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A Guide to Getting a Job in London

Many wonder what it’s like to get a job in the big smoke. For some, it seems like a daunting experience, whereas for others it’s an exciting opportunity.
Getting a job in London isn’t an impossible dream. It is possible to start a career and meet some great people along the way. However, there are a number of things you should keep in mind when trying to find work in London. As the UK’s largest city, it comes with a lot of competition, so you need to stand out from the crowd. Keep reading our guide to find out how.

Why work in London?

London is one of the top cities for work in the world, and here are a few reasons why:

  • There’s something happening everyday in London. It’s a large vibrant city filled with different communities from all over the world, so you won’t be short of experiences. 
  • There are also large numbers of business communities, too. Networking opportunities are not hard to find, and with the ever-growing pool of new talent emerging from graduates and apprentices, you’ll receive the support you need to help grow your career. 
  • London is a melting pot for different industries. While the city is known for its financial district (more on this later), there are also plenty of opportunities for artists, tech-enthusiasts, publishing, PR and more.
  • It’s also home to many international businesses, with many global businesses located in London, including Google, Amazon and Samsung. 
People walking to work near Big Ben London
London is known for being a great place to work, thanks to the variety of opportunities and business communities.

Disadvantages of London

You can’t have a conversation about London without mentioning how expensive it is. As it’s the capital of the UK, a tourist destination and a leading financial hub, the living costs are quite hefty. However, this also means that, generally, the wages are higher

Depending on where you are in your career, you may need to budget carefully and consider the different areas of London you could work in, to ensure that you can afford it. For a better idea of what you need to make to live in London, take a look at the Minimum Income Calculator

London at night
London can be expensive, but as you make your way up the career ladder, it should become easier.

Is it easy to get a job in London?

Job hunting in London can be an easy task, but it’s a competitive market. This means that you need to stand out from the crowd. 

Some jobs are easier to find than others, as industries have different requirements and expectations, so make sure you do your research before applying for jobs. 

It’s therefore important to have a good CV, relevant work experience, and of course you need to prepare for interviews. Keep reading for our tips on nailing these elements of your application.

Moving to London From Another Country

If you’re moving to London from another country, there are a few more things to keep in mind. Firstly, you’ll need to apply for a visa. The type of work visa you need depends on the job you’re applying for and how long you plan on staying, as well as a few other factors. You can find out more about UK visas here.

Inform any potential employers of the current situation before accepting any job offers, and maybe consider searching for networking groups of people who are also relocating to London, or have done recently. This is a great way to make friends in a new place - loneliness can be rife in London - and to also hear about their experiences. 

To find out more about relocating to London, check out our guide. 

Bird's eye view of London
By meeting up with people who have moved to London, you’ll find out things you may not necessarily know already, and they can offer guidance during your move. 

How to get a job in London: tips and tricks to starting your career

Working in the city of London can seem like a daunting experience, but our guide will help you get your foot in the door. 

Research the industry you want to work in 

As mentioned before, London is home to many, many different industries.

The capital city is mostly known for its financial sector, with areas like Canary Wharf and Croydon being home to both well-known firms and startups. HSBC and JP Morgan are just two of the big names you’ll find. It’s also saturated with fintech companies, one of the fastest-growing sectors. 

On the other hand, many creative industries flock to Soho, where design, music, film and visual art companies are popular. Alternatively, if you’re planning on working at a small business or startup, Shoreditch is a great place to start your career in London. And of course, don’t forget about the capital’s Silicon Roundabout, where you’ll find the likes of Google and Intel, amongst others. 

When applying for work in London, the job location must be considered - you don’t want to work somewhere that isn’t for you. It’s a good idea to explore the local area before you accept a job offer. When you have an interview in place - or even before then - consider booking a few days away in or near the district to really get a feel for the city. 

Stay Central provides affordable and stylish accommodation right in the heart of London. Suitable for long-term stays, our apartments are perfect for spending time in the capital and immerse yourself in London’s culture. As we're located in central London, many attractions are either a short distance away or accessible via our great transport links. Find out more by getting in touch today.

Studio Apartment in central London
Our central location means that the entire city will be right on your doorstep.

Create your CV & update online presence 

It goes without saying that to find work in London, you’ll need a CV. This should be memorable, professional, and really sell yourself as the one for the job. 

There isn’t an exact formula for crafting the perfect CV, but there are a few expectations that apply across the board. It should be readable, concise, and include all your relevant skills and experience. Some industries accept creative CVs, such as graphics, bright colours, and a unique format. These can be a lot of fun to make and means that your application looks nothing like any other, but not all employers appreciate these. So, when building your CV, remember to keep your audience in mind. You can find more CV writing tips here. 

It’s also worth noting that, most of the time, you should include a cover letter, even if it’s not specified in the job ad. Cover letters are an opportunity to mention extra skills or experience that didn’t make it on to your CV and give your application a boost. 

Another thing to keep in mind when looking for jobs in London is your online presence. Many employers often use social media channels as screening tools when reviewing job applicants. It’s worth taking a scroll through your profiles to check for anything that may hinder your chances of getting a job, especially LinkedIn. This rings especially true if social media is included in your portfolio and will play a significant role in the job you’re applying for. It’s a good idea to give your accounts a spring clean and optimise them for your interests, if you haven’t already. 

Using LinkedIn to find a job in London
An updated LinkedIn profile can look impressive to a potential employer.

Network and network some more: how to network in London

London has many networking opportunities on offer for different industries, and you’ll want to make the most of them. It’s been revealed that 80% of vacancies in the job market are not listed and instead can be found through word of mouth. Plus, London is a large city and it can be easy to feel overwhelmed or out of place. Building connections will help you find your footing as well as advance in your career. 

Many networking opportunities come from meetings and business events, but there are many other resources you can use. Here are a few popular ones:

And of course, don’t forget about LinkedIn. LinkedIn is known as one of the best networking tools out there, allowing you to connect with others in your industry, receive endorsements and discover new opportunities. Don’t hesitate to reach out to people you admire and start a conversation with them - you never know what will come out of it! 

Another way to expand your network is by gaining experience. This can be easier said than done, but there are opportunities out there. Maybe try volunteering at a local organisation, or look for freelance gigs on websites like Upwork

Networking in London
Building on your skills and trying new things can make your CV look more impressive, and you’ll be making many new connections along the way.

Prep for your London interview

The next stage of getting a job in London is the interview. For many people, this is the scary part. So we’ve included a few tips to help you prepare effectively and smash it out of the park. 

Research the company 

The first thing you should do is research the company. Who works there? Who are your interviewers? What is the culture like? What’s the business’ history? These are a few of the questions you should look into before the interview. Knowing the answers to these will help you get in the mindset of the company and have a better understanding of their goals and values. 

As you research, make sure to write down any question you want to ask the interviewer. Remember, they’re not just interested in you, you’re interested in them. You want to be 100% sure that you want to join their company, so don’t be afraid to ask some questions of your own. If you’re worried about remembering everything you want to say, you can bring a notebook with you to the interview. 

Plan your route 

You should also plan your route carefully before the day of your interview. London can be hectic and you’ll often encounter delays of some kind, whether you’re driving or using public transport. Factor this in and make sure you leave in good time, aiming to arrive at least 10-15 minutes early. 

Stay Central’s centrally-located accommodation makes it easy for you to attend interviews or networking events. By booking a long stay in London, you can shorten your commutes and not have to worry about getting home too late. This leaves you with more time preparing for interviews and spending time with your new connections! Find out more about our long-term accommodation today. 

Job interview in London
It’s a good idea to print out any documents your interviewer may need, including a copy of your CV, even if they’ve already seen it. 

Start your career in London with Stay Central

Getting a job in London can seem like a stressful experience, but with our tips you’ll feel prepared and ready to get your foot in the door. 

With Stay Central, you can get to know London while preparing for interviews and networking events. Based in Bloomsbury, you can feel like you’ve lived in London all your life at an affordable price. Our accommodation is in the heart of London’s history and culture, so you’ll certainly get a feel for the city you may work in one day. 

Our apartments include a range of facilities, including WI-FI, freeview TV and a kitchen. We’ll also accept mail for you during your stay, which can make starting a new job a little easier. Both self-catering and bed-and-breakfast options are available, and our rooms are suitable for single travellers, couples and groups. Get in touch for more information, or browse our website to explore our affordable accommodation options. 

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