This one may sound a bit repetitive of previous post, specifically Career Discussion and Create a job plan; and it’s only because it kind of is.

The fact is after all of the scheming and planning, it’s now time to implement. In my experience, most jobs in the United Kingdom take about 8 weeks to hear on – and that’s just to get called on an interview. Applying for jobs 2 months ahead of time, gave me the ability to schedule interviews once I got here.

You have to keep in mind a few critical things and try not to be disappointed:

  • If you do not have a UK phone number, most companies will not contact you – regardless of your visa status. If you are going to start applying at this point; try with larger corporations who are used to Skype interviews, or smaller agencies/firms who would love to have someone with your background.
  • Firm up the city you plan to live in and put it on your resume. Resumes (more specifically, CV’s) are done differently in the UK vs. the US. Whereas we started removing addresses from our resumes years ago, it’s still a common practice. This is done for a few reasons, mostly due to companies not wanting to consider candidates who need relocation or would have excessive commutes. This isn’t an insult to you; it’s them looking out for your well-being also.
  • Speaking of Resume/CV; you will need to clean that up before you send it out. CV’s are a different, longer format, where you are meant to not only explain your role, but your accomplishments. This doesn’t just apply to jobs either.
    • Also, I was told it was helpful to potential employers to also give a description of the companies I worked at, including size/group I worked in. To go in assuming that everyone knows all large American companies is a shitty way to go – Give clear details of the who’s and the what’s and it will help out HR departments more than you realise on calling you back.
  • You will be rejected. I don’t want to sugarcoat it – I had multiple times where I simply received “no’s,” with no explanation. Other times, I had HR or recruiters tell me it was because they didn’t “Want to get into future drama with visa discussions” or that “My skillset does not match the European market.”
    • This isn’t meant to hurt and it’s going to happen. The fact of the matter is that you are an outsider. As I will say a thousand times over, the U.S. is not the centre of the universe. We do things differently and these are situations I deal with on a day-to-day basis at work. Constantly, I will have expectations that are so American, it causes office annoyances that I forget people don’t live to work in the UK (Some do, but a lot don’t).
      • However, this is also a benefit. If you are looking at companies with plans to expand to the United States – you are an asset. They may eventually ask to send you back home; but at least you are part of an international company; with the ability to request to come back at some point.
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A photo of some of the Owls from Leeds on one of the countless times I took the train down for an interview. Honestly, taking photos and making a day of it made the job hunt less stressful.

Just so you are aware on jobs when they start coming in:

  • The leaving job notice is significantly longer in the UK. For low-level jobs it’s 1 month, for my level (Non-direct management), it’s 2 months. You can use your holiday time to cut that; but keep in mind; where ever you are going, they will likely not mind if it’s going to take 2 months for you to start.
  • There will be more benefits offered off bat – that doesn’t mean it’s a good job. In countries where your healthcare is covered by the government – you’re traditional job determinator back in the US is regarding how good of healthcare benefits are offered (I refuse to go to companies who don’t offer dental and vision, because, fuck you.)
    • Generally, tech companies in the UK have to up their benefits with perks like gyms, parties, commute reimbursement, car allowances simply due to the main factor being covered – it gives them more flexibility. Just don’t go to a company with tons of perks; ignoring they may still be a shit company.
  • Negotiating and Salary bands. When you live in a country that looks towards equality, they will try to prevent individuals from making 10 times what their co-workers do. I’ve always been in the middle of my salary levels – and I still am now – but it’s set up this way to prevent one Account Manager from making £40K, whereas a similar experience one makes £30K due to not negotiating.
    • This does make it harder when you have more experience and can lead to pigeon-holing, but as with all jobs – sometimes you need to move on if making more salary is your real goal.
  • They will talk about money and personal life. Remember in the States where we were drilled to not ask about salary until the job was offered? Yeah, no. Every job interview I was asked in the first 10 minutes. They don’t want to waste time and sometimes will go so far to ask before you even interview. It’s not meant to bully you to naming a price, it goes back to those salary bands – If you are super out of their range and aren’t able to go down – they won’t bother.
    • And personal life. It’s a little bit more loose with how to discriminate in Europe. They will ask you if you have kids and things; and it’s not to openly discriminate – they want to make sure you would fit in with the team. They want to know your hobbies, social life and the people you associate with. I’ve never felt like in an interview here that saying I was married caused me to lose a job – but, I had a different feeling about it in the States because it would only happen if I slipped up. The whole process feels less predatory/tightrope.

So, once you’re comfortable with everything, what’s next? I recommend snagging some help. I worked with a couple great recruiters in Leeds/York, who helped me out immensely. I had multiple interviews through them and even though I’ve been happily employed; will occasionally call to check up to see if I’m doing fine, because they have jobs I would be well-suited for.

This may not be an option based on your industry – Such as Brad’s; where I assume every job they obtain is some shady individual on a dark street corner saying “I need an archaeologist for 4 weeks – no questions, £2k.”*

*I’m not sure if that has ever happened, but the lack of clarity on their job market tells me, maybe.

I recommend checking it out on Twitter and LinkedIn – Both were amazing resources for finding recruitment groups – especially because some of them do not have easy to find websites.

The featured image is of the Kirkstall Abbey in Leeds. After we finally recovered from the flight we went for a walk and ended up at the abbey – it was quite a random adventure that sealed our want to stay in the United Kingdom.

One thought on “Start applying for jobs

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