pay your rent, you’re going to have to sacrifice a degree of privacy and autonomy for opportunity. London rents are notoriously expensive. They’re the most costly in Europe and the fourth most expensive in the world. Only New Yorkers can look at Londoners’ rents and say that they’re getting a good deal! For most of today’s young professionals the prospect of owning property in the capital is an unattainable pipe dream and this has led to an incremental rise in rental prices as demand continues to prove an equal match to supply year on year. In fact, the average cost of renting a 3 bedroom family home in london has risen to an astonishing average of £5,187 a month. Property prices in London have actually started to dip a little in recent years but they are still on the expensive side for those accustomed to rents elsewhere in the country (especially in the north). A room in a shared house in London now cost an average of £725 a month, down from £741 in 2016. Nonetheless, with proper budgeting, young professionals trying to make it in London can still afford themselves a modicum of work / life balance. They should nonetheless be prepared to spend an average of 40% of their income on keeping the roof over their heads. Still, that remaining 60% can go a long way, even after you’ve accounted for other basics like electricity, heating, internet connection and council tax (rates for the latter vary from borough to borough). Use a household budget template and make sure that you stick to it month after month and you’ll find that a little planning and thrift go a long way, which brings us to…   Composite living costs and managing your budget As we’ve discussed, London rents are astronomically high. But that’s okay. You can just concentrate on making savings elsewhere in your composite living costs. One of the reasons why it’s so easy to lose money in London (as with any major conurbation, really) is that there’s so much to tempt you. Feeling groggy on the way to work on a Monday morning? It’s all too easy to stop by your local trendy coffee shop for a foaming £4 latte. Want to tie one on after a hectic working week at 6pm on a Friday? You’ll find that all those £4-£7 pints (depending on your borough) add up pretty darned quick. Taking simple steps like investing in a decent espresso machine and inviting your work colleagues to your place after work to set the world to rights over a multipack of lager from Tesco can make all the difference. As London is the most expensive city in the country (8th most expensive on the planet), you’ll need to box clever when it comes to spending your hard earned disposable income. When you first move to London, don’t move with a view to putting roots down straight away. It may be much more beneficial to find some temporary accommodation and get the lie of the land. Find out what your commute will be like and which nearby areas can offer you the best rental / council tax rates. Find out which restaurants, cafes, pubs and bars around you offer the best value for money. Figure out where you can move to that will save you money on transportation in the long term. Your composite living costs are a balancing act, and you may find that paying a little more rent will save you money on transportation in the long run… Or vice versa. Even little things like changing your household’s energy / broadband provider can make a big difference. Perhaps one of the most cost-effective things you can do when living in London is cooking for yourself. Thanks to apps like Deliveroo and Uber Eats, it’s easier and more tempting than ever to get your favourite restaurant food delivered straight to your door. However, the convenience can be seductive and over time this can really hammer your carefully crafted budget. Another good tip is to combine your budget template with a spending diary. This will encourage you to keep track of all those little expenses which are so small that you don’t notice them when they go out, but make you say “Crikey, where did all my money go?” when your bank statement arrives.   Permission to work in London If you’re from the EU, Brexit has muddied the waters somewhat when it comes to permission to live and work in London (and the rest of the UK). Currently If you’re an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen, you and any family members coming with you will be eligible to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme. This will enable you to continue living and working in the UK after the final Brexit date (which is currently 30 June 2021 but subject to change. If your application is successful, you will be granted either settled or pre-settled status. However, workers from some Eastern European countries like Romania, Croatia and Bulgaria, may require special permission in order to work in the UK. You can find out if you need a visa to work in the UK here . Once you begin working in the UK you will be issued with a National Insurance number. This will allow your employer to issue you with the correct tax code to ensure that you aren’t overtaxed when your first payslip arrives. Most employers will tax you on a PAYE or Pay As You Earn basis and your tax will be deducted automatically from your wages. Tax is banded and the rate you pay will depend on how much money you earn. All UK employers are also obliged to provide access to a pension scheme to their employees and this is also taken from your wages automatically.   Now for the fun stuff! Now that we’ve covered every aspect of working in London, it’s time to get to the fun stuff… What to do with your time off. Londoners work hard and they play hard. And with so much to see and do in the capital you’ll never be short of fun ways to spend your free time. In fact, even once you’ve crossed the likes of The British Museum and the Tate modern off your to-do list you’ll still never want for stuff to do at the weekend. Just don’t make the mistake of thinking that you have to spend a fortune to have a great time! While you can expect to pay an average of £4.08 for a pint of beer, and £11 for a light lunch including a drink, it’s always worth keeping an eye out for special offers and promotions. Chains and independents alike will often offer discounted food and drinks to get more customers through the doors on quieter days or at quieter times. If you love eating out, a Taste Card can give you access to great deals (including 2 for 1 meals) at the kind of chain restaurants that are proliferate throughout the city. A trip to the cinema for two can cost around £24 but cinephiles may benefit from a subscription service like Odeon’s Limitless card which enables bearers to see all the films they want as often as they like in London cinemas from just £19.99 a month. Likewise those who love London’s outstanding selection of live theatre can make substantial savings by booking tickets through a third party like LoveTheatre where you can save up to 70% on ticket prices. Live music lovers on the other hand, will want to download the DICE app that can help you to find cheap and even free gigs in and around your borough. You’ll find that those who do their homework will find bargains aplenty that allow them to lead the London life even on a modest budget.   Live your best life in London Hopefully you’re now equipped with a clear idea of how and where to find work and accommodation as well as how you’ll get to work and back in London. While you might need to muster all of your budget balancing skills to make your wages count, there’s so much opportunity both inside and outside the world of work that a move to London may just be the most important thing you do!   Search London Jobs
Your CV is a kind of personal ad that you deliver to companies explaining why they need your services. Firms want people who can create more value than they cost in salary, and so your task, just like anyone trying to sell a product, is to demonstrate that you have the skills and talents they need to justify your pay. The problem, however, is that this isn’t how most people go about writing a CV. The average candidate sees their resume as a kind of autobiography where they talk about everything and anything without putting themselves in the shoes of the hiring manager. Hiring managers are interested in just one thing: whether employing you will help the company and improve their own position. But the majority of people applying don’t create their CVs with this in mind. If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to writing a CV, then you’re not alone. But, with the help of this article, you’ll be able to put together a winning resume in no time.   How To Present Your CV Before delving into the nitty-gritty details of how to write a CV , it’s worth thinking about how your CV will appear overall. We all know that we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but hiring managers, just like everyone else, are more drawn to pleasing aesthetic properties which is why the general visual impression your CV creates is so important. Use A Readable Typeface You want your typeface to be readable, business-oriented and approachable. Avoid traditional fonts like Times New Roman (or those with an academic slant) and stick with Helvetica or Arial. Don’t use Word Art or Comic Sans. Keep It Under Two Sides Unless you’re applying for a highly specific role (like a senior research position in a medical company), then it’s a good idea to keep your CV under two sides in length. Hiring managers looking for new recruits for sales positions or even management roles don’t want your life story; they just want to see that you have the skills and experience to do the job. If you do, then they’ll put you on the interview pile. Order Your Experience And Qualifications In Chronological Order, Most Recent First There’s a good chance that you attended a variety of educational establishments throughout your life. List the institution and the qualifications/grades obtained in chronological order, starting with the most recent first. If you’ve been in the job market for a while, do the same for the positions you’ve held, listing the most recent first. Recruiters will be able to see where you’ve worked and your most recent qualifications and assess whether you meet their requirements quickly. Put Everything Under Headings Split your CV into distinct sections (for instance, “education,” “work experience” etc.).   What To Include In Your CV CVs need to contain necessary details that tell a prospective employer what you can do and how to get in touch with you if you’re successful. Personal Details . Include things like your name, telephone number, address, and email. Personal Statement . Ideally, you should tailor your personal statement to the role you’re applying for. Generic personal statements don’t usually work and give the hiring manager the impression that you’re just spamming job ads, hoping that one or two will respond. Personal statements need to be specific, detailing why you and the company to which you’re applying are compatible. Work Experience . The work experience section is the part where you tell your employer who you worked for in the past, the position you held, and how long you did it. You can also include your key responsibilities. If there are gaps in your career, you might want to give the reasons why here too (such as maternity leave). Achievements . Achievements are a great way for you to show your prowess, whether they are professional or not. Talk about how your previous experience helped you attain specific goals and how you plan to apply them in your next job. Education . In the education section, mention the institution you attended, the dates covered, the qualifications you earned and, if applicable, your grades. You can also talk about your educational achievements in this section too. Hobbies And Interests . Life isn’t all about work. Employers want to know if you lead a varied and balanced life.   What Language Should You Use In Your CV? Employers, just like everyone else, are highly responsive to the language that people use. Some words will make them think that you have the potential to work in their firm, while others will at best irritate, and at worst, encourage them to throw out your CV altogether. Let’s start with some of the words that you should use in your CV. Today’s companies are looking for people with a creative and managerial skill set, as well as the ability to solve problems on the fly. Including words like “innovative,” “reliable” and “responsible” are on trend right now. Using these words in your statement or while talking about your roles in previous jobs can help to communicate your compatibility with a position more effectively. There are, however, some words that you’ll want to avoid because they’ve become cliched and overused. Hiring managers don’t usually respond well to claims like “I am a great multi-tasker” or “I have excellent communication skills.” At best, your application will look like everyone else’s and at worst, you’ll irritate the person reading it so much that they discard it. Even using seemingly harmless words like “self-motivated” and “independent” can get you into trouble. Sure, you might be an auto-didact, but the person reading your CV has no way of knowing that ahead of time.   Conclusion So what have we learned? We’ve learned that your CV needs to contain a minimum set of details, that it needs to be structured logically, and that you need to tailor it to the specific requirements of the role. Generic personal statements will not suffice. Finally, you need to be succinct. Most employers only have a few seconds to read a CV before moving onto the next candidate.   Upload Your CV
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