Job Hunting in London

One of my main focuses when we moved to the UK was to find a job. Coming from a recruitment background, I was interested to learn what the similarities and the differences would be. While I am by no means a recruitment expert or a seasoned employee in London, I hope that sharing my discoveries and experiences will be helpful to someone else who is relocating.

My profession is Human Resources. Specifically the “technical” side that deals with analytics/metrics and compensation.

Before moving, I did a few things:
1) Create a CV
2) Network with Recruiters/HR Professionals in the UK
3) Network with Recruiters/HR Professionals in companies I am interested in
4) “Follow” companies I am interested in

Networking is important (see my previous blog post on LinkedIn). You have access to their postings, and can also see what groups they are a part of, so that you can also join. The groups that I joined are: linkedHRuk, Human Resource Professionals Worldwide and Human Resources UK. Joining groups is also a great way to see what people in your profession, in another country, talk about and are concerned with. There are some great discussions to monitor and jobs will also be posted there.

Writing a CV was my next hurdle. How do CVs differ from resumes? In the US, CVs are normally used for people in academia. The most I knew about CVs were:

  • They have your photo on it (or so I’d been told)
  • Personal information such as gender, marital status, age is included
  • It is more than 1 page long.

Of the 3 bullets above, only 1 is accurate: A normal CV is 2 pages long. After speaking with recruitment consultants here, putting your photo and personal information is a no-no (thankfully, no photo ever made it onto my CV…phew!). It’s the whole not wanting to discriminate based on appearances or any other EEO information, similar to the US.

The way mine is arranged is: Name, address, phone, email -> Professional profile statement -> Key skills -> Work Experience -> Education -> Professional Development -> References (available upon request). Very similar to a US resume.

In my previous experience with job hunting, I would apply directly to the company’s website for a job/jobs I was interested in. In my time here, I’ve noticed that every job I apply to is being recruited on by an agency. I’m not sure what the percentage of agency vs. in house recruiters that are on jobs are, but in London, I’m pretty sure it’s higher than 50%. A lot of the tech companies outside of London I’ve been told have a 50/50 ratio. 50% of jobs are recruited on in-house, and the other 50% they utilize agencies. In any case, I applied for a few jobs, those got me in contact with consultants who basically represented me. In addition to the specific job I applied to, they’d say “I have a few more positions I think you’d be a good fit for”. Once you make contact with a consultant, it’s a lot easier because they recruit on similar jobs for numerous clients. The consultant basically becomes your recruiter. They present jobs to you, you decide if you want your CV to be shared with that Hiring Manager, and they can also assist in prepping you for a phone interview and in-person interview (if it gets to that stage).

I’m thankful that I could make contact with some really reputable agencies. Just like in the US, there are agencies that are more reputable than others. All you have to do is ask. Amazingly, it has actually led to a job that I accepted, and will be starting in about a week and a half! 😀

With the economy being the way that it is, I didn’t think that I would get a job only a month into being in the country. I am very very thankful and feel SO blessed to be able to work and grow professionally in the area I want to be in.