Finding a job can be tough. Keeping a job you like can be tough. But throw that all in with moving to a new city, and it can become a whole new ball game where no one really knows what the rules are.
I’ve been living in London for a little over a year and a half. The catalyst for my move was a little different from the norm. I was made redundant from my job in a marketing agency in Auckland just before Christmas of 2015 and then with no idea and no prospects I decided it would be a great idea to jump ship and move to London. If I’m honest I thought about it for a total of 5 minutes before I bought a one-way ticket and moved three months later. I figured with no job in Auckland I may as well just look in London. Why not?.
I’ve had three jobs in the UK now, one was ok, one I hated, and I’m now working at one I love. It takes trial and error and also really knowing what you want. Here are some tips to hit that sweet spot of working overseas and how to find a job in London:
Don’t stress out:
It’s something a lot of us do, and to be honest it probably comes from your university days where you live on a life of Red Bull, stress, essays and exams, but the biggest thing to let go of when you’re searching for a job overseas, is your stress.
There is a lot that’s out of your control when searching for a job in a foreign country, and you also have to realise that in actual fact, New Zealanders are quite a lot more efficient than many other parts of the world, so don’t expect the process to be quick.
Make sure you have some money to fall back on and go with the flow.
Know your new city:
It’s amazing how much more confident you feel in your new surroundings when you just walk around and get to know a place. Take a walk, go to the part of the city where your industry has set itself up and go grab a coffee there. Figure out where you want to live and if there is anywhere close by that you want to work. It will all give you a little bit more of a feeling that you’re not just one big choccy fish out of water.
Sign up with a recruitment agency:
I didn’t really even understand the concept of recruitment agencies when I worked in New Zealand, but it’s by far the best way to get your foot in the door of a city where you don’t know people in your industries.
You have to be prepared to trek around the place meeting people, and also be prepared for a million phone calls but, especially in a city like London, it will speed up the process ten fold.
Know your worth:
Don’t forget all the assets you bring to the job. From my experience, New Zealanders do have a habit of second guessing themselves, especially if you’re a twenty something female in the workplace. I think this comes down to the Kiwi nature of being quite humble and self deprecating but as soon as you walk into a workplace in a city like London, you realise that everyone seems to back themselves. You also realise that a lot of the successful people there are really young. They seem to know how to scoot up the career ladder pretty quickly here. Take some of that on board and invest in your confidence.
If nothing else people will like your accent so you’re already winning in that respect.
You’re a small fish now:
Some people are lucky to land their dream jobs when they move overseas, but others need to wait a while. When I was looking to move jobs, after being in London for about a year, I seriously considered, and actually interviewed for roles, which were a step down considering the experience I had already gained. This was partly out of desperation because I didn’t want to be thrown onto my arse into the streets of London but also because there are so many people here, that you can throw your CV into a million people’s faces and they will never email you back.
Sometimes having UK experience will just trump you, and there’s no denying that more than a couple of people thought I was an idiot when I said I’d worked with WeetBix in the past (in the UK they call it Weetabix so they clearly thought I didn’t even know how to pronounce my own client’s name).
Keep some Kiwi souvenirs:
And by that I mean friends. Luckily London seems to have almost more Kiwis in it than New Zealand itself so having a few Kiwi mates is by no means a hard task. After a hard day at work and the no doubt gruelling commute home where you’re trying your best not to touch the sweaty man next to you on the tube, it’s nice to be able to relax around people who also say “aye” at the end of every sentence and who complain about missing Whittaker’s chocolate whilst eating said Whittaker’s chocolate because everyone keeps sending it to you.
The main thing is be confident in yourself, you have the experience, you know you’re good at what you do, and most people love the Kiwi can do attitudes. Persistence is key, and we all know, in the end, hard work pays off.